My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way has revealed that ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, the theatrical centrepiece of their third studio album, ‘The Black Parade’, almost didn’t make the album’s final cut.
Commemorating the 2006 album’s 15th anniversary, Way explained that the song was “the hardest one to finish” and needed to be “deconstructed and kind of broken in order to rebuild it into something better” before it was included on the final tracklist.
“Originally, that song was called ‘The Five of Us Are Dying’,” he told Apple Music 1 host Travis Mills. We played it and we really liked it, and I had felt that we needed that one song on the record, that touchstone that kind of introduces your concept, and the lyrics and the themes of that song kind of embody the themes of the record.”
Way went on to explain that although the band liked the song, he was struggling to connect to it personally, and it appeared as though it wouldn’t make it to the album. “All the other songs had really strong themes and titles and things like that,” Way said.
“But we didn’t want to just give up on the song, so then I started to bring the concept into the musical side of things, where I was like, ‘I want to call this ‘Black Parade’, I want there to be a parade on the record’, and we started breaking the song and reconstructing it.”
It was around this time, Way explains, that he wrote the instantly-recongisable piano melody that opens the song. “Once we re-approached it from the perspective of starting with a completely new introduction and a new way to start the song, it helped us fix the rest of it.
“Anytime it got brought up before we started breaking it, any time it kind of got brought up, especially by my AR, Craig Aaronson, I would just kind of shoo him away about it and be like, ‘Yeah, that song’s about nothing. I’m not interested in that one.'”
Of course, the band ended up not only including ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’ on the album, but releasing it as the record’s first single in 2006. It went on to become arguably the band’s signature song.
Speaking about the song on Steve Baltin’s My Turning Point podcast earlier this month, Way said ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ was inspired by “the triumph of the human spirit over darkness”.