"The Best of 1990 - 2000" - U2

Compilation Album

Track Listing:

Bonus Track in Some Regions:

Background Information

News of a follow up “Best Of” compilation reached fans via Universal Records in March 2002, as plans for the new compilation, as well as plans for two singles leaked. In early April there were numerous reports that U2 were in the studio, and although some of that work was for a new album, some of it was also for the two new singles to be included on the compilation.

The format of “The Best of 1990 – 2000” followed that of the previous compilation closely. Like the previous release, two versions were made available, one with just one disc, and one that came with two discs and a bonus DVD. The cover of the release featured an image of a buffalo (relating back to the cover for 1992’s “One” single) surrounded by a silver border with the titles. This was similar in layout to the earlier “The Best of 1980 – 1990” which featured a gold border instead. That set saw the release of the two disc set in one week, and was followed up a week later with the two disc set. For “The Best of 1990 – 2000” both the single disc version and the triple disc version were released on the same day, but retailers were only able to order copies of the triple disc version until such time that either quantities ran out, or the end of the first week of selling the album. However in Canada, the limited edition was released a week in advance of the single disc version, just as had happened with the first release.

Two new songs were produced for the compilation, the first, “Electrical storm” was released as a commercial single to promote the album. The second song “The Hands that Built America” was also due to be released a single, and a cover image was even sent to Amazon when they started taking pre-orders, but at the last minute the single was cancelled, and only promotional singles were issued. Both songs on the alubm were done with producer William Orbit, probably most famous for his work with Madonna and Blur. “Electrical Storm” was set to debut on the radio being played on RTE by Dave Fanning on August 28, however Bono gave his friend Sarah HB (a DJ on BBC Radio One) a demo copy of the song for a wedding present, and on August 25th, a few days before the planned formal reveal of the song, played the demo version on the radio. Orbit recorded most of Bono’s vocals for “Electrical Storm” at the Leonard Hotel in London. “The Hands that Built America” was also used on the soundtrack album “Gangs of New York” and was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Several differences have been noted between the tracks on this compilation vs the versions on the original releases of these songs. “Miss Sarajevo” for instance is not the album version, nor the single version, but is the less known “Radio Edit” previously found only on promotional singles of “Miss Sarajevo.” In “Mysterious Ways” there is an alternate vocal track, at approximately 01:35, where the line “she’s the wave, she turns the tide, she sees the man inside the child” has now been changed to “she’s the wave, she’ll turn the tide, and no question, she knows why”. This was likely mastered from a different vocal track. Two songs are completely new on the one-disc version, “Electrical Storm (William Orbit Mix)” and “The Hands that Built America”. Finally a number of songs have been remastered and reworked with producer Mike Hedges. Among these songs with new versions mixed by Hedges are “Numb”, “Discotheque”, “Staring at the Sun” and “Gone”. “Gone” also features a different lyric track from the original, and the line “What you thought was freedom just was greed” is now replacing “what you thought was freedom is just greed”.

The disc didn’t just include U2 tracks, but also included “Miss Sarajevo” which had previously been released under the Passengers name. Only the two songs that were released as promotional singles prior to the end of 2000 (“Beautiful Day” and “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get out Of”) were included on this release, and it is thought that the other singles from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” will appear if there is ever a third collection covering from 2000 – 2010.

Due to elevated prices on domestic CD releases, an added bonus track was added to the release in Japan to make the domestic release more attractive than the cheaper import versions. For this compilation, “The Fly” was added at the end of the first disc of the set. The single disc of “Best” tracks was released on 5-inch CD, Cassette and 12-inch vinyl. The double disc of “Best” tracks with the bonus DVD, was only released on CD format, and was not issued in 12-inch or cassette. The album charted well, ending up #1 in Canada, #2 in the UK, and #3 in the USA Billboard 200 chart.

Liner Notes

Bono: Vocals and guitar. The Edge: Guitar, keyboards and Vocals. Adam Clayton: Bass guitar. Larry Mullen: Drums and Percussion. Paul McGuinness: Manager, Principle Management Dublin and New York. Album Production Manager: Sheila Roche. Album Production Assistants: Candida Boottaci, Aislinn Meehan and Sally-Anne McKeown. Studio Manager: Sam O’Sullivan. Drum Tech: Sam O’Sullivan. Guitar Tech: Dallas Schoo. Studio Tech: Rab McAllister. Audio Post Production by Cheryl Engels at Partial Productions Inc. All tracks have been digitally remastered from original master tapes where possible by Arnie Acosta at the Mastering Lab, Los Angeles. Digital Editing by Pat Sullivan at Bernie Grundman.

Artwork

Sleeve designed by Four5One Design, Dublin. Back Cover photography: Anton Corbijn. Inside photography by Anton Corbijn. Reproduced by Sonicon.

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