"Full Metal Jacket" (2002)
“Full Metal Jacket” is an early working title for the song “Vertigo” while the latter was being developed.
Bono first speaks of this song during an online chat hosted by Jo Whiley on November 4, 2002:
Edge brought around a CD of a new tune. It’s just a provision title, “Full Metal Jacket.” It’s the roughest, it’s the mother of all rock and roll tunes. I don’t know where it came from, but it’s a remarkable guitar thing. You want to hear it. It’s a reason to make a record. This song is that good.
In the February 20, 2003 dated Grammy Magazine, Bono once again discusses this new song:
I just came from the studio today, and it’s ridiculous what’s going on. Edge is just on fire; he’s making the most extraordinary things come out of his guitar. It’s astonishing. We came up with a tune today called “Lead Me In The Way I Should Go,” which could be a big song. Another one, provisionally titled “Full Metal Jacket,” is pure chrome. I’m very excited about what we’re doing, and I don’t think we’re facing that difficult second album syndrome.
In a May 2004 issue of Rolling Stone, Austin Scaggs reports on the progress of the new album and this song is again mentioned:
Among the other new tracks to be featured on the follow-up to 2000’s Grammy-winning All That You Can’t Leave Behind is “Full Metal Jacket,” which Bono describes as “the mother of all rock tunes.”
The work on “Vertigo” started with Larry Mullen in early 2002 working on drum tracks for potential songs in Hanover Quay. The Edge spoke about the track development from there, “The rhythm of the drums inspired me to create and play simultaneously, among other things, a two-bar guitar chord progression that became part of a song that I composed and recorded over the course of a few days and called “Hard Metal Jacket.” Terry Lawless, a musician and digital audio technician who periodically works with U2, functioned as my recording engineer in Malibu, and assisted me in recording and engineering my work. Over the course of several days Terry helped me put the constituent parts of three or four songs together into three or four demo recordings, one of which was “Hard Metal Jacket.” Terry burned “Hard Metal Jacket” and the other songs that I had composed and recorded (collectively, the “Malibu Recordings”) onto a CD and gave the CD to me. In November 2002, when Bono was visiting Los Angeles, I played “Hard Metal Jacket,” and the other Malibu Recordings, for Bono and a mutual friend Lian Lunson.
Bono spoke about this meeting in November 2002:
In November 2002, Edge and I were visiting a friend in Los Angeles named Lian Lunson. Edge played for us recordings of several songs he had been working on. One of the songs, which he titled “Full Metal Jacket” or “Hard Metal Jacket” consisted bass and guitar tracks over drum loops. In listening to “Hard Metal Jacket,” I was impressed with the guitar attitude and vitality, and I thought that the song had some potential to become a U2 song.
In December 2002 the band started work in Dublin on the song, and the band recorded over 75 versions of the song. Bono spoke about the changes to the song:
Over the next two years Hard Metal Jacket went through many iterations on the way to becoming Vertigo. Sometimes in order to identify a particular melodic approach we attached different names to different versions of the song. The names included “Shark Soup,” “Viva La Ramone” and “Native Son” (which was actually the proper title for the song for a while).
The Edge also spoke of some of these alternate titles:
As “Hard Metal Jacket” evolved, the music, instrumentation, title and lyrics changed many times. Over the course of time, “Hard Metal Jacket” had several working titles (for purposes of distinguishing between melodic ideas incorporated within its many iterations), such as “Viva La Ramone,” “Shark Soup,” “Sopa de Tiburon,” “Native Son” and finally “Vertigo.”