U2 – The Sweetest Thing

Bono wrote this as a birthday present to his wife, Ali. On her birthday, he was working on recording The Joshua Tree, so he was trying to make up for it.  It was originally released as a B-side on the “Where the Streets Have No Name” single in 1987. The song was later re-recorded and re-released as a single in October 1998 for the band’s compilation album The Best of 1980–1990.

The song peaked at #63 in the Billboard 100 in 1998.

All proceeds from the song were given to the charity “The Children of Chernobyl”, which was chosen by Ali as her chosen charity, an organization that brought children affected by the Chernobyl disaster to visit and stay with Irish families.

Bono about his wife:  “I’m a bit of a stray dog. I would not have been in the queue to get married had I not met someone as extraordinary as Ali. I always felt more myself with her than with anybody.” He describes the first time he saw her: “I thought she looked Spanish, a rose for sure, dark with blood-red lips.”

 

 

From Songfacts

U2 recorded this for The Joshua Tree, but left it off because they felt it did not fit in on the album. It was originally released as the B-side to a 7″ single that also included “Where The Streets Have No Name” and “Silver And Gold.”

This was rerecorded and released on U2 The Best Of 1980-1990 in 1998.

In 1998, this was released as a single with proceeds going to Children Of Chernobyl, the favorite charity of Bono’s wife, Ali.

The video shows Bono orchestrating an elaborate apology to Ali, who appears at the beginning of the clip getting into a horse-drawn carriage. The camera then cuts to Bono, who is facing her, and stays on him as they go for a ride down a street in Dublin. Along the way, Bono makes various outlandish offerings to win her favor, starting with the Irish group Boyzone, who climb on board. Next comes a marching band, a fire engine (with firemen), a string section, Irish step dancers from Riverdance, and an elephant. It’s not clear if the apology works, but he sure made an effort.

It looks like the Bono section is all one shot, but there are actually several edits made where the light flares come in. Kevin Godley, who directed it, did something similar on U2’s video for “Numb,” where the camera stays on The Edge for almost the entire time.

U2 didn’t play this live until March 17, 2000, when they played it a ceremony in Dublin where they were being honored. The following year, it made the setlist for their Elevation tour, then was mothballed until 2015 for their Innocence + Experience tour.

Boyzone star Ronan Keating revealed to co-host Harriet Scott on the Magic Radio Breakfast Show that Bono initially offered the song to him, but he insisted that U2 take it instead. Keating said: “It was U2’s, they had to sing it, I knew they had to sing it.

The Sweetest Thing

My love she throws me like a rubber ball
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing
She won’t catch me or break my fall
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing
Baby’s got blue skies up ahead
But in this I’m a rain cloud
You know she likes a dry kind of love
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing

I’m losing you
I’m losing you
Ain’t love the sweetest thing

I wanted to run but she made me crawl
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing
Eternal fire, she turned me to straw
Oh oh, the sweetest thing
You know I got black eyes
But they burn so brightly for her
This is a blind kind of love
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing

I’m losing you
Oh oh oh, I’m losing you yeah
Ain’t love the sweetest thing
Ain’t love the sweetest thing
Oh oh, yeah, oh

Blue-eyed boy meets a brown-eyed girl
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing
You can sew it up but you still see the tear
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing
Baby’s got blue skies up ahead
And in this I’m a rain cloud
Oh this is a stormy kind of love
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing

Oh oh, the sweetest thing
Oh oh oh, the sweetest thing

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

22 thoughts on “U2 – The Sweetest Thing”

  1. Of course I LOVE U2. They are simply amazing. This video is so great. The way Bono does impressions of Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin with Stan Laurel thrown into the mix. It’s brilliant. My favorite part is the firetruck with the shirtless fireman exercising on it. That’s so money!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like when he gets the boy band to join…I do like this one a lot. I’ve never heard the original version.
      I’m glad I got to see them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A buddy and me traveled to Birmingham in 92 or 93 I believe it was to see them on the Zoopora tour.
        The thing I remember the most is seeing The Edge singing Daydream Believer.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A great tune. I recall it being played a lot on radio in Toronto in the ’80s, when it was just a b-side, which is an indication of how big they were. Then they re-recorded it, and I remember first time I heard that noticing it was different — I can’t remember exactly what they did different on the new version now. But both were good records. From about ’80 through 2001, they could do very little wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had totally forgotten about this song. It has a really cute melody. Waaaay back around 1983-84, I was in college, and someone in one of my classes said he had tickets to see this band called U2 and did I want to go. I said sure, I’ve never heard of them. The rest is history lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s one of those songs you don’t hear as much now.
      That is great that you got to see them then…near the very beginning.

      Like

  4. I kinda got lost after the Achtung Baby album. I bought Zooropa and was like..Whut?? haha.
    Bought some stuff sporadically over the years and never really heard this song. The video is quite good.

    I will add that the Rattle and Hum record is so good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had forgotten all about this little gem! Never knew the backstory of the video. It’s actually quite charming, watching it again for the first time in probably 20 years. Bono lookin like Elvis Costello.

    Liked by 1 person

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