The Stories Behind Tom's Songs

Lunatic Fringe

"Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it."

"I'm paraphrasing but it goes something like that. A series of events inspired this song. I was going out with a Jewish girl at the time and I was disturbed by anti-Semitic bombings in Paris, by the lunacy of revisionist historians, by various neo-Nazi groups gaining strength in Canada, and by a book I had read about Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who, like Schindler, helped thousands of Jews escape Europe during WWII. My manager at the time told me that there was no place for lyrics like these in this disposable pop world, and I was almost ready to cave in and accept this as a given. But the night we recorded the demo of 'Fringe', Fraser Hill, the engineer, told me over the studio monitor system that John Lennon was dead... Man, that hit me hard - as it did so many people. Lennon had always spoken his mind, always tried to write the truth, always went about his work with integrity. And I thought, for better or worse, I would try to use his example as the touchstone for my own writing. The irony is that 'Lunatic Fringe' went on to become one of my most successful and enduring songs, still is." - Tom Cochrane

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