"Miserere (Live)" - Bono, Pavarotti, Zucchero

Digital Single

Track Listing:

Background Information

On May 8, 2020, a surprise release appeared for streaming only on digital retailers. A 2003 performance of “Miserere” from the Pavarottie and Friends concert in Modena, Italy had been released. It was not available to purchase, only to stream. It was made available on a variety of platforms including Qobuz, Tidal, YouTube Music, and Spotify. The following day, on May 9, 2020 it also appeared on Apple Music.

The song was part of a special playlist that Bono had compiled for his 60th birthday titled “60 Songs That Saved My Life”. The song with Zucchero and Pavarotti was the first song listed in the playlist. The song was accompanied by a letter addressed to Pavarotti’s daughter Alice. “Dear Alice, I haven’t seen you for ages…as usual I am a loyal but unreliable friend. Miserere is one of my favourite of your father’s crescendos. We sang it live in Modena but it is mostly known as a duet with one of my other favourite people, Zucchero…It was Zucchero who asked me to write it with him. I can hardly remember what it was about…other than forgiveness that is…and a toast to being alive. My father Bob was a tenor. He described me as ‘a baritone who thinks he is a tenor!’ When I hear this I miss my father as well as yours. He loved the opera…he was one. You brought such joy to your Da. Grazie, Bono” and as an added note, “P.S. While making the demo recording for your father, Zucchero found an unknown tenor just starting out…his name was Andrea Bocelli. His version makes me weep now for all kinds of reasons.”

The song was recorded with the Orchestra Sinfonica Italiana on May 27, 2003. It was part of Luciano Pavarotti’s 10th annual Pavarotti and Friends benefit concert in Modena, Italy. The concert was the same show where Bono sang “Ave Maria” with Pavarotti. The concert was televised, but never released in audio format. Bono’s performance with Pavarotti on “Ave Maria” was released in 2019 as part of the soundtrack to the documentary, Pavarotti.

Bono, Zucchero and Pavarotti collaborated on the song in 1992. Bono and Zucchero collaborated on the lyrics to the song with Zucchero contributing in Italian and Bono in English. Zucchero’s plan was to get Pavarotti to sing the song, but had to work to convince him to sing the operatic vocals. Zucchero discovered a piano bar singer by the name of Andrea Bocelli and got him to cut a rough demo to share with Pavarotti. Pavarotti is said to have been blown away by Bocelli’s voice and suggested that he wasn’t needed, but eventually relented and sang the song with Zucchero.

Two versions appear on the Miserere album and it was released at the time as a single as well. A live version featuring Pavarotti and Zucchero was released before on the Pavarotti and Friends album, but this is the first time this version with Bono has been released. The song hit #15 in the UK chart. The single was released with stickers attached to add promotion in English markets that Bono had co-written the song.

This is the first time that this live version has been released.

Liner Notes

Recording Engineer: Maco Sabiu
Produced by: Michele Centonze
Orchestra Sinfonica Italiana conducted by José Molina.

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