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

U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday

Of all the U2 songs this one is probably on the top of my list. The drum pattern sounds like they are marching off to battle. It’s raw and you can hear the conviction in what Bono is singing. The Edge’s guitar is crunchy and perfect.

The drum-beat was composed by Larry Mullen Jr., which was recorded in a staircase of their Dublin recording studio because producer Steve Lillywhite was trying to get a full sound with natural reverb.

“Bloody Sunday” was a term given to an incident, which took place on 30th January 1972 in Derry, Northern Ireland where British Soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians who were peacefully protesting against Operation Demetrius. Thirteen were killed outright, while another man lost his life four months later due to injuries. It was reported that many of the victims who were fleeing the scene were shot at point-blank range.

The first person to have addressed these events musically was John Lennon who composed “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and released it on his third Solo album “Sometime In New York City”. His version of the song directly expresses his anger towards the massacre

The song peaked at #7 in the US Billboard Top Tracks Chart.

 

From Songfacts

There are two Bloody Sundays in Irish history. The first was in 1920 when British troops fired into the crowd at a football match in Dublin in retaliation for the killing of British undercover agents. The second was on January 30, 1972, when British paratroopers killed 13 Irish citizens at a civil rights protest in Derry, Northern Ireland. The song is more about the second Bloody Sunday. 

The lyrics are a nonpartisan condemnation of the historic bloodshed in Ireland – politics is not something you want to discuss in Ireland. Bono’s lyrics in the song are more about interpersonal struggles than about the actual Bloody Sunday events.

Bono used to introduce this at concerts by saying: “This is not a rebel song.”

U2 has played several times at Croke Park, the site of the 1920 Bloody Sunday in Dublin. They first performed there in 1985 on the Unforgettable Fire tour.

Bono started writing this with political lyrics condemning the Irish Republican Army (the IRA), a militant group dedicated to getting British troops out of Northern Ireland. He changed them to point out the atrocities of war without taking sides.

While performing this, Bono would wave a white flag as a call for peace.

Bono was trying to contrast the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre with Easter Sunday, a peaceful day Protestants and Catholics both celebrate.

The music video for this song was taken from a live performance that’s part of their Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky concert film. The concert took place June 5, 1983 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. Directed by Gavin Taylor, it captures the live energy of the band as they fight through the wind and rain to deliver a high-energy performance. At this time, U2 liked their videos shot outdoors in a natural setting.

Larry Mullen’s drums were recorded in a staircase of their Dublin recording studio. Producer Steve Lillywhite was trying to get a full sound with a natural echo.

Steve Wickham, who went on to join The Waterboys, played the electric fiddle on this track.

This took on new meaning as the conflict in Northern Ireland continued through the ’90s.

U2 recorded this in Denver for their Rattle And Hum movie on November 8, 1987. It was the same day as the Enniskillen massacre, where 13 people in Northern Ireland were killed by a bomb detonated by the Irish Republican Army (the IRA). Angered by these events, U2 gave a very emotional performance.

The version on U2’s live album Under A Blood Red Sky was recorded at a show in Sankt Goarshausen, Germany on August 20, 1983.

In 2003, The Edge inducted The Clash into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In his speech, he said, “There is no doubt in my mind that “Sunday Bloody Sunday” wouldn’t – and couldn’t – have been written if not for The Clash.”

A live version of this song plays during the end credits of the 2002 movie Bloody Sunday, which is a documentary-style drama recreating the events of January 30,1972 in Derry, Ireland. It stars James Nesbitt (you may remember him as “Pig Finn” from Waking Ned Devine) as a local Member of Parliament who is involved with the Civil Rights Movement.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Yeah
Hmm hmm

I can’t believe the news today
Oh, I can’t close my eyes
And make it go away
How long
How long must we sing this song?
How long? How long

’cause tonight we can be as one
Tonight

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end street
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up
Puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

(Oh, let’s go)

And the battle’s just begun
There’s many lost, but tell me who has won?
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

How long
How long must we sing this song?
How long? How long

’cause tonight we can be as one
Tonight tonight

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

(Yeah, let’s go)

Wipe the tears from your eyes
Wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
I wipe your tears away
(Sunday, bloody Sunday)
I wipe your blood shot eyes
(Sunday, bloody Sunday)

Sunday, bloody Sunday (Sunday, bloody Sunday)
Sunday, bloody Sunday (Sunday, bloody Sunday)

(Yeah, let’s go)

And it’s true we are immune
When fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die

(Sunday, bloody Sunday)

The real battle just begun
To claim the victory Jesus won
On

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

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U2 – One

This is one of my top U2 songs… it was on the album Achtung Baby released in 1991. the song peaked at #10 on the Billboard 100 in 1992. Johnny Cash covered it on 2000’s American III: Solitary Man,..the video is at the bottom of the post.

The Edge talks about when they came up with it: Suddenly something very powerful happening in the room. Everyone recognized it was a special piece. It was like we’d caught a glimpse of what the song could be. It was a pivotal song in the recording of the album, the first breakthrough in what was an extremely difficult set of sessions.

The band wrote this song in Berlin after being there for months trying to record Achtung Baby. The Berlin Wall had just fallen, so the band was hoping to find inspiration from the struggle and change. Instead, they found themselves at odds with each other and unable to do much productive work.

Most of the song was written in about 30 minutes and it rejuvenated the band creatively. When they left Berlin, they had little to show for it except for this song, but they were able to complete the album back home in Ireland with this song as the centerpiece of the album.

Achtung Baby peaked at #1 on the Billboard Album Charts in 1991. 

 

This was voted best single in the 1992 Rolling Stone reader’s poll. U2 also won for best album, band, and comeback of the year. In 2003, it was voted the best song ever by Q magazine.

 

From Songfacts

This song can be interpreted in many ways. Bono, who wrote the lyrics, has always been a bit vague, saying it is “about relationships.” Here are some interpretations:

1) The song could relate to the reunification of Germany, where the band recorded it.

2) It could be about the dissolution of The Edge’s marriage to Aislinn O’Sullivan. The couple was having problems in their relationship and split soon after the sessions. Bono was the best man at their wedding.

3) It could be about the band putting their differences aside and coming together to make the album.

4) Bono may have been writing about his good friend, the Irish painter Guggi, who was having girl trouble.

5) The song could represent a conversation between an AIDS victim and his father.

Proceeds from the single were donated to AIDS research, which was stated on the liner notes of the single. Also printed on the notes was this statement: “The image on the cover is a photograph by the American artist David Wojnarowicz, depicting how Indians hunted buffalo by causing them to run off cliffs. Wojnarowicz identifies himself and ourselves with the buffalo, pushed into the unknown by forces we cannot control or even understand. Wojnarowicz is an activist artist and writer whose work has created controversy recently through its uncompromising depiction of the artist’s homosexuality, his infection by the H.I.V. virus and the political crisis surrounding AIDS.”

The Edge came up with the guitar track while working on “Mysterious Ways.” Once he came up with this guitar part, they quickly started writing “One.”

Three different videos were made, each interpreting the song differently. The first, directed by Mark Pellington, shows a buffalo running in a field. The second, which was mostly seen in Europe, featured U2 in drag. The third, shown mostly in the US, is built around Bono reflecting over a cigarette.

Director and photographer Anton Corbijn was at the helm for the video that featured the band in drag. He told The Guardian September 24, 2005: “I had been working with U2 as a photographer for 10 years at this stage and we’d had our ups and downs. I’d done one video for them in 1984 for ‘Pride.’ It was a disaster and no one ever saw it. It took them eight years to give me another chance. I really wanted to put a lot of effort into it to prove myself to them as a director. I even hand-painted the cars that appear in the video myself. I themed the whole thing around the notion of ‘one’ although I don’t think that’s what Bono was actually singing about. That’s why I filmed it in Berlin because the wall had just come down. And I filmed the band performing in a circle like a single unit. I showed Bono’s dad at one end of a seesaw to suggest that on your own you are not always balanced. I liked Bono’s father very much but they had a very complex relationship.

I think it meant a lot for them to appear together. These were all my own ideas but U2 are very much a band who like to meet up and talk about things. There are always a lot of meetings with them! But they cleared all the ideas, including the one about them appearing in drag. Later though, they decided that some of the proceeds from the single would go to Aids charities. They became nervous that the drag element in the video might link Aids to the homosexual community in a negative way. So they dropped the video and got someone else to film something.

It was so painful for me at the time. They replaced it with a video of Bono in a bar surrounded by models, which I particularly didn’t like. But once the song had died in the charts a few months later they got MTV to start running my video instead. That’s why I like working with U2: they have stayed very loyal to me, which is rare in music.”

According to The Guardian, Bono’s father, Robert Hewson, appeared in the song’s video. He later complained to his son that he hadn’t been paid.

In 2005, Bono got involved in the “One” campaign, which tried to convince the US government to give an additional 1% of its budget to help poor regions in Africa. On the Vertigo tour, fans who signed up had their names displayed on video screens when U2 played this.

Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen performed this at the “MTV Rock n Roll Inaugural Ball” for Bill Clinton in 1993 with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills from R.E.M. The impromptu group became known as “Automatic Baby,” a combination of album titles Automatic For The People and Achtung Baby.

The “buffalo” video directed by Mark Pellington was comprised of projections he made for the Zoo TV tour. In a Songfacts interview with Pellington, he explained: “They had made a video for the song already – that Anton Corbijn had done – of them in drag, and they weren’t really crazy about it. So, they released mine, and it was out there for a while. It was a very ‘anti-video’: no band, a slow art piece. And they made a third version of the video with Bono singing in a bar.

It always was interesting to me to have more than one video for a song. I don’t know why bands don’t do that more.”

Pellington later worked on the 2007 film U2 3D.

On the Popmart tour in Mexico City, while the Edge played the intro Bono said, “This one goes out to a mate of ours, a great mate, a great singer, we’re sorry, we’re sorry, for Michael Hutchence.” 

On their 2001-2002 tour, a list of victims of the September 11 attacks was projected on a screen while they performed this.

In 2006, after Bank of America merged with MBNA, BoA held a corporate conference where Ethan Chandler, who managed a New York branch, performed a new version of this song celebrating the merger. Sample lyric: “And we’ve got Bank One on the run. What’s in your wallet? It’s not Capital One.” Thankfully, someone leaked the video and it ended up on YouTube, where you can see it in all its glory. Watch for the standing ovation at the end.

Mary J. Blige sang this with Bono in 2006 for a benefit for victims of hurricane Katrina. Blige then recorded it with Bono and U2 for her album Reminisce.

In a March 2007 poll carried out by The Tony Fenton Show on the Irish radio station Today FM, this was voted the Best Irish Single Ever.

Bono explained the meaning of this song to Rolling Stone in 2005: “It’s a father-and-son story. I tried to write about someone I knew who was coming out and was afraid to tell his father. It’s a religious father and son… I have a lot of gay friends, and I’ve seen them screwed up from unloving family situations, which just are completely anti-Christian. If we know anything about God, it’s that God is love. That’s part of the song. And then it’s also about people struggling to be together, and how difficult it is to stay together in this world, whether you’re in a band or a relationship.” >>

The line “One life, with each other, sisters, brothers” was voted the UK’s favorite song lyric in a 2006 poll by music channel VH1.

Anyone thinking of using this at their wedding might want to reconsider. “‘One’ is not about oneness, it’s about difference,” Bono points out in the book U2 by U2. “It is not the old hippie idea of ‘Let’s all live together.’ It is a much more punk rock concept. It’s anti-romantic: ‘We are one, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other.’ It’s a reminder that we have no choice. I’m still disappointed when people hear the chorus line as ‘we’ve got to’ rather than ‘we get to carry each other.’ Because it is resigned, really. It’s not: ‘Come on everybody, let’s vault over the wall.’ Like it or not, the only way out of here is if I give you a leg up the wall and you pull me after you. There’s something very unromantic about that. The song is a bit twisted, which is why I could never figure out why people want it at their weddings. I have certainly met a hundred people who’ve had it at their weddings. I tell them, ‘Are you mad? It’s about splitting up!'”

The Edge offers his take: “The lyric was the first in a new, more intimate style. It’s two ideas, essentially. On one level it’s a bitter, twisted, vitriolic conversation between two people who’ve been through some nasty, heavy stuff: ‘We hurt each other, then we do it again.’ But on another level there’s the idea that ‘we get to carry each other.’ ‘Get to’ is the key. ‘Got to’ would be too obvious and platitudinous. ‘Get to’ suggests it is our privilege to carry one another. It puts everything in perspective and introduces the idea of grace. Still, I wouldn’t have played it at any wedding of mine.”

This was featured in the trailer for the 2000 Nicolas Cage movie The Family Man. It was not used in the movie itself.

One

Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blame

You say one love, one life (One life)
It’s one need in the night
One love (one love), get to share it
Leaves you darling, if you don’t care for it

Did I disappoint you?
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

Well it’s too late, tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other
Carry each other

One, one
One, one
One, one
One, one

Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head
Well, did I ask too much, more than a lot?
You gave me nothing, now it’s all I got
We’re one, but we’re not the same
See we hurt each other, then we do it again
You say love is a temple, love is a higher law
Love is a temple, love is a higher law
You ask me of me to enter, but then you make me crawl
And I can’t keep holding on to what you got, ’cause all you got is hurt

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters and my brothers
One life
But we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other

One, one
One, one

One
One love, one life

Favorite Lines from Songs Part 2

I did Part 1 over a year ago and it was a fun post. I’ve been meaning to do this again. I remembered some of the lyrics suggested by my friends hanspostcard and allthingsthriller on the last post…I have added those to list. Thanks to both of you.

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back, And started walkin toward a coffee colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

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Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson

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And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time Jimmy Webb

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Doesn’t have a point of view / Knows not where he’s going to / Isn’t he a bit like you and me…The Beatles

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Met myself a coming county welfare line, I was feeling strung out, Hung out on the line…Creedence Clearwater Revival

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And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above…Bruce Springsteen

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He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week / All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek…Kinks

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Well it’s too late, tonight, To drag the past out into the light, We’re one, but we’re not the same, We get to carry each other, Carry each other…U2

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You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a firePeter Gabriel

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Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…The Beatles

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Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola, C-O-L-A Cola…Kinks

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It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart…Bob Dylan
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A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see oneThe Band

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And the sign said, The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls… Simon and Garfunkel

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I lit up from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds, Didn’t get to sleep that night
Till the morning came around…Grateful Dead

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When I said that I was lying, I might have been lyingElvis Costello
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Though nothing will keep us together/We can be heroes/Just for one day…David Bowie
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Lose your dreams and you. Will lose your mind…Rolling Stones

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It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…Bruce Springsteen

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The motor cooled down, the heat went down, and that’s when I heard that highway sound…Chuck Berry

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We were the first band to vomit at the bar, and find the distance to the stage too far…The Who

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U2 – Angel of Harlem

This song has an old feel and a lot of power. It was on the Rattle and Hum album. I’ve talked to many U2 fans who don’t like the album a lot but it was a favorite of mine at the time. It broke a little from their previous albums. The Edge backed off the reverb some on this album.

The “Angel of Harlem” is Billie Holiday, a Jazz singer who moved to Harlem as a teenager in 1928. She played a variety of nightclubs and became famous for her spectacular voice and ability to move her audience to tears. She dealt with racism, drug problems, and bad relationships for most of her life, and her sadness was often revealed in her songs. She died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1959 at age 44.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 and #9 in the UK in 1989. Rattle and Hum peaked at #1 in the Billboard 200 in 1988. The album had live and studio cuts included and a film.

Angel of Harlem was recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis.

From Songfacts

Billy Holiday’s nickname was “Lady Day.” That’s where they got the line, “Lady Day got diamond eyes, she sees the truth behind the lies.”

This is a tribute to the blues, jazz and gospel music U2 heard while touring America.

U2 recorded this at Sun Studios in Memphis while the band was touring the US in 1987. It features the Memphis Horns, who recorded on many of the blues and soul classics recorded there.

This was produced by “Cowboy” Jack Clement, who worked with Sam Phillips at Sun Studios in the ’50s before moving to Nashville and working with a variety of Country singers. When U2 asked him to work on this album, he had never even heard of them, but fortunately some of his friends were familiar with U2 and made it clear to Clement that working with them would be a good career move. By using Clement, U2 was able to recreate the famous Sun Studios’ sound they were looking for.

The line “On BLS I heard the sound…” refers to New York radio station WBLS, where U2 heard the blues and soul music that influenced this track.

This was used in the U2 documentary Rattle And Hum, which followed the band on their 1987-1988 tour of North America.

U2 played this live for the first time at the Smile Jamaica concert on October 16, 1988 in London, a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Gilbert. >>

The band was inspired by their first trip to New York City. “I wrote about it in a song. ‘Angel of Harlem,'” Bono explains in the book U2 by U2. “We landed in JFK and we were picked up in a limousine. We had never been in a limousine before, and with the din of punk rock not yet faded from our ears, there was a sort of guilty pleasure as we stepped into the limousine. Followed by a sly grin, as you admit to yourself this is fun. We crossed Triborough Bridge and saw the Manhattan skyline. The limo driver was black and he had the radio tuned to WBLS, a black music station. Billie Holiday was singing. And there it was, city of blinding lights, neon hearts. They were advertising in the skies for people like us, as London had the year before.”

During the recording session, Bono learned the important lesson that alcohol and horn players do not mix. “I thought I would lighten the session up, so I sent out for a case of Absolut Vodka. I was giving it to the horn players and we were all having a little laugh and Cowboy came up to me. Cowboy was a guy who knew how to get into trouble but he also knew when not to get into trouble. He said, ‘Bono, how long you been doing this?’ I said, ‘Ten years, nearly.’ He said, ‘Ten years and you don’t know not to give the horn section Absolut Vodka? You can give it to anybody else but you can’t give a horn section Absolut.’ I asked, ‘Why, particularly, the horn section?’ Cowboy said, ‘Listen, stupid, you try playing a horn when your lips won’t work.’

Angel of Harlem

It was a cold and wet December day
When we touched the ground at JFK
Snow was melting on the ground
On BLS I heard the sound
Of an angel

New York, like a Christmas tree
Tonight this city belongs to me
Angel

Soul love, this love won’t let me go
So long, angel of Harlem

Birdland on fifty three
The street sounds like a symphony
We got John Coltrane and a love supreme
Miles, and she’s got to be an angel

Lady Day got diamond eyes
She sees the truth behind the lies
Angel

Soul love this love won’t let me go
So long angel of Harlem
Angel of Harlem

She says it’s heart, heart and soul
Yeah yeah (yeah)
Yeah yeah (right now)

Blue light on the avenue
God knows they got to you
An empty glass, the lady sings
Eyes swollen like a bee sting
Blinded you lost your way
Through the side streets and the alleyway
Like a star exploding in the night
Falling to the city in broad daylight
An angel in Devil’s shoes
Salvation in the blues
You never looked like an angel
Yeah yeah angel of Harlem

Angel angel of Harlem
Angel angel of Harlem
Angel angel of Harlem
Angel angel of Harlem

Beatles – Helter Skelter

Bono once said before playing the song  “This is a song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles, well we’re stealin’ it back.” Charles Manson did, in fact, hijack the song from the Beatles. The song is about an amusement park attraction (not a coded message to Charlie). A “Helter Skelter” is an amusement ride popularized mostly in the U.K. with a slide built in a spiral around a high tower. Paul McCartney read an interview with Pete Townshend saying that the Who just recorded the loudest, rawest and dirtiest song ever…it was “I Can See For Miles.” A great song… but not what Townshend described it as exactly…

Paul then started to write a song that fit that description and went above it. Helter Skelter was recorded with all four Beatles in studio two with their amps on 11. It’s a great brutal hard rock song. It was one of the rawest songs ever released by a well-known band at that time. If I hear someone call the Beatles only a pop band…I just point them to this song. Covers of this song range from Motley Crue who despite their image their version sounds light compared to this, Pat Benatar version is not up to this one…U2’s version tries but no version gets close to the Beatles version in rawness. Some credit this song as one of the inspirations of Heavy Metal…

This song fits great on the White Album. The album is the most diverse the Beatles ever made. On the same album, you have Helter Skelter, Rocky Racoon, Sexy Sadie, Honey Pie, Back In The USSR, Blackbird, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Revolution Nine and many more.

 

Helter Skelter

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again

Yeah, yeah, yeah, heh, heh, heh, heh
But do you, don’t you want me to love you?
I’m (Ahhh) coming down fast but I’m miles above you
(Ahhh) Tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer

Well, you may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer
Now
Helter skelter

Helter skelter
Helter skelter
Yeah!
Woo!, hoo!

A Will you, won’t you want me to make you?
(Ahhh)
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you
(Ahhh)

Tell me, tell me, tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Look out!
Helter skelter
Helter skelter

 

U2 – New Year’s Day

I’d heard guitar delay before but U2 took it to a new level. New Year’s Day peaked at #53 in the Billboard 100, #10 in the UK and #41 in Canada in 1983. This song was on their third album War. This is about the time I started to notice them.

from Songfacts.

The lyrics refer to the movement for solidarity lead by Lech Walesa in Poland. After this was recorded, Poland announced they would abolish martial law, coincidentally, on New Year’s Day, 1983.

This was U2’s first UK Top 10 and their first single to chart in America.

This almost didn’t make the album because Bono was having fits writing the lyrics.

The Edge played piano on this as well as guitar. In concert, he played the song on the piano with his guitar in his lap. For his guitar solo, he would get up and go to the front of the stage as the crowd cheered wildly.

This was the first U2 video to get heavy airplay on MTV, and it was by far their most ambitious video to that point. It was directed by Meiert Avis, who worked on U2’s previous videos, including “Gloria” and “I Will Follow.” They planned to shoot the video in Sweden, but when the mountains and snow they hoped for didn’t materialize, they tried Norway. They got the majestic mountains and tight shots of the band performing the song, which was more than adequate for MTV in 1983.

We also see what is supposed to be the band riding horses, which were actually four teenaged girls covered in winter clothes. The guys in U2 weren’t experienced riders, and since they were in the middle of a tour during the shoot, it wasn’t worth the risk.

The themes of understanding in a time of global unrest were a focal point for the album War, whose title was inspired by the various worldwide conflicts of 1982.

The line “Under a blood red sky” was used as the title for a video and live album U2 released in 1983. The video was recorded at Red Rocks, Colorado, June 5, 1982. The album contains performances from that show as well as two others.

Bono considers this a love song. While it is about war, it deals with “The struggle for love.”

Bono wrote this shortly after he married his childhood sweetheart, Ali.

This song was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, which is where U2 recorded their first three albums. The studio had a stone stairway where Larry Mullen played his drums for this track.

This is commonly played at bars every New Year’s Day for lack of something more appropriate.

This is a popular song for other artists to sample or cover. With It Guys used the piano line as a sample in the song “Let The Music Take Control,” Manchester rappers Kiss AMC sampled the intro for their song “A Bit Of U2,” the group Dynamic Base used the sample on their “Africa” single and Bacon Popper did the same on “Free.” Hyper Logic also used a sample in “Only Me.” >>

Producer Steve Lillywhite remembers mixing this song in ten minutes while Bono cranked out “40” at the last minute while another band was waiting outside of the studio for their turn.

New Year’s Day

Yeah!

All is quiet on New Year’s Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you, be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered, black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers says, says

Say it’s true, it’s true
We can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one

I, I will begin again
I, I will begin again

Oh, maybe the time is right
Oh, maybe tonight

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

And so we are told this is the Golden Age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you, be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day