In Bill Flanagan’s book, U2 At the End of the World, he spends time with U2 in the studio while they are recording the Zooropa album and at one point he gives a list of songs that are being worked on for the album. Many are familiar as songs that make it onto the album, but some are not, or would only show up later in life. “Sinatra” is one of these songs Each song listed is under one of three categories, and “Sinatra” falls under “Songs” and “Soundtracks”, the only song listed in two separate groups. It does not appear in “Vibes”.
There is a longer passage in the book describing some of the work on the song:
They [Bono and Edge] are discussing with Larry a track they have been listening to that is titled “Sinatra.” As that title suggests, the music was written by Edge in an attempt to emulate the classic structure of Tin Pan Alley pop songs. At one point Bono was even singing words about “the wee small hours” over it. Bono has been trying to come up with new lyrics and Larry is throwing in his two cents. Larry says there are too many passing words, lines stuffed with useless ands and thes. Bono should make those lines shorter, Larry also thinks there’s something off in the rhythm.
The passage in the book goes on to talk about the lyrical development of the song, and how the song is eventually retitled “Stay”, including variations on “Stay – as the angel hits the ground,” “Stay and the night will be enough,” and “Stay – with your secrets sleeping rough.”
At the end of the discussion, Flood changes the listed title on the board from “Sinatra” to “Stay”.
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 Edge discussed the earliest versions of “Sinatra” in that piece, “That piece started out as a little acoustic guitar chord sequence that we worked up on the Achtung Baby record and Bono had this melody for it but it never really took off. I rewrote the piece when we started on this record and demo-ed it with just guitar and drum machine. I was almost trying to write a Frank Sinatra song, it has some of the changes of chord and feel that I was going for, some of the discipline of that form of songwriting which is very structured, very crafted. That’s probably why it sounds the most like a formal U2 song.”