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December 7th, 2022
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U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2019
· Bono's Madrid setlist, 28/11/22
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U2's 'One' voted greatest song ever

Posted on Wednesday, November 19 @ 01:43:07 CET by Macphisto

(IOL.ie) -- U2’s bittersweet meditation on love, One, was today named the greatest song ever recorded.

Music experts placed the tune, which had only a brief and unremarkable spell in the charts, above high ranking efforts by Elvis and The Beatles.

It topped the list in a special edition of respected music magazine Q honouring the 1001 Best Songs Ever.

U2 guitarist The Edge said: “When we named it, I always knew it would be number one at something.”

It is among eight songs by the band which have made it into the list, although One is the only track by the quartet to have entered the top 100.

The song was recorded at the tail end of 1990 roughly halfway through the band’s – so far – quarter century career, as they tried to reinvent themselves with the Achtung Baby album.

The band, yearning to leave behind the earnest flag-waving of old had headed to the Berlin studios where David Bowie recorded Heroes.

“We all went out into the big recording room – a huge, eerie ballroom full of ghosts of the war – and everything fell into place,” The Edge told the Q special.

“Bono’s melodies and phrases were flowing and by the end of that day we basically had everything, the whole form of the song.”

One marked a new intimacy in the group’s lyrics and The Edge said there are two conflicting ideas at work.

One one level there is the “vitriolic” line “We hurt each other, then we do it again”. On the other there is the line “We get to carry each other”.

The Edge, real name Dave Evans, said: “‘Get to’ is the key – it’s like our privilege to carry one another.”

The song – which peaked at number seven in the chart and managed just six weeks in the top 75 – is a favourite at weddings and was recorded to dramatic effect by the late Johnny Cash.

Q’s writers and a selection of well-known musicians cast their votes for the list of great songs.

Runner-up was Aretha Franklin’s I Say A Little Prayer written by the renowned songwriting partnership Bacharach and David.

Nirvana came third with Smells Like Teen Spirit, the rock anthem which briefly made them possibly the world’s biggest band.

The Beatles epic production A Day In The Life – a segue of a Lennon tune connected to a McCartney track with the aid of producer George Martin’s euphoric string arrangement.

The Fab Four have seven other tracks in the top 1001 including Something, In My Life and Paperback Writer.

Solo Lennon scores eight songs in the list with songs like Mother, Imagine and Working Class Hero, matching the figure for his output with the band.

McCartney on the other hand is listed just once for his post-Beatles efforts with Jet by Wings at number 392.

Radiohead have the highest number of entries in the list with nine songs – the highest Creep at number seven.

Editor in chief of the special edition – published tomorrow – Paul Trynka said of the winner: “I think people voted for this because it’s a classic that still feels fresh.

“It’s a great tune but despite being over ten years old we haven’t had time to get bored of it. It’s inspirational, it makes people feel good, but it also feels profound – all the more so when you hear Johnny Cash’s recent cover version.

“Our writers and experts weren’t asked to name the most historic songs of all time – rather it was the songs they enjoy hearing; songs you can use every day, whether that be on your Walkman or your brand new iPod.”

Top ten of Q’s 1001 Best Songs Ever:
1. One – U2
2. I Say A Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin
3. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
4. A Day In The Life – The Beatles
5. In The Ghetto – Elvis Presley
6. My Name Is – Eminem
7. Creep – Radiohead
8. Independent Women Part 1 – Destiny’s Child
9. Live Forever – Oasis
10. River Deep Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner

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