The Killers reveal why 'Mr Brightside' has the same verse twice

Virgin Radio

4 Feb 2021, 15:29

'Mr Brightside' by The Killers is undoubtedly one of the most popular songs around. Any night out (remember those?) the dancefloor is guaranteed to be full of people singing along to it.

It has sold more than 5 million copies, but - and be honest - the lyrics are actually pretty nonsensical when you listen to them properly. 

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal the song started life in a cupboard, in a Las Vegas apartment where the guitar riff was created. It's a glamorous life!

In November 2001, the band headed to the Kill The Messenger studio to record a four-song demo. It includes tracks “Under the Gun,” “Desperate,” “Replaceable” and “Mr. Brightside.”

“I think we dropped, like, $2,500 on the recording,” recalls original drummer Matt Norcross.

Singer Brandon remembers how nervous he was: “I remember having butterflies a little bit going in, being nervous. It was the first time paying for studio time. The red light’s on. The clock’s ticking. You only have so much time to make these demos. It felt thrilling just to be in there, in a studio, doing it.”

The whole 'second verse, same as the first' situation for Mr Brightside came about because of running out of time in the studio.

“That comes from procrastination,” explains Brandon.  “One of the memories I do have of being at Kill the Messenger is being in the vocal booth and having the lyrics on paper, looking at an unfinished second verse and that clock’s ticking. You paid for it. It’s like, ‘What do you do? Mumble through this, the second verse?’ I opted to just sing the first verse again. It ended up sticking.”

It worked out well in the end!

It's surreal looking back at writing the song for Brandon: “I was still so young — I was  young — I wrote it half of my life ago. Everything was brand new and exciting. It wasn’t until the touring and making the second record that we realized, ‘It’s not just parties and girls and all that; it’s a lot of hard work if you’re going to keep this up.’ You have to find inspiration. You’re either going to accept it or kind of fade away."

They've made it work so far.