For My Sunday Song #65, I chose “Lunatic Fringe” by Canadian rock band Red Rider. The song is off their 1981 album ‘As Far as Siam” and is probably the band’s most famous song. The song charted as high as #11 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, but never cracked the Top 40 of the Bill board Hot 100. Actually, they never had a song chart in the Top 40 so I guess you could categorize them as a No-Hit Wonder, at least here in the States.
But for me the song was a hit. MTV surely played it a lot as that was the only place I ever heard it at the time. The creepiness of the song was what drove me to liking it. I like dark and creepy songs for some reason. The song really starts out with a creepy keyboard sound, almost evil feel to it. From the keyboard sounds, you then get a quick couple guitar notes that add a punch to it. And from there, the song kicks into full band mode and Tom Cochrane’s vocals. The song ends with city street sounds including sirens and then ends with the guitar riff from the beginning. The song worked form beginning to end.
According to Mike Bell of the Canadian Online Explorer, “Lunatic Fringe” was inspired by “what Cochrane saw as an alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the ’70s, and was also partially inspired by a book he read on Raoul Wallenberg, who helped thousands of Jews escape Nazi Germany”. And per Wikipedia, “lunatic fringe” is a “term used to characterize members of a political or social movement as extremists with eccentric or fanatical views. The term was popularized by Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote in 1913 that, “Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.”” which is why he named the song as he did.