Red Rider - Lunatic Fringe

Red Rider - Lunatic Fringe

‘Lunatic Fringe’ is a song by the Canadian rock band Red Rider from their 1981 album, As Far as Siam. The song reached No. 11 on the rock radio airplay chart in Billboard in September 1981, and was awarded a SOCAN Classic award in 2009 by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada for reaching the 100,000-airplay mark on (Canadian) domestic radio.

Red Rider was led by guitarist Tom Cochrane, who had a solo hit in 1991 with ‘Life Is a Highway.’ He wrote this song after reading about Raoul Wallenberg, who worked to free Hungarian Jews during World War II. The song speaks against the oppression of Jews in America, which Cochrane felt was far less overt but still disturbing. Cochrane even mentions the ‘Final Solution’ in the lyrics, which refers to Hitler's wish that all Jews be eliminated ("On guard this time against your final solution").

Red Rider

Speaking with the Toronto radio station Boom 97.3 in 2017, Tom Cochrane talked about getting resistance to this song. "Everybody was saying, 'What are these lyrics? These are way too heavy for rock and roll. Why don't you just get down to writing a pop song? Just write some pop lyrics and let's get on with it.' And I thought, 'No, this is important to say.' The song speaks out against racism, it speaks out against a number of things, and it topically is current today, I suppose, as it was back then in some ways. It's about being vigilant, about our freedom."

Cochrane adds that while recording the song, he found out John Lennon had been killed. "It just hit me like a ton of bricks and I thought, here's a guy that always wore his heart on his sleeve. For better, for worse, these lyrics are going to stand. I didn't think the song would see the light of day because it was just so different, so unique. I'm very proud of this song. It's probably one of the more unique pieces of music I've ever written."

T-Shirt Sale

Label – Capitol
Songwriter – Tom Cochrane
Producer – Richard Landis


Lunatic fringe
I know you're out there
You're in hiding
And you hold your meetings
I can hear you coming
I know what you're after
We're wise to you this time (wise to you this time)
We won't let you kill the laughter
Lunatic fringe
In the twilight's last gleaming
But this is open season
But you won't get too far
Cause you've got to blame someone
For your own confusion
We're on guard this time (on guard this time)
Against your final solution
We can hear you coming (we can hear you coming)
No, you're not going to win this time (not gonna win)
We can hear the footsteps (we can hear the footsteps)
Hey, out along the walkway (out along the walkway)
Lunatic fringe
We all know you're out there
Can you feel the resistance
Can you feel the thunder
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