Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?
Peace Sells but whos buying
Released September 19, 1986
Recorded February 15 – March 20, 1986
Length 36:12
Number of tracks 8
Label Capitol
Previous Album
Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!
Next Album
So Far, So Good... So What!

Peace Sells... but Who's Buying? is the second studio album by the American heavy metal band Megadeth. It was released in November 1986. Originally, the project was handled by Combat Records, and this resulted in the first mix of the album. Eventually Capitol Records bought the rights to the album and a producer was hired to mix it himself. It was remixed and remastered in 2004 by Dave Mustaine.

It has been listed as one of the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and is highly regarded as a thrash metal classic.

It is the last album to feature Gar Samuelson on drums, and the last album until The System Has Failed to feature Chris Poland on lead guitar.


Professional rock critic Steve Huey noted the album's combination of "punkish political awareness with a dark, threatening, typically heavy metal worldview." For instance, the album's cover makes an ironic statement about the Cold War. On the backdrop of a red and orange sky, it shows the United Nations headquarters soon after a nuclear attack. In the foreground is the band's mascot, Vic Rattlehead, who is leaning against a sign reading "For Sale" ("Vic Realtors" appearing on the bottom of the sign on the remastered version), implying that the United Nations is for sale. The cover and the title suggest that while peace is a popular theme, it has become commodified. These themes carry into the title track, with its strong themes of youth disillusionment. Dave Mustaine lifted the title from a Reader's Digest article, which was titled, "Peace Would Sell But No One Would Buy It".

"As long as people keep stealing, hurting and mistreating people, there's always going to be something that you can pick up on and say, 'Look, this is wrong.' Granted, we sing about it, but we take a negative approach to what we do sing about. 'Hey the devil is there, but he's a moron. That's why he's buried in dirt'." (Mustaine, 1987)

The recording of the album was very difficult for the band, as guitarist Chris Poland and drummer Gar Samuelson wouldn't show up for hours because of their extreme heroin addictions. Shortly after the band finished the final recordings of the album for the independent label Combat, they were approached by an A&R person Tim Carr of Capitol Records. After securing the contract, the label hired producer Paul Lani to remix the original mixes done by Randy Burns, the previous producer.

"There was even a time when we were considered black metal! When people heard "Black Friday" and "Bad Omen", they thought we were Satanic. The worst thing is, like, going to a truck stop in Des Moines, Iowa, and having someone go [imitates Southern redneck voice], 'You guys in Megadeth? I heard you are Satanic.' They expect us to have dead goats and babies in our buses. You couldn't get any further from the truth!" (Mustaine, 1997)

The RIAA certified Peace Sells platinum in 1992.

This is one of the early albums to contain a Parental Advisory label, developed by the Parents Music Resource Center, an organization made to censor music that was deemed "inappropriate". On the 1986 Capitol Records pressing on vinyl record, it says on the back of the sleeve, "Explicit Lyrics - Parental Advisory".


No. Title Composer Length
1. Wake Up Dead Dave Mustaine 3:37
2. The Conjuring Mustaine 5:02
3. Peace Sells Mustaine 4:02
4. Devil's Island Mustaine 5:05
5. Good Mourning/Black Friday Mustaine 6:40
6. Bad Omen Mustaine 4:03
7. I Ain't Superstitious Willie Dixon 2:45
8. My Last Words Mustaine 4:55
Total length:

2004 bonus tracksEdit

No. Title Composer Length
9. Wake Up Dead (Randy Burns mix) Mustaine 3:40
10. The Conjuring (Randy Burns mix) Mustaine 5:02
11. Peace Sells (Randy Burns mix) Mustaine 4:00
12. Good Mourning/Black Friday (Randy Burns mix) Mustaine 6:40

In popular cultureEdit

The song "Peace Sells" ranked #11 on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs and the bassline at its beginning was used for years as the theme for MTV News. It also appeared as part of the soundtrack in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and is featured in the music video game Rock Band 2. The rest of the album was released as downloadable content for the Rock Band series on September 16, 2008.  The song also appears on the set list of EA Sports' NHL10, and on the soundtrack to True Crime: Streets of LA.


Additional Vocals
  • Tracks 1, 4, and 9: Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Mike Anderson, Paul Sudin
  • Tracks 5, 8, and 12: Dave Mustaine, Casey McMackin, Randy Burns
  • Produced by Dave Mustaine and Randy Burns
  • Engineered by Casey McMackin and Randy Burns
  • Mixed by Paul Lani with Stan Katayama
  • Album design and cover illustration by Edward J. Repka
  • Cover concept by Dave Mustaine and Andy Somers
Remix and Remaster
  • Produced by Dave Mustaine
  • Mixed by Ralph Patlan and Dave Mustaine
  • Engineered by Ralph Patlan with Lance Dean
  • Edited by Lance Dean with Scott "Sarge" Harrison
  • Mastered by Tom Baker


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.