'The Black Parade' was released on this day (October 23rd) in 2006.
We almost can't believe that it's been 14 years since we picked up My Chemical Romance's seminal third album The Black Parade, and yet some of us still have no trouble singing the lyrics to every single song. It was the pinnacle of our emo fantasies and, while we've moved on since then, truly worth celebrating.
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
It was the year of Evanescence's Call Me When You're Sober, AFI's Miss Murder and Fall Out Boy's Dance, Dance, but it was Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance which stole our hearts away.
Produced by Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls), The Black Parade is a rock opera about an individual with cancer ("The Patient"), reflecting on his illness, his death, the afterlife and indeed the way he lived his life. The concept of a Black Parade represents the idea of a fond childhood memory symbolising the arrival of death; in this case, watching a marching band with his father.
The Black Parade presented more theatrical but no less lugubrious themes than their previous album Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, and reached number 2 in both the US and UK charts with single Welcome to the Black Parade topping the latter's singles chart.
Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the album was the video for the hit song directed by Samuel Bayer, which debuted an iconic look for My Chemical Romance; namely frontman Gerard Way's cropped blonde hair and the band's rather dapper military drummer uniforms in the vein of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Every teenager wanted a black jacket with too many buttons, and gold-embroidered epaulettes after that.
More memorable moments came from I Don't Love You, the especially rowdy Teenagers, and of course Famous Last Words. Not only was the latter one of the most infectious tracks on the record, it also turned into quite the physical trauma for the band who sustained a number of injuries while filming the video. From drummer Bob Bryar's third degree burns and subsequent gangrene to Gerard Way being hospitalised with muscle tears, it landed them in a most ironic predicament.
The album sold 4 million copies worldwide and was followed by their biggest ever tour at that point. In 2016, they celebrated the album's tenth anniversary with a special re-release entitled The Black Parade/Living with Ghosts which featured a number of previously unreleased demo and live tracks.
For its time it was the perfect teen rock album and will always remain part of the soundtrack of the mid to late 2000s, even if it isn't the most timeless of records.