"Magnificent" - U2

Single

Track Listing:

Background Information

“Magnificent” was the second single released off of U2’s No Line on the Horizon album. It was originally developed under the working title “French Disco” during the band’s recording sessions in Fez, Morocco in June of 2007. With the release of “Magnificent” as a single, U2’s record company broke with its traditional release structure and did not issue a physical version of the single in Canada, Japan or Australia, among other countries that traditionally would receive such a release. In the UK, the only physical release was a 7-inch single, although there is evidence that a CD single had been planned but cancelled at the last minute. It is suspected that confusion surrounding the lack of a physical single lead to a disappointing chart position in the UK for “Magnificent” as people waited for a CD version instead of purchasing the downloads. In another surprising move, “Magnificent” was released in the US as a CD single—the first physical U2 single released in the US since the “Vertigo“ 7-inch in 2004, and the first U2 CD-single in the US since “If God Will Send His Angels“ in 1997.

“Magnificent” was first released on May 2, 2009 in Ireland in the form of three different digital singles via iTunes. These same digital releases were made available in the UK on May 4. On that same day, the 7-inch vinyl was released in the UK, and CD singles were released in Europe. On May 19, a digital release, featuring five songs, was made available in Canada and the USA. Finally, on June 9, the US CD single was released. Rather than the album version, these various single formats included either “Magnificent (Edit)” or “Magnificent (UK Edit).” The first line in the “Edit” version is simply “Magnificent,” whereas the “UK Edit” begins with “Oh, oh Magnificent.” Both versions cut the intro of the song.

Filling out the single was a series of remixes of “Magnificent,” including multiple versions from Fred Falke, Dave Audé, Adam K and Soha, Pete Tong, and Redanka. Depending on the format, other tracks included “Get On Your Boots (Justice Remix),” and two live tracks taken from the March, 2009 concert at the Somerville Theatre in Boston: “Breathe” and “Vertigo.”

A video for “Magnificent” was released, directed by Alex Courtes, who had also worked on the video for “Get On Your Boots.” The clip premiered online at Yahoo! Music on May 6, 2009. Filmed in Fez, Morocco, the video opens with the buildings in the city being covered by large white cloth, with shots of people dancing, and the band performing in a riad. As the song progresses, the sheets are pulled from the buildings and the people in the streets stare upwards. The sheets can be seen blowing away over the Fez skyline. A second video, shot at U2’s performance at the Somerville Theatre in Boston, MA in March, 2009, was released for promotion in some areas. The audio is taken from the band’s actual concert performance. This version of the video was directed by Tom Krueger and edited by Duncan Shepherd at 89 Edit.

“Magnificent” was first performed live during the No Line on the Horizon promotional tour. It was also played on the first night of The U2360° Tour, and on every night thereafter until the fourth leg of the tour, at which point it was occasionally dropped from the set. In all, it was played at 96 out of the 110 shows on the tour. On the Innocence and Experience tour which followed, “Magnificent” was played on only one night, and was the only song from No Line on the Horizon which was performed except some snippets of “Moment of Surrender”.

Live performances of the song have been released on various recordings. The March 2009 performance at the Somerville Theatre in Boston, MA appears on some versions of the “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight“ single. The October 2009 performance in New York City at Madison Square Garden was released on the multi-artist 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts album. Another October 2009 performance, this one at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, was released on the U2360° at the Rose Bowl home video release, as well as on a 4-track CD sampler of the same show released in the US. In 2011, members of the U2.com fan club were allowed to vote on 46 tracks taken from the U2360° Tour for possible inclusion on the double live album U22. As the title suggests, only 22 of these songs made the final cut. A live performance of “Magnificent” recorded in Zurich on September 11, 2010 was among the 46 eligible tracks, and it received enough votes to be included on U22.

In addition to the versions listed above, there were two Internet-only releases of “Magnificent:” the “Dave Audé Radio Edit“ and the “RAC Mix.” The Dave Audé edit was first found on Eventvibe.com, but has since been removed. It is an edited version of the longer “Dave Audé Club Remix” found on some commercial formats of the single. RAC (“Remix Artist Collective”) released their mix of “Magnificent” on the “RAC Volume 1.5“ digital EP. Both of these remixes are sanctioned by the band, but released online by the DJs themselves rather than through more traditional channels. A slightly altered form of the “Wonderland Dub Remix,” titled “Tong and Rogers Wonderland Dub Remix,” was released on the Pete Tong Presents Wonderland Vol. 2 compilation.

The single and album versions of “Magnificent” have not appeared on any U2 compilations to date. However, “Magnificent (Falke Radio Mix)”—an edit of the longer “Fred Falke Full Club Mix,” made its debut on the fan club remix album Artificial Horizon. That same compilation also included one of the B-side tracks from the “Magnificent” single, “Get On Your Boots (Justice Remix).”

Liner Notes

Magnificent (UK Edit):
Music by U2, Brian Eno, and Danny Lanois. Lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Produced by Brian Eno and Danny Lanois. Additional production by Steve Lillywhite. Engineered by Richard Rainey. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Additional engineering by Carl Glanville, Declan Gaffney and Dave Emery. Mixed by Cenzo Townshend. Assisted by Neil Comber. Additional keyboards by Terry Lawless, Bono and will.i.am.

Magnificent (Edit):
Music by U2, Brian Eno, and Danny Lanois. Lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Produced by Brian Eno and Danny Lanois. Additional production by Steve Lillywhite. Engineered by Richard Rainey. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Additional engineering by Carl Glanville, Declan Gaffney and Dave Emery. Mixed by Cenzo Townshend. Assisted by Neil Comber. Additional keyboards by Terry Lawless, Bono and will.i.am.

Breathe (Live from Somerville Theatre, Boston):
Recorded in March 2009 by Jay Vicari and Declan Gaffney. Assisted by Joel Singer. Recorded in Music Mix Mobile Truck. Mixed by Declan Gaffney.

Vertigo (Live from Somerville Theatre, Boston):
Recorded in March 2009 by Jay Vicari and Declan Gaffney. Assisted by Joel Singer. Recorded in Music Mix Mobile Truck. Mixed by Declan Gaffney.

Get on Your Boots (Justice Remix):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono. Remix and additional production by Justice.

Artwork

Cover photography by Deirdre O’Callaghan. Designed by Four5One Creative, Dublin.

Recognition and Awards

  • #8 Irish Single, 2009 Awards (March 2010)

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