Red Rider – Lunatic Fringe

This song was released in 1981. It starts off very ominous until a great sounding guitar comes in and plays the main riff. The demo of this song was recorded on the night John Lennon was murdered. Tom Cochrane said he wrote this song about the oppression of people. The song peaked at #11 in the Rock Radio Airplay Chart.

From Songfacts.

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.”


“Lunatic Fringe”

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 laughterLunatic 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 solutionWe 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

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “Red Rider – Lunatic Fringe”

  1. Good track, one I didn’t know got heard down here in the US. tom was well-known in Canada before ‘Life is a Highway’, and I personally generally found the stuff he did with Red Rider more interesting than his later solo material

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never knew who sang this or the name of the song, even though I like it. I always thought it had a Pink Floyd sound. The timing of the song to Lennon’s murder has definitely been ingrained into the back story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right…I never thought of it but it does have a Pink Floyd sound to it especially at first… The timing makes the song darker than it was…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s one of those songs I immediately recognized but knew nothing about the group or its back story. Same with the other song, “Life is a Highway”. I like both songs and especially like seeing the steel guitar being put to good use. It’s an underappreciated instrument, imo.

    Liked by 1 person

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