Best Non-Album Track Survivor - Intro, Rules, & Discussion

The friendliest place on the web for anyone that follows U2.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


ONE love, blood, life
Sep 7, 2004
Kettering, Ohio
Welcome to the U2 Best Non-Album Track Survivor!

I've been meaning to do this for a while, and now seems like as good a time as any, with it being the holidays and there being no U2 news on the horizon.

Best U2 Song survivors have become boring because everyone knows what the final few contenders will be before the thing even starts, but I think this will be much more interesting, as we will only be looking at non-album tracks.

First off, I should define exactly what a non-album track is for the purposes of this competition: It is any track that did not appear on a proper U2 album(and we will consider Passengers to be a proper U2 album, so those tracks will not be competing) but that were officially released or that we have at least one complete version of. This includes:

1. B-Sides(traditional b-sides, newer albums' 'bonus tracks', 'Unreleased & Rare' stuff, and later-finished b-sides from the re-issues)
2. A-Sides from standalone singles(i.e. Another Day, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, A Celebration, HMTMKMKM, Ordinary Love, Invisible)
3. Tracks that were never released but that we have more-or-less finished leaked studio versions of(i.e. Be There, Wild Irish Rose, Mercy, a whole handful of pre-Boy demos)
4. MDH tracks(TGBHF, Stateless)
5. Tracks that were included on previous best-ofs(i.e., Sweetest Thing, Electrical Storm, THTBA, WITS)
6. Songs that were preformed either at a tour gig or for a television broadcast, but that never had studio releases(i.e. Womanfish, She's A Mystery To Me, We Love You, North Star, Glastonbury, Return Of The Stingray Guitar, some pre-Boy stuff)

We will exclude songs that were only ever heard in soundcheck or beach clips, and the Salome outtakes material(because it's just too subjective deciding what's 'finished' and what's not from those recordings). Additionally, we will also exclude covers - this survivor will be for original material only.

It is important to note that some of these tracks have multiple versions. With one exception, each song will only have one instance competing - so for example, Electrical Storm gets one entry in the competition, not two. Same for Slow Dancing, Holy Joe, I'm Not Your Baby, Sweetest Thing, Winter, etc. The one exception is Fast Cars/Xanax & Wine, which I feel are different enough in structure and sound to warrant separate entries.

It is important to note that you will be encouraged to consider each song on its merits as a song and not on any particular version or recording of it. This means you can vote for Party Girl or 11 O'Clock Tick Tock based on a live version and not steer away from it because the studio version might be sub-par to you, for example, or that you can vote for Lady With The Spinning Head regardless of which version you prefer, or that you can vote Sweetest Thing regardless of whether you prefer the single version or the original version. That kind of thing.

With all this in consideration, we have a list of 94 tracks. Before you groan about how long it would take to get through 94 tracks, worry not, we're going to eliminate a lot of them quickly. We won't even get to a 'traditional' survivor until there's only 15 tracks left. I don't want this to drag on and on, as history shows participation trails off the longer these things go on. So I've come up with a competition structure that I think can play out in about a month.

1. The 94 tracks will be divided into four separate 'eras' - 1979-1983, 1984-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-present. Yes, there was almost as much material in the five years between 84 and 89 as there has been in the 16 years between 2000 and now. I will post a full spoiler-tagged list of the songs in the competition by era at the bottom of this post.

We will run a three-day traditional, vote-for-your-LEAST-favorite, survivor just for these eras themselves(not on the individual tracks), in order to determine the forum's order of preference of the eras in terms of non-album material. We will use this order of preference to weight how many tracks from each era advance.

2. We will run four polls, one for each era, each lasting 2 days, in which users will vote for their top 10 FAVORITE tracks from that era. Depending on the weighting established in #1, a certain number of tracks will advance for each era.

Most Popular Era = 10 tracks advance
Second Most Popular Era = 7 tracks advance
Third Most Popular Era = 7 tracks advance
Least Popular Era = 6 tracks advance

3. Once those four polls are done, we will have a total of 30 tracks that will have advanced, and they will all be put into one 2-day poll where everyone will vote for their top 15 FAVORITE tracks out of the 30, and the top 15 overall vote-getters will advance.

4. At this point, we will have a final 15, and a traditional, vote-for-your-LEAST-favorite, one-elimination-a-day survivor will commence, and take two weeks to finish.

If participation is high enough, I might consider starting the 'traditional' survivor at the final 30 instead of the final 15, but that would take longer, and people would really have to be in favor of it. It probably won't happen, but I'm leaving the possibility open.

I think this structure will prevent the whole thing from going on for too long, and protect against superior tracks from more preferred eras being left behind while other tracks from less popular eras advance, and also against the tedium of having to eliminate a fair number of tracks that not-so-many-people are that familiar with one-by-one. I'm open to changing the distribution of the weighting if 10-7-7-6 isn't to peoples' liking. On the whole though, I'm pretty happy with the format laid out here.

Each poll will contain YT links for all unreleased, demo, and live-only material so that people can familiarize themselves/jog their memory. I'll probably include links to the 'finished later' b-sides from the re-issues as well as not everybody is familiar with all of them.

Any questions/comments/suggestions can be posted here, but I'm looking to start this on Monday(I want this thread to have a couple days and I don't want to start on a weekend). I hope you will all participate.

Full list of eras and songs:
The Dream Is Over
Lost On A Silent Planet
Alone In The Light
Jack In The Box
False Prophet
Inside Out
Pete The Chop
Father Is An Elephant
11 O'Clock Tick Tock
Another Day
Things To Make And Do
Speed Of Life
Saturday Night
Cartoon World
Street Mission
The Fool
Carry Me Home
A Celebration
Party Girl
Endless Deep
Treasure(Whatever Happened To Pete The Chop)
Be There
Angels To Tied To The Ground

Boomerang I
Boomerang II
Love Comes Tumbling
The Three Sunrises
Bass Trap
Sixty Seconds In Kingdom Come
Disappearing Act
Yoshimi Blossom
Silver And Gold
Sweetest Thing
Race Against Time
Spanish Eyes
Deep In The Heart
Luminous Times
Walk To The Water
Beautiful Ghost
Wave Of Sorrow
Desert Of Our Love
Rise Up
Drunk Chicken
She's A Mystery To Me
Hallelujah Here She Comes
A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel
Wild Irish Rose

Alex Descends
Lady With The Spinning Head
Where Did It All Go Wrong
Blow Your House Down
Oh Berlin
Heaven And Hell
Near The Island
Down All The Days
Slow Dancing
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
Viva Davidoff
Holy Joe
North And South Of The River
I'm Not Your Baby
Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad

The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Summer Rain
Big Girls Are Best
We Love You
Electrical Storm
The Hands That Built America
Are You Gonna Wait Forever
Love You Like Mad
Flower Child
Native Son
Xanax And Wine
Fast Cars
Window In The Skies
North Star
Return Of The Stingray Guitar
Ordinary Love
The Crystal Ballroom
Lucifer's Hands
This looks great! As a former manager of Survivors and Rate the Song series, I approve, and I appreciate the thought that you've put into the rules for this iteration.

Sent from my iPhone using U2 Interference
There's enough great material in there to make at least 1 U2 masterpiece album.

I'm definitely keen to do this.
There's enough great material in that list to make at least one U2 masterpiece album.

Definitely keen to do this.
This should be fun. Hope we have strong enough participation. :up:
Ok, I was going to post the first poll earlier today, but I've had a change of heart about the structure of this. I was trying to cut down on the tedium of single-elimination and streamline the whole thing, but I feel I went a little too far, in that 2/3 of the competing tracks would be eliminated almost right off the bat. So I've made an adjustment. The competition will still only last a month, and single-elimination still will not start until the final 15(or the final 30 if participation is high enough and people want it).

The change is that I'm going to do away with the weighting, have more tracks advance from the initial rounds, and add an additional semi round before the final 30.

1. 1979-1983 Preliminary Quarterfinal - A pool of 26 tracks. You will vote for your top 15 favorites, and top 15 overall vote-getters will advance.

2. 1984-1989 Preliminary Quarterfinal - A pool of 25 tracks. Same deal.

3. 2000-Present Preliminary Quarterfinal - A pool of 27 tracks. Same deal.

4. 1990-1999 Preliminary Quarterfinal - A pool of 16 tracks. You will vote for your ONE LEAST FAVORITE to get it down to 15.(Had to do this one different because of fewer tracks)

5. 1979-1983/1984-1989 Preliminary Semifinal - The top 15 from 79-83 and 84-89 will advance into a 30-song poll where you will again vote for your top 15, and top 15 overall will advance.

6. 1990-1999/2000-Present Preliminary Semifinal - The top 15 from 90-99 and 00-Present will advance into another 30-song poll, same deal.

7. 1979-Present Preliminary Final - The top 15 from #5 and #6 respectively will advance into a final 30-song draw, where you will, for the last time, vote for your top 15, and the top 15 overall will advance.

8. The final 15 tracks will compete in a traditional, vote-for-your-least-favorite, one-elimination-a-day survivor.

Sorry for switching the format up on you at the last minute before starting, but it was gnawing at me that too many tracks would disappear too quickly.

I will post the first poll within the hour.
Just a tentative schedule for the remainder of the competition:

Today: 2000-Present Preliminary Quarterfinal

Tuesday, December 20: 1979-1989 Preliminary Semifinal

Thursday, December 22: 1990-Present Preliminary Semifinal

The 1990-Present Preliminary Semifinal will close on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, and then I will skip Christmas Day.

Monday, December 26: 1979-Present Preliminary Final

Wednesday, December 28-January 11: Traditional one-elimination-a-day survivor going through the final 15 contenders, new poll every day except for New Year's Eve.

Now, like I said at the outset of the competition, I am open to doing the traditional survivor with the final 30 as opposed to final 15, meaning start it on December 26 in lieu of a Preliminary Final. But people need to want it.

I will probably start a poll to decide this while the semifinals are going on. But starting the traditional survivor at 30 would need to win that poll by probably at least five votes or something, because we're talking about the competition going to the end of January instead of just the end of the first week of January, and I'd need to know people are going to stick around and participate for that.
Personally I think I would prefer elimination from 30 rather than 15.

My gut instinct is also that participation will pick up through January rather than drop off, as the holiday period is always quiet around here. But I might be wrong.
Alright, we're going to have to adjust the schedule a bit.

The plan had been skip Christmas Day and start again on Monday the 26th.

The thing is, the 1990-Present Preliminary Semifinal has produced another tie. I don't want the competition to be delayed longer than it has to be because of it.

So I'm going to start the tiebreaker now. It will be open for two days, until the evening of Monday the 26th, so most of you will still have a full day after Christmas to vote if you weren't able to before that. Then, as the option to start at 30 appears to be the choice, I will start the traditional survivor on Tuesday the 27th(not Monday evening because these polls have been starting later and later in the day and I want to establish an earlier daily start time again).
It's been Christmas day for nearly 12 hours here in Oz, I'm getting antsy bring on the tiebreaker :wink:

Great job with these by the way
Ok, the 1999-Present Preliminary Semifinal Tiebreaker Round has concluded, with Levitate becoming the final track to be eliminated from the final pool, and North And South Of The River and Summer Rain becoming the final two tracks to advance to said final pool.

At this point, we have whittled the original 94-song pool down to the final 30, the cream of the crop, the creme de la creme, and pursuant to your collective wishes, the 30-song traditional survivor will commence tomorrow.

Before that though, I thought it might be interesting to look at some statistics regarding how things shook out in terms of era representation. I spoke earlier of "natural weighting" happening in the semifinals in lieu of an actual weighting system, and it seems like that bore out, as 1984-1989 was massively favored over 1979-1983 in that semifinal, whereas 1990-1999 and 2000-Present pretty much broke even. Here's the break down of how many songs are representing each era in the final 30-song pool:



11 O'Clock Tick Tock
A Celebration
Party Girl



Love Comes Tumbling
The Three Sunrises
Bass Trap
Disappearing Act
Luminous Times(Hold On To Love)
Walk To The Water
Spanish Eyes
Silver And Gold
Sweetest Thing
Hallelujah(Here She Comes)
A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel
She's A Mystery To Me



Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk/Korova I
Lady With The Spinning Head
Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me
Holy Joe
North And South Of The River
Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad



The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Summer Rain
Electrical Storm
Fast Cars
The Crystal Ballroom

Also interesting might be looking at the breakdown by type of non-album track:

Traditional B-Sides - 18(Party Girl, Love Comes Tumbling, The Three Sunrises, Bass Trap, Luminous Times(Hold On To Love), Walk To The Water, Spanish Eyes, Silver And Gold, Sweetest Thing, Hallelujah(Here She Comes), A Room At The Heartbreak Hotel, Alex Descends Into Hell For A Bottle Of Milk/Korova I, Lady With The Spinning Head, Salome, Holy Joe, North And South of The River, Two Shots Of Happy One Shot Of Sad, Summer Rain)

A-Sides - 5(11 O'Clock Tick Tock, A Celebration, HMTMKMKM, Electrical Storm, Invisible)

Re-Issue B-Sides - 1(Disappearing Act)

Bonus Tracks - 2(Fast Cars, The Crystal Ballroom)

MDH - 2(TGBHF, Stateless)

Unreleased - 2(She's A Mystery To Me, Mercy)

Every standalone A-Side save for Another Day and Ordinary Love has made the final 30.

Disappearing Act is the lone re-issue b-side to make it.

Also says something that two tracks the band has never deigned to release officially have made the final 30.
I really never expected Disappearing Act, Heartbreak Hotel, or Alex Descends Into Hell to make it this far (delighted about Alex, not about the other two). Most of the others I'd have predicted before the tournament.

Also, Womanfish should be re-inserted into proceedings halfway through the traditional Survivor as everybody's favourite drunk staggering in late.
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
Summer Rain
Electrical Storm

I bet somewhere in the vault there are some tunes from 99-02 that would make a brilliant album alongside these.

very surprised to see Disappearing Act go through, but can't complain, I'm sure others feel the same way about Alex Descends :lol:
When it comes to b-sides anything is game. I love Salome followed by Deep in the Heart (did not make the cut)

The Survivor contest is such a healthy distraction right now.

Sent from my iPhone using U2 Interference
Top Bottom