"Down all the Days" (1990)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Down All The Days” is a working title of a song developed for Achtung Baby. The song was continued in development for Zooropa, becoming “Numb” on that album.

“Down All the Days” appears in a list of songs being worked on for Achtung Baby in November 28, 1991 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine (Issue #618). Accompanying the article is a picture of the whiteboard with a number of in progress songs. The photo describes this as “Producer Lanois’s progress chart at Dogtown Studio, outside of Dublin.”

The song is also described in Flanagan’s book U2 At the End of the World as the band record in Berlin:

Edge comes in one afternoon and there’s Lanois in the studio, playing guitar and singing, desperately trying to make a new song called “Down All the Days” sound like the old Joshua Tree U2.“He’s really panicking,” Edge says. “I had no idea Danny was so confused by what we were doing.”

In issue #18 of U2’s Propaganda magazine, The Edge sat down for an interview about the album Zooropa in the winter of 1993. The interviewer asks, “‘Numb’ has been around for a while hasn’t it?” and The Edge replies, “That was actually an arrangement for another song called ‘Down All The Days’ which we brought to some conclusion musically but then decided wasn’t the right direction. We left it sitting there for a while and at the end of the Achtung Baby sessions I came up with this idea for ‘Numb’ – just a title, a lyric idea – but we didn’t really have time to get on to it. So we took out the track when we were working on Zooropa and had a look at it again and I tried some different vocal ideas, like this monotone rap idea and took it from there.”

In U2 by U2, Adam describes the evolution of the track:

‘Numb’ was a left-over from Achtung Baby called ‘Down All The Days’. The song didn’t really work but the instrumental backing was interesting. Brian added some fantastic keyboards. Then when we were trying to get a final running order together for Zooropa, we had this backing track but we didn’t know what to do with it. Edge took it off into another studio to demo a few ideas, and within a few hours, had worked out this way of almost rapping over it. I think it is a sonic masterpiece and Edge’s delivery is fantastic.

As part of the album remastering project in 2008 – 2011, U2 went back into the archive and dug up a number of older songs that had never been completed. In some cases these were released as they were in their original form, but in other cases, they went back in and altered the originals, adding vocals and in some cases additional music, usually under the supervision of Declan Gaffney. “Down All the Days” is one of the tracks that dates back to the Achtung Baby album in 1991. This is one of the tracks that has been released in its original form, with no additional recording.

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