The Black Parade

The Black Parade was the bands third studio album and their most successful release to date. The album boasted four hit singles, Welcome To The Black Parade, Famous Last Words, I Don’t Love You and Teenagers.

Track Listing

Concept

It all starts in a hospital… The basic concept is this: When you die… how does Death come for you? I like to think that when it does, it comes for you however you want, as if it taps into your subconscious, finds something strong inside you and transforms into that.
Gerard Way – 2006

The Black Parade was the bands most conceptual release to date. The album followed the story of a young male character called “The Patient” who dies tragically young of cancer. The character is alive during the records opening track, The End., but dies at the start of the second track Dead!. The rest of the album follows the story of his life.

It’s called The Black Parade, it’s concept album, we’ve always been toying around with concepts from our first record but, it’s a story of a man called the patient, and it starts up in a hospital and he dies right away. Basically, from that point on you go on this oydessy and he examines his life and the mistakes that he’s made. His strongest memory is his memory from childhood of his father taking him to see this parade, so when death comes for him it comes as a parade, and so our alter-egos on this record is a band called The Black Parade and it’s pretty fun actually to be The Black Parade.
Gerard Way – BBC Radio 1 Documentary – 2007

Some songs such as Welcome To The Black Parade and Cancer more evidently follow The Patients story, whereas tracks such as Teenagers and Sleep do not so. As with all My Chemical Romance albums, real life and concept become intertwined and at times, are hard to separate.

Alter Ego

For the release of the album an alter ego band, The Black Parade was created, which My Chemical Romance would play as up until the Mexico City show on October 7th 2007, when the alter ago was killed off for the DVD The Black Parade Is Dead!.
Although the band had already played songs from the upcoming album, their alter ego, was not introduced until the performance at the Hammersmith Palais, London on Tuesday August 22nd 2006. Seconds before the band were to take to the stage an announcement was made:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, My Chemical Romance are unable to perform this evening, however My Chemical Romance’s good friends The Black Parade have kindly stepped in as a replacement.

The crowd initially responded with booing and tears only to realize on entrance of The Black Parade that it was in fact My Chemical Romance, Gerard had bleached hair and the group wore new marching band style outfits, but it was My Chemical Romance nonetheless.

It felt amazing. It’s hard to put into words, but it was a rock moment that I’d been waiting for my whole life. When we were standing behind that curtain, I was more nervous than I’ve ever been. I had the shakes. My whole life was leading up to that moment.
Gerard Way – Kerrang! Magazine – 2006

Recording

Recording for The Black Parade took place from April – August 2006 at the Paramour Mansion located in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California. It was because of this choice of location, that the recording of The Black Parade was a particularly difficult time for the group.

As soon as you stepped into that place you felt like you were in ‘The Shining’. The house started to consume us. We had no contact with the outside world, no television, no heat.
Gerard Way – Kerrang! Magazine – 2006

The mansion is a 22,000 square foot Mediterranean style country villa constructed in 1923. The property contained a lot of history, becoming the Chloe P. Canfield School for Girls in 1950

“A lot of crazy stuff happened in the Paramour Mansion. Me and Mikey were in the kitchen making coffee and this door slammed in front of us. It was this door to the basement that nobody ever went into and we just ran like girls. “There were lots of moments like that, where you’d hear people scream – faucets would draw baths for people, you’d hear conversations and it was unnaturally cold.”
Gerard Way

Reception And Sales

Within a week of its release The Black Parade sold 240,000 copies in America alone, exceeding weekly sales of the previous album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, which sold 38,000 in its best week. The record debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart and number two on the Billboard 200 in the United States. In the Australian ARIA Albums Chart the album debuted at number three. In the last fortnight of 2006 the record was still selling 156,000 copies per week. The previous album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, took nine months to go gold, The Black Parade took only one week. As of July, 2010, The Black Parade has sold 1,488,000 copies in the United States alone.
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