"In a Lifetime (1989)" - Clannad
Single [1989 Release]
U2 Related Content:
- "In a Lifetime" (Studio Version) - Clannad (featuring Bono) (03:10)
Full Track Listing:
- In a Lifetime
- Something to Believe In
- Caisleán Óir
- The Wild Cry
- Atlantic Realm 
Recorded in 1985, Bono joined Irish band Clannad on the song “In a Lifetime”, which was initially released on the album “Macalla” in 1985. It was also released as a single on three occasions, first in January 1986 as the third single released from “Macalla” and in 1989 as a promotional track for the “Past Present” collection of songs, and finally in 1993 in Europe at a time when the song was being used as an advertising campaign for Jameson Whiskey. The song starts with Máire Brennan being heard teaching Bono Gaelic during the instrumental intro to the song. The initial single reached #17 in the UK singles chart, and thus it remains one of Clannad’s most successful songs.
This was the second time “In a Lifetime” had been released as a single. This release, which took place in 1989, was done to promote the best of collection, “Past Present” which Clannad was releasing. To promote the collection the song was released on 7”, 12” and for the first time as a single, on CD. As well as a black vinyl 7” a picture disc vinyl 7” was also released, which featured a large picture of Bono on one side, and two additional shots of Bono on the reverse. Most of the pictures of Bono are taken from the video.
A video was filmed for the song, and it was filmed by Meiert Avis, who had worked on most of U2’s early videos. It is set in the early 1900s in Ireland, and based on life in small villages back in those days, showing scenes of children walking narrow roads, a couple walking with a bicycle, old men drinking in a pub, and a hearse winding through the countryside. Footage of Bono and Máire Brennen in the woods and on a cliff is also included in the video. The video was filmed in Gweedore, a small town in County Donegal in Ireland. The video inspired the artist Dave McKean in his early drawings and design of the character “Sandman” for DC Comics, and early sketches of the character found in the “Preludes and Nocturnes” graphic novel is unmistakably Bono taken from the video for “In a Lifetime”. The “Sandman” series was a critically acclaimed and an award winning series, and Bono served as an early inspiration for the characters look.
Being one of Clannad’s biggest hits, the song has been released on numerous Clannad collections over the years including “The Collection” (1986), “Past Present” (1989), “Themes” (US Release, 1995), “Rogha: The Best of Clannad” (1996), “Celtic Collections” (1996), “In a Lifetime: The Ultimate Collection” (1997), “The Ultimate Collection” (1998), “Magic Elements” (1998), “Greatest Hits” (2000), “The Best of Clannad” (2001), “A Magical Gathering: The Clannad Anthology” (2002), “The Very Best of Clannad” (2003), “The Best of Clannad: In a Lifetime” (2003), “Songbook: The Very Best of Clannad” (2007), and “Celtic Themes: The Very Best of Clannad” (2008). The song was also featured on the 1992 US release of the album “Anam”, as a bonus track. In each case the version of the song is the version recorded for “Macalla” but in some cases there are minor differences in level or length as these collections were mastered from a variety of sources.
“In a Lifetime” has also been included on a number of compilation CDs including “Moods 2” (1994), “Celtic Spirit” (1996), “Celtic Myst” (1998), “Best of Celtic” (2003), “Greatest Irish Bands” (2004), and “The Celtic Circle” (2004).
Clannad have released a few live versions of “In a Lifetime”, most notably on the “Gaelforce” CD, but none of these live performances include Bono and are often sung with other vocalists.
In a Lifetime: Written by Pól Brennan and Ciarán Brennan. Produced by Steve Nye. Ciarán Brennan – bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals. Máire Brennan – vocals, harp. Bono – vocals. Pól Brennan – flute, guitar, percussion, vocals. Noel Duggan – guitar, vocals. Pádraig Duggan – guitar, mandolin, vocals. Engineered by Kevin Maloney at Windmill Lane Studio. Assistant Engineer: John Grimes. Mixed at Windmill Lane Studio.