The History Mix: The Edge Solo
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2016-08-07)
Tomorrow our favorite scientist of music, The Edge, is having a birthday. And while we are all familiar with the work he’s done inside of U2, there are many tracks he has worked on outside of U2 which are quite fascinating. So join us here at u2songs.com in wishing him a happy birthday with a quick look at some of our favorite solo tracks by The Edge.
If you should wish further information about The Edge and the solo projects he’s been a part of you will find plenty of links below to discography entries. And at any time you can visit his Solo Work page in the u2songs.com discography.
The Two Solo Albums
We have to start the article by pointing out that The Edge has two solo albums. No other member of U2 has released a full solo album where they are the primary performer. Larry and Bono have both been the primary performer on solo tracks, but never a full album. And working with other artists Adam Clayton has featured on all of the tracks on Little Steven’s Born Again Savage album. But The Edge has had two full length solo projects that have seen the light of day over the years.
The first was the soundtrack to the movie Captive which was released in 1986. The soundtrack album contains 10 songs, and are credited to The Edge. Additional musicians on the project include Michael Brook, Lesley Bishop, Larry Mullen and Sinéad O’Connor. Mullen and O’Connor featured on the lead track “Heroine“ which was also released as a single with additional mixes of the song.
More recently The Edge worked with Paul Chavez (Feltlike) on the soundtrack to the performance “Cold Dream Colour.” This was an art performance piece directed by The Edge’s wife Morleigh Steinberg as a homage to Irish artist, Louis le Brocquy. The piece debuted in 2010 in Dublin, but in May 2012, at a performance of the piece in California, a limited number of CDRs were available for sale for a price of $10. Each CD contained seven songs, and clocked in at just over 59 minutes. The CD has not appeared for sale at other appearances by the performance, and seems to have only been sold at the one performance in California.
For those who haven’t had an opportunity to hear this work, a short piece of it is embedded below, and you can find full performances on Morleigh Steinberg’s Vimeo account if you wish to search out more.
Earliest Solo Work
Not only is The Edge the first one with his own solo album, he was also the first one with recorded solo work outside of U2. The first appearance The Edge made was on U2’s “Three” EP. But a couple of months later he featured on the album Just for Kicks. Sure the rest of U2 were on that album as well with an alternate mix of “Stories for Boys”. But the Edge also showed up solo on a track with the Teen Commandments called “Something’s Better than Nothing”. In the summer of 1979 they gathered at Lombard studio in Dublin to record three tracks, “My Baby Left Me”, “Private World” and “Somethings Better than Nothing”. The Edge only performed on two songs, “Somethings Better Than Nothing” and “My Baby Left Me”. On both tracks he played guitar, and not bass as has been suggested in error over the years. The other song he did with The Teen Commandments would also be released but not until 1981, when it appeared on the Vinyl Verdict compilation.
Comic Book Heroes
I’ll admit it, I’m a comic book junkie. And I always love it when U2 crosses over. U2 worked on the soundtrack to Batman Forever, but the Edge also got involved with another Batman project. He did the theme song for the 2004 cartoon The Batman. A download was made available of the main theme that The Edge composed which was 01:20 in length, but throughout the first two seasons of the show the song was often used at various points with different length edits. It’s a dark mysterious tune.
Below is a short interview with The Edge talking about his work on this theme, and you can hear the song in the background:
The Edge also takes centre stage on Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, a project on which he developed the music along side Bono. He even appears on vocals on Sinistereo, another suitably creepy song.
On His Own
The Edge does a lot of work with Bono on the side. From the Spider-Man musical, to A Clockwork Orange in 1991. But he does get out and do a few things on his own. For those interested you may want to check out a few of the following:
- 1983, The Edge joins Jah Wobble and Holger Czukay for “Snake Charmer“ an EP which he plays on three tracks.
- 1989, The Edge helps finance, and plays guitar on a track from The Prunes on their album Nada
- 1991, The Edge plays guitar on “April the Third” with Donal Lunny for Bringing it All Back Home
- 1992, The Edge appears on three songs on Slide on This an album by Stones member Ronnie Wood. “Somebody Else Might“ and “Show Me“ are both released as singles.
- 1996, The Edge plays guitar on some, or possibly many, tracks on the Undark 3396 / Undark One: Strange Familiar album.
- 1999, The Edge plays guitar on “What’s the Story Git?” a dark song by Christy Moore on the album Traveller.
- 2003, The Edge plays guitar for Wyclef Jean on the song “Class Reunion”, sung by Monica on the album The Preacher’s Son.
- 2010, The Edge joins Stevie Wonder, Dave Stewart, Aaron Neville and others for a performance of “With You I’m Born Again / Unchained Melody“ for the Stand Up to Cancer 2010 benefit.
North and South
One of my favorite things The Edge has done however is a solo single with Bono and Christy Moore. Most U2 fans are aware of a song called “North and South of the River” which was featured as a B-Side to “Staring at the Sun”. But in 1995 with Bono and Christy Moore, The Edge released a single of the song which featured Christy Moore as the featured vocalist. As much as I enjoy U2’s version, I think that single version from 1995, only released in Ireland, is my favored version.