"Silver and Gold" - Artists Against Apartheid (featuring Bono, Keith Richards, Ron Wood)

Promotional Release

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Full Track Listing:

  • Silver and Gold – Bono, Keith Richards, Ron Wood (4:43)

Background Information

Just before the final mix of the album “Sun City”, as the album was ready to be mastered, Bono arrived in the studio where Van Zandt was working with a new song to be included on the record. “It’s kind of a country-blues song,” Bono said at the time, adding he was “inspired” to write it after spending the night with the Rolling Stones. Keith Richards and Ron Wood helped Bono record the track, which the U2 singer called “a gift” to Van Zandt. During the recording session in Bono’s hotel room, Wood ended up using Richard’s pocket knife as a slide when playing his guitar. Bono said his involvement in Sun City was humanistically rather than politically motivated. “People try to put it across as propaganda, that it’s the left or the right,” said Bono. “This is apolitical. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on — this is common sense.” The song was “Silver and Gold” and it was featured on the “Sun City” album.

“Sun City” was a project brought together by Little Steven aka Steven Van Zandt. Sun City was a resort in South Africa that catered to wealthy white tourists. Many artists would perform there despite South Africa’s racist Apartheid policy at the time. Van Zandt discovered Sun City while traveling in Africa after finishing on a Springsteen tour. He was disgusted that western artists would play such a facility, and decided to organize the “Sun City” project upon his return to the USA, after further inspiration struck hearing Peter Gabriel’s “Biko”. The idea was to get artists to make it known that they were not going to play “Sun City” until such time that the apartheid laws had changed.

To help promote the album a commercial single was released for “Sun City”. As well this promotional single for “Silver & Gold” was released. The promotional release was available in most locations with a cover similar to that of the “Sun City” album and single, with a different title. These are marked as a promo on the front cover, and the artist is listed as “Artists United Against Apartheid featuring: Bono, Keith Richards, and Ron Wood”. A promotional release in Spain comes with different artwork, a white cover with barbed wire and writing in red.

Liner Notes

Silver and Gold:
Features Bono, Keith Richards, and Ron Wood. Words and music by Bono.

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