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Old 01-15-2004, 06:31 PM   #1
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(01-15-2004) And Finally The Best Song Ever! -- Q *

And Finally The Best Song Ever!

British music magazine Q recently released its list of the 1,001 best songs ever. U2 tied with The Beatles for band with most songs on the list, eight, including list-topper "One."

How U2 faired on the list:
#875, "Best U2 Song for Dancing"
"The Fly"
What it Does: Bono's description of this as "The sound of four men chopping down 'The Joshua Tree' is spot on. It's a tale of man's insignificance in the grand scheme of things driven by a storm of heavily percussive industrial rock. Bono sounds filthy, Edge insectoid. "Fly" ness incarnate.

#747, "Best When You're High on Life and Stuff"
"Beautiful Day"
What it Does: An all-time great U2 opening line, "The heart is a bloom, shoots up through the stony ground," then Bono hymns a wide-eyed paean to the joy and beauty in the smallest moments. Worthy of greater things than soundtracking Thierry Henry goals.

#675, "Best When Someone is Giving You Fever"
"Desire"
What it Does: Steps brazenly in between you and your dancing partner and starts dancing with them, just to see what you'll do about it. One of U2's most rocking tracks, "Desire" spring from their awakening to the erotic power of Bo Diddly rhythm while traveling in the US.

#459, "Best Up on the Rooftops"
"Where the Streets Have no Name"
What it Does: Builds from atmospheric, ambient synths into a motor-driven, chugging guitar frenzy while Bono, as ever, attempts to articulate every human desire known to man, and roll the world into a question while he's about it. Elsewhere, U2's musical ambition can be a double-edged sword; here, it lifts them to the stars.

#444, "Helena Christensen's Top Five Jet-Setting Songs"
"Night and Day"
Bono's voice is so hypnotic. The first time I heard this song I was working on Morocco shooting with Peter Lindbergh in the middle of a desert, and we played this song constantly for three days, blasting into the emptiness--it was perfect!

#419, "Top 10 Ringtones"
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
With its brash drums, staccato guitars and a scything violin, U2s thoughtful statement about the Troubles has a pretty good hook, but who in God's name has this on their mobile phone? Gerry Adams?

#148, "Best Consolation Amid Confusion"
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
What it Does: Sits down beside you at a Dublin bar, buys you a pint of Guinness and pours its heart out all over you. At the end of the night you realize you haven't mentioned football once and allow yourself a wry smile.

#1, "One"
The Edge relates how U2's intimate triumph was snatched from the jaws of experimental disaster.

"It was autumn 1990. We were in Berlin, at Hansa Studios where Bowie recorded 'Heroes,' trying to get traction with some new songs. It wasn't going well. Adam and Larry's rather jaundiced view of Bono's and my songwriting ability was becoming more and more evident as our various experiments went nowhere. We were listening to a lot of industrial music, and the sounds we were making were quite intense.

"In the midst of all this I go off into another room to put together some ideas for 'The Fly.' I came back with two, neither of which worked where they were meant to, but on Daniel Lanois's suggestion we put them together and Bono was really taken with it. So we all went out into the big recording room--a huge, eerie ballroom full of ghosts of the war--and everything fell into place. Bono's melodies and phrases were following, and by the end of the day we basically had everything, the whole form of the song.

"Everyone recognized it was a crucial moment in the development of what became 'Achtung Baby'--ironically it went in a totally different direction from everything we'd been working on. But everyone recognized it was a special piece. It was like we'd caught a glimpse of what the song could be. Then it was about capturing its essence, but also trying to keep our hands off it. Those songs that seem to arrive perfectly formed--you don't want to mess with them too much.

"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. The original lyric was 'we have to carry each other' and it was never quite right--it was too fuckin' obvious and platitudinous. But 'get to'…it's like our privilege to carry one another. It puts everything in a different perspective, introduces that idea of grace.

"Still, it blows me away when it's played at weddings. I wouldn't have played it at any wedding of mine. But I suppose it's because, despite all the other stuff in there, the power of 'we get to carry each other' overwhelms everything. And the honesty of it helps--the bare-knuckle telling-it-like-it-is-ness.

"I also think it opened up new horizons for U2. It's not a song we would ever try to rewrite. We wouldn't want to go there again. But the small scale of it, the intimacy, has been revisited for various other records and songs. The restraint was something new--we learned how holding back can be even more powerful than letting go.

"The first time I heard Johnny Cash's version I was in the studio. I am a huge Johnny Cash fan--the first time I heard 'Hurt' I nearly fell over--but 'One' took me by surprise. It was such a Johnny interpretation, so different. But that's what's so great about it--it really made it his. Someone said--maybe it was Q--that his voice was the sound of the Grand Canyon if it could sing. Those words, with that melody, with that voice: it was a lot to take in.

"But it's always great to have a song other artists think is worth covering, and over the years people have said a lot of nice things about 'One.' I remember leaving a gig in San Francisco in a van, stuck between Liam Gallagher and [producer] Hal Wilner. We were talking about songs and Noel, who was also there, was saying how 'One' was one of Oasis's favorite songs. Suddenly, as he was speaking, it came on the radio. It was one of those strange, somewhat magical moments. I even think we all sang along…just to embarrass ourselves even further. It was our 'Almost Famous' moment.

"Well done 'One.' When we named it, I always knew if would be Number 1 at something."

The rest of the top 10 is rounded out by:
10. "River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner
9. "Live Forever" by Oasis
8. "Independent Women Part 1" by Destiny's Child
7. "Creep" by Radiohead
6. "My Name Is" by Eminem
5. "In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley
4. "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles
3. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana
2. "I Say a Little Prayer" by Aretha Franklin

The Q special edition featuring The 1,001 Best Songs Ever is now on newsstands.
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Old 01-17-2004, 03:29 PM   #2
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"In the Ghetto" at number 5? As Elvis' BEST song??

Great comment and category for "Desire"
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Old 01-17-2004, 04:48 PM   #3
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Missing "With or Without You" and what the HECK is "Night and Day" doing on there??

Buuuuut, I'm not complaining. "One" is a GREAT song and I'm REALLY happy to see it being acknowledged as so


EDIT: I still don't see how Destiny's Child broke the Top 10 Oh well, ce'la vie (sp?)...
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Old 01-17-2004, 05:42 PM   #4
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i actually think in the ghetto IS elvis' best song
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Old 01-18-2004, 12:58 AM   #5
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i dont even think one is U2's best song....

but hey, pretty cool anyway
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Old 01-18-2004, 01:20 AM   #6
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one is humanity's theme song... IMHO
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Old 01-18-2004, 03:44 AM   #7
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DESTINY'S CHILD at no 8??!?
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Old 01-18-2004, 05:04 AM   #8
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"My name is" is more like one of the most annoying songs ever, in my opinion.
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Old 03-23-2004, 05:03 PM   #9
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I have to admit everytime I hear how the song One got the band back on track I am forever grateful to it, for that alone.. just imagine if they hadn't got it together and had split up all those wonderful other songs we would have missed out on
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