"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" - U2


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Full Track Listing:

Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me (Single Version) (4:47)
Themes from Batman Forever (3:39) – by Elliot Goldenthal
Tell Me Now (4:17) – Mazzy Star

Background Information

In 1995 the third movie in the original Batman franchise, Batman Forever, was released. Director Joel Schumacher had met with Bono while putting the movie together to discuss a possible onscreen role. Initially it was thought Bono would play a villain, but there were two evil characters in the script already. Instead, Schumacher considered having Bono perform a song in costume as Macphisto. That idea never materialized, either, and so U2 ended up contributing a song, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” for inclusion in the film. It was released as the first single to promote the movie and the soundtrack album. The song itself was a leftover from the Zooropa album sessions. A close examination of the Zooropa cover art will reveal the title of the song in the distorted purple lettering. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, but lost to “Colors of the Wind,” from the Disney movie Pocahontas.

The single was released on June 5, 1995, three days in advance of the US premiere of the film. It was issued on 5-inch CD and cassette formats. A limited pressing 7-inch red vinyl was also issued in the UK. Each format featured “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me,” listed as the “Single Version,” although it is basically the version from the soundtrack album mastered at a higher volume. Unlike traditional U2 singles, which would feature B-sides and extra tracks performed by the band, this release featured other artists’ songs from the Batman Forever soundtrack. These included “Themes from Batman Forever” from the score album composed by Elliot Goldenthal, and “Tell Me Now” by Mazzy Star. The cover art on most versions of the single featured a picture of Batman looking from the side towards the camera, with his cape raised, and the Bat Signal in the distance. A “Limited Edition Collector’s Set” featuring a polybag containing the Batman Forever comic book adaptation, two skycaps, and a trading card, came with a one-track CD single in a card sleeve with different cover art featuring hand-drawn images of the characters in the film. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” was the first non-album U2 single release since “A Celebration” in 1982.

A promotional video for the song was directed by Kevin Godley and Maurice Linnane and produced by Ned O’Hanlon. It combines animated segments, film clips from Batman Forever, and footage from the Zoo TV Tour, including one shot of Bono silhouetted against the Zoo TV screens. The animated segments were overseen by Shaun Magher and Manga studios, while two artists from Leicester, Dave King and David Millgate, oversaw the design work based on Godley’s script. The animation team, consisting of 72 artists, was given an eleven-day window to complete the clip using a traditional “paint on cel” animation technique. After several sleepless nights, the clip was delivered at 6AM on the day it was to debut on American television. The video overdubs dialog from the movie in a few places throughout the song, including an opening line from Jim Carrey, who played The Riddler.

The video itself depicts two super-powered animated characters battling throughout a city. We also see U2 performing on an animated Zoo TV stage on a rooftop in Gotham City (complete with an animated “Riddler” running around). Batman and Robin also make appearances, but most of the animated footage is of “The Fly” and “Macphisto,” two onstage personas Bono had created for The ZOO TV Tour. In the video, “The Fly” starts out as a very angelic-looking Bono, complete with halo. He eventually turns in his halo for a pair of “Fly” sunglasses, which give him superpowers. We see him surprised by paparazzi at one point without his glasses, and he stumbles off the edge of a building. He is saved when an animated Adam Clayton tosses him his “Fly” shades, thus returning his super powers. “The Fly” also demonstrates some very Spiderman-like moves, including crawling down the front of a neon sign. In a separate story line, Bono is shown walking down the street with U2 reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, when he appears to be hit by a car driven by Elvis. We then see his body strapped to a hospital bed, where he dies. Suddenly, lightning strikes and Bono is transformed into “Macphisto.” His powers aren’t clear in the video, but he does have a rather cool winged car that he uses to chase the Bat Plane through the skies of Gotham. The animated Edge and Adam also have some fun shooting lasers out of their guitars at the Bat Plane as it flies overhead.

The original version of the video featured a large animated neon sign advertising an establishment known as “Mr. Pussey’s.” “Mr. Pussy” was a drag performer and local celebrity in Dublin who hosted Gavin Friday’s now-defunct café. The label feared that the sign would be too controversial for some viewers and asked that it be replaced. As a result, in the widely released version of the video the sign reads “Mr. Swampy’s.” It is the “Mr. Swampy’s” version that is featured on The Best of 1990-2000 video compilation.

“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” made its live debut on The PopMart tour, opening the encore every night. The live performance made use of some of the animated footage from the video, specifically the “Macphisto” symbol. The song was not played live again until the late summer of 2010, when it was introduced to the set list on the second European leg of The U2360° Tour. It was played regularly at shows for the remainder of the tour, switching in-and-out of the show with “Ultraviolet.” A live version performed in Mexico City, on December 3, 1997 was released on the Hasta La Vista Baby! fan club album in audio format, and on the PopMart Live from Mexico City releases in video format. In 2011, members of the U2 Fan Club were given the opportunity to vote on 46 live tracks recorded during The U2360° Tour, with the top 22 songs to be included on a live album, U22. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” was one of these choices. In the end, however, the song did not receive enough votes to appear on the final live compilation. The following year, the Edge picked his favorite tracks from the remaining 46 live tracks, and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” recorded in Santiago, Chile on March 25, 2011 was included on From the Ground Up: Edge’s Picks.

In addition to the single release and the Batman Forever soundtrack album, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” also appeared on U2’s The Best of 1990-2000 compilation and related promotional items. The song was not included on the U218 Singles album.

Liner Notes

Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me (Single Version):
Lyrics by Bono. Music by U2. Produced by Nellee Hooper, Bono and the Edge. Engineered by Robbie Adams and Flood. Mix engineer: Mark ‘Spike’ Stent. Programmer and keyboards: Marius De Vries. Assistant: Paul ‘P.W.’ Walton. String Arranger: Craig Armstrong. Recorded at the Factory (Dublin), Windmill Lane Studios (Dublin), Wild Bunch Studio (London) and Olympic Studios (London).

Recognition and Awards

  • Nominated, Best Video (MTV Europe Music Awards, 1995)
  • Nominated, Best Video from Film (MTV Video Music Awards, USA, 1995)
  • #5 Irish Single, Hot Press Awards 1995 (Hot Press, Spring 1996)
  • #5 Music Video, Hot Press Awards 1995 (Hot Press, Spring 1996)
  • Nomination, Best Original Song (Golden Globe Awards for 1995, January 2006)
  • Nomination, Best Rock Song (Grammy Awards, 1996)

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