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It was sixteen years ago today that Richey James Edwards, lyricist and guitarist with the Welsh band Manic Street Preachers, went missing. And while he may be gone – he will never be forgotten. The disappearance of Richey Manic has become one of the biggest mysteries of Rock’n’Roll and earned him a place in the infamous 27 club (alongside Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain). Richey had a long history of mental health problems and made no secret of his self harming, including the infamous incident where he carved 4 REAL into his arm in front of radio presenter Steve Lamacq. Richey was last seen at London’s Embassy Hotel on Feb 1, 1995, as his band were preparing to head over to the USA for their first tour there. It is worth noting that Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, killed himself on the eve of a US tour. There were several reported sightings of him over the next fortnight, including one from a Taxi driver who says he drove a man matching Richey’s description to the Severn View Service Station near the old Severn Bridge. Richey’s car was found ‘abandoned’ at the service station on February 14, 1995. What happened after that remains a mystery but three years ago Richey James Edwards was officially declared dead. His fellow band mates, James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore inevitably did a lot of soul searching but decided to continue without their key lyricist and went on to achieve critical acclaim and a string of awards. Their 1996 Album Everything Must Go contained a significant number of Richey’s lyrics but it wasn’t until 2009’s Journal For Plague Lovers that his lyrics were resurrected in their full glory again – and what an album that was?! Last week the Manics played a special homecoming gig in Blackwood, which was aired live on Radio 2 and streamed on their website. It was obviously an emotional event for the Manics, who also played Newport last year. And they pulled out all the stops by including an uber rare appearance of their first ever pressed single, Suicide Alley, into the setlist. They also dedicated one of their earliest hits Faster to their missing band-mate. Richey’s family has recently spoken out in support of the charity Missing People. And you ask any Manics fan who got involved before the commercial success of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours and they will undoubtedly hail Richey Manic as one of the most talented lyricists of all time. Here’s a little video of the original line up in action to whet your appetite.