"Beautiful Day" - U2

Track Listing:

Background Information

“Beautiful Day” was the first single from the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind. It was released to radio on August 31, 2000, with the commercial single appearing in shops on October 9 throughout most of the world, and October 10 in Canada. There was a 12-inch single released a couple of weeks later in the USA, but there were no commercial release for the CD single in the USA. In fact, there would be no further commercial releases to promote All That You Can’t Leave Behind in the USA until the “7 (Rare and Remixed)” EP, a Target department stores exclusive, in early 2002. “Beautiful Day” was a commercial success, and charted well at radio. It also won three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. “Beautiful Day” first took shape during the All That You Can’t Leave Behind album sessions as a song called “Always.”

In most territories, the single was released in two different CD formats. The first format included the album version of “Beautiful Day” along with “Always” and a second album outtake, “Summer Rain,” as B-sides. (A two-track European CD in a card sleeve, as well as the UK cassette, included only “Summer Rain.”) When All That You Can’t Leave Behind was released in stores, some retailers offered an exclusive one-track CD bundled with the main album. Depending on the retailer, the bonus CD contained either “Always” (Best Buy stores in the USA, for example), or “Summer Rain.”

The second format of the CD single featured live tracks taken from the December 3, 1997 PopMart concert in Mexico City: “Discothèque” (which had previously appeared on the live fan club release Hasta La Vista Baby!) and “If You Wear That Velvet Dress.” A third live track from the same concert,“Last Night On Earth,” was included on the CD single in Australia to increase its value in a market where imports were cheaper to buy than domestic CDs. A Quicktime video of “Last Night on Earth” from the Mexico City concert was also included on some versions of the Australian single.

A video for “Beautiful Day” was filmed at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle International Airport by director Jonas Akerlund. It featured footage of the band members walking around the airport (primarily in Terminal 2F) interspersed with shots of the band performing on carpets on the airport runway while jets take off overhead. This version of the video premiered on MTV and VH1 on September 8, 2000. An alternative edit of the same video was also streamed on U2.com for a short time. A second video, called the “Eze Version,” was directed by Joe Edwards. It features clips of the band recording the album in-studio, mixed with “vacation footage” shot during the band’s recording sessions in the south of France. The Akerlund video was included on The Best of 1990-2000 DVD compilation, along with optional commentary from the director, as well as on the U218 Videos compilation. The “Eze Version” was included on the “History Mix” DVD bundled with The Best of 1990-2000 & B-Sides album, as well as on U218 Videos.

“Beautiful Day” has been a staple of live performances since it was released. It was first performed on the opening night of The Elevation Tour in Fort Lauderdale on March 24, 2001, and has been played at every full U2 concert since that time. It has also been played at a number of promotional appearances, including the Live 8 concert in London in 2005, and the Super Bowl in 2002. During the U2360° Tour, astronauts aboard the International Space Station would often introduce the song from orbit.

“Beautiful Day” has appeared on a number of U2 compilations, including The Best of 1990-2000 and 18 Singles. Remixes of the song have appeared on numerous U2 releases as well, including the “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” and “Walk On” singles, the “7 (Rare and Remixed)” EP, and the Artificial Horizon fan club release. Mixes have also appeared on the multi-artist Creamfields album and on Paul Oakenfold’s Greatest Hits and Remixes. Live recordings have also appeared on multiple releases, including the Best Buy-exclusive “Three Live Tracks from Boston” EP, the Go Home: Live from Slane Castle fan club release, the U2 Live: Vertigo 2005 promotional disc, and the multi-artist collections Radio 1 Live Lounge Volume 4 and The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts. In 2011, members of the U2 Fan Club were given the opportunity to vote on 46 live tracks recorded during The U2360° Tour, with the top 22 songs to be included on a live album, U22. “Beautiful Day” was one of these choices. The song received enough votes, and a recording from Zagreb, Croatia on August 10, 2009 was included on U22. “Summer Rain” was included on The Best of 1990-2000 & B-Sides album, and both “Summer Rain” and “Always” were included on the fan club compilation Medium, Rare & Remastered. The live recording of “Last Night on Earth” used as an exclusive on the Australian single would later see wider release on some versions of the “Elevation” single.

Liner Notes

Beautiful Day (Album Version):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Engineered by Richard Rainey. Mixed by Steve Lillywhite. Additional engineering by Tim Palmer and Stephen Harris. Keyboards / Programming by Brian Eno. Backing vocals by the Edge and Daniel Lanois.

Summer Rain:
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono and the Edge. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Engineered and mixed by Richard Rainey. Assisted by Chris Heaney.

Always:
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Engineered and mixed by Richard Rainey. Assisted by Chris Heaney.

Discotheque (Live):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono and the Edge. Recorded at the Foro Sol Autodromo, Mexico City, December 3, 1997. Popmart Sound Engineer: Joe O’Herlihy. Sound Supervisors: Flood and Howie B. Mixed by Chris Potter at Metropolis Studios, London.

If You Wear That Velvet Dress (Live):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono and the Edge. Recorded at the Foro Sol Autodromo, Mexico City, December 3, 1997. Popmart Sound Engineer: Joe O’Herlihy. Sound Supervisors: Flood and Howie B. Mixed by Chris Potter at Metropolis Studios, London.

Last Night on Earth (Live):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono and the Edge. Recorded at the Foro Sol Autodromo, Mexico City, December 3, 1997. Popmart Sound Engineer: Joe O’Herlihy. Sound Supervisors: Flood and Howie B. Mixed by Chris Potter at Metropolis Studios, London.

Last Night on Earth (Live Video):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono and the Edge. Recorded at Foro Sol Autodromo, Mexico City, December 3, 1997. Directed by David Mallett. Produced by Dave O’Hanlon. Popmart Sound Engineer: Joe O’Herlihy. Sound Supervisors: Flood and Howie B. Mixed by Chris Potter at Metropolis Studios, London.

Mastered by Arnie Acosta at The Mastering Lab, Los Angeles. Audio Post Production Manager: Cheryl Engels at Partial Productions Inc.

Artwork

Photography by Anton Corbijn. Designed at Four 5 One, Dublin.

Recognition and Awards

  • #747 on 1001 Best Songs Ever (Q Magazine, 2003)
  • #345 on 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Rolling Stone, April 2010)
  • #6 Best Single, Critics Picks (Rolling Stone, 2000)
  • #15 on 100 Greatest Songs of the ’00s (VH1, October 2011)
  • Nomination, Video of the Year (MTV Video Music Awards, USA, 2001)
  • #2 Best Single, Readers Pick (Rolling Stone, 2001)

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