"Don't Let the Teardrops Grind You Down" (1990)
“Don’t Let the Teardrops Grind You Down” is a song title given to a song developed for Achtung Baby. The song title however, is not one given to the song by U2. It is a title given on bootleg recordings of the album prior to the release of Achtung Baby. The actual title of the song would become “Acrobat” and this is an early demo recording of that song. The title “Don’t Let the Teardrops Grind You Down” appears on later pressings of the bootleg The New Rehearsals & Full Versions of U2.
In April 1991, a recording of U2’s new album leaked. Not on the internet, but into the hand of bootleggers who pressed it to CD and released it in that format. Thus the titles are not from official band sources, but are most likely titles developed from those pressing the bootlegs.
From the Los Angeles Times in May, 1991, ran the following:
But U2 fans, both in America and across much of Europe, have quietly been taping and circulating a bootleg four-album set of rough, sometimes unfinished mixes of the band’s long-awaited new album. Titled The New U2: Rehearsals and Full Versions, the album is being sold with two discs to a jacket, offering nearly 30 new songs, including such possible new material as “She’s Gonna Blow Your House Down,” “Sweet Baby Jane,” “I Feel Free,” “Don’t Say Goodbye” and “Don’t Let the Dues Get You Down.”
It’s impossible to say how many copies of the bootleg exist. But the album has caused an immediate stir, especially with U2 having been out of the public eye for the past two years. Many superstar rock bands have seen their live material or studio outtakes bootlegged, but not until after the group’s new album has surfaced. In this case, The New U2 arrives while the band is still recording, with its album untitled and not scheduled for release until October.
“What makes this almost unprecedented is that these are tapes of songs that aren’t even finished yet,” says Pete Howard, publisher of the International CD Exchange newsletter, who says he received the bootleg from an anonymous subscriber. “Some of the songs sound close to being final versions, but others are still instrumentals without vocal tracks. You can even hear (lead singer) Bono signaling the band to go into a bridge or chorus.”
The story the LA Times tells “according to the U2 grapevine”: “that the bootleg tapes were obtained after the band left rough mixes in a Berlin hotel trash can, where they were retrieved by curious hotel chambermaids. U2 insiders suspect that the tapes date back to the band’s recording sessions last year at Berlin’s Hansa Studios. But a spokesman insisted: “It’s impossible to fathom the band leaving these tapes in the hotel trash. They would always be under lock and key.”
Seven CDs of material were eventually released, but in various forms over the years. In May 1991 The New U2: Rehearsals and Full Versions was released on vinyl and cassette, and in February 1992 Salomé: The [Axtung Beibi] Outakes release appeared on CD in a three disc set. Neither of these contained track names, but later pressings such as The Lost Album, U2’s Unreleased Album, Soul Preacher, and The Making of Achtung Baby did contain titles. Some of these have varied over time, and we’ve tried to capture as many as possible here.
A further look at what is contained on these recordings can be found on the document “Salome Liner Notes“ by Sira Vista, which was circulated in newsgroups for years documenting the songs.