"Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" - U2

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Track Listing:

Included on DVD:
Sometimes You Can’t Make It (Live from HQ, November 16, 2004) (Video) (5:15)
Vertigo (Video) (3:11)

Background Information

“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” was originally conceived as a song called “Tough,” written by Bono as a tribute to his father, Bob Hewson, who died in 2001. Bono sang an early version of the song at his father’s funeral. During the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sessions, the song was recorded with Chris Thomas as producer, but later both Steve Lillywhite and Nellee Hooper would provide additional production input. The song was released as the second single from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in most areas of the world, except for North America where “All Because of You” was the second single. In Europe, the UK and Australia, the single for “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” was released on February 14, 2005. In Canada, where “All Because of You” had just been released in early February, the release of “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” was on March 22.

The single version of “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” is labelled the “96 BPM Radio Edit.” The album version of the song (5:05) was increased in speed slightly and then edited to make this shorter version (4:51). Additional tracks on the single included “Fast Cars (Jacknife Lee Mix)” (which had also been included on the Canadian release of “All Because of You” that same month); two new mixes of “Vertigo,” the “Redanka Power Mix” and the “Trent Reznor Remix” (the latter only appearing on CD in Japan); and “Ave Maria (Jacknife Lee Mix).” This final track, a duet between Bono and Luciano Pavarotti, was recorded live at a Pavarotti and Friends concert in Modena, Italy in May of 2003, with additional instrumentation and other flourishes added by Jacknife Lee in post-production.

There was also a DVD single released, featuring a live video of “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” performed at Hanover Quay Studios in Dublin on November 16, 2004. The DVD also included the Alex Courtes and Martin Fougerol-directed video for “Vertigo” and audio-only versions of “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” and “Vertigo (Trent Reznor Remix).” Not finished in time for inclusion on the DVD was the official promo video for “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own,” which was directed by Phil Joanou and produced by Ned O’Hanlon. The video was filmed in Ballymun, on Sheriff and Grafton Streets in Dublin, and at the Gaiety Theatre. Two completed versions were released, one of which is entirely in black-and-white featuring a single take of Bono walking the streets of Dublin singing “Sometimes.” This version was included on the U218 Videos collection. The second version uses footage from the single-take video interspersed with colour footage of the band performing and of Bono in a private residence. In this second version we see Bono walking into the Gaiety Theatre, and when he joins the band on stage the white curtain behind them raises and we see the beauty of the theatre behind them. This version was included on the “City of Blinding Lights” DVD single.

“Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” made its live debut during U2’s promotional tour leading up to the release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It was also performed at every show on The Vertigo Tour in 2005 and 2006, but has not been performed since that time. Live performances of “Sometimes” have been released on the “Live from Under the Brooklyn Bridge” EP on iTunes (New York, November 22, 2004), on the deluxe download of U218 Singles and the bonus DVD accompanying the physical release (Milan, Italy, July 21, 2005); and on the Vertigo 2005: Live from Chicago video (Chicago, IL, May 9, 2005).

The album version of “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” was featured on the U218 Singles compilation. An early “Alternative Version” of the song, featuring different lyrics and without the falsetto chorus, was included on the Rare and Unreleased album included in The Complete U2 iTunes download, as well as on the fan club CD Medium, Rare & Remastered. Radio promo CDs were also issued, containing three different edits of the song: 96 BPM (also on the commercial single and running 4:51), 99 BPM (4:42) and 103 BPM (4:30).

As part of the promotion for this single, a cardboard wallet was made available by mail to residents of the UK who had registered online. These were sent out by Island Records UK and were not available in other regions. Shipped flat, they could be folded into a box which would hold the two CDs and the DVD released in the UK. The front, back and spine of the wallet featured artwork similar to that found on the singles themselves.

Liner Notes

Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own (96 BPM Radio Edit):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono. Produced by Chris Thomas. Additional production by Steve Lillywhite and Nellee Hooper. Recorded by Carl Glanville. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Mixed by Nellee Hooper. Mix engineering by Simon Gogerly and Greg Collins. Programming by Fabien Waltmann. Additional mix engineering by Simon Osbourne. Assistant mix engineering by Ian Rossiter. Keyboards and Additional vocal by The Edge.

Fast Cars (Jacknife Lee Mix):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono with The Edge. Produced by Steve Lillywhite. Recorded by Carl Glanville. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Keyboards by Jacknife Lee. Additional production and Mix by Jacknife Lee.

Vertigo (Redanka Power Mix):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono with the Edge. Remix and additional production by Andy “Redanka” Holt. Engineered by Andy “Redanka” Holt @ The Dry Den, Tamworth, UK. Many thanks to Mick Park, Pete Tong, and Damien Wilson.

Ave Maria (Jacknife Lee Mix):
Performed by Bono and Luciano Pavarotti at Pararotti & Friends, Modena, May 2003. Music by Franz Schubert. Arrangement by Giancarlo Chiaramello. English lyrics by Bono. Produced and remixed by Jacknife Lee. Atmospherics by Jacknife Lee. Luciano Pavarotti appears courtesy of Decca Music Group.

Vertigo (Trent Reznor Remix):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono with The Edge. Remixed by Trent Reznor. Mix engineered by James Brown. Programming by Keith Hillebrandt. Additional engineering by Leo Herrera. Assisted by Brent Bachemin and Dustin Mosley.

Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own (Live from HQ, 16th November 2004 – Video):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono. Video produced by Ned O’Hanlon. Video directed by Brian McCue. Video editing by Brian McCue. A Solo Too production.

Vertigo (Video): Directed by Alex & Martin. Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Produced by Steve Lillywhite. Recorded by Carl Glanville. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Mixed by Steve Lillywhite and Carl Glanville. Backing vocals by The Edge. Synthesizers by Jacknife Lee.

Artwork

Photography by Andrew MacPherson. Designed by FourFiveOne Creative.

Recognition and Awards

Nominated and Win, Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group (Grammy Awards, 2006)
Nominated and Win, Song of the Year (Grammy Awards, 2006)

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