"Magnificent" - U2

Single

Physically Released Tracks:

Additional Digitally Released Tracks:

Background Information

“Magnificent” was the second single released off of U2’s No Line on the Horizon album. The song was originally developed under the working title “French Disco” during the band’s recording sessions in Fez, Morocco in June of 2007. With the release of “Magnificent” U2’s label broke with traditional release structure, and did not issue a physical version of the single in Canada, Japan or Australia, countries that traditionally would receive such a release. In the UK, the only physical release was a 7-inch single, although there is evidence that a CD single had been planned but had been cancelled at the last minute. In another surprising move, “Magnificent” was released in the US as a CD single—the first physical U2 single released in the US since the “Vertigo“ 7-inch in 2004, and the first U2 CD-single in the US since “If God Will Send His Angels“ in 1997. It is suspected that confusion surrounding the lack of a physical single lead to a disappointing chart position in the UK for “Magnificent” as people waited for a CD version instead of purchasing the downloads.

“Magnificent” was first released on May 2, 2009 in Ireland in the form of three different digital singles via iTunes. These were released in the UK on May 4, 2009, along with a 7-inch vinyl single, and CD singles being issued in Europe. On May 19, 2009, a digital release was made available in Canada and the USA, and on June 9, a CD single was issued for the USA. Rather than the album version of the song, these various single formats included either “Magnificent (Edit)” or “Magnificent (UK Edit).” The first line in the “Edit” version is simply “Magnificent,” whereas the “UK Edit” begins with “Oh, oh Magnificent.” Both versions cut the intro of the song. Filling out the single was a series of remixes of “Magnificent,” including multiple versions from Fred Falke, Dave Audé, Adam K and Soha, Pete Tong, and Redanka. Depending on the format, other tracks included “Get On Your Boots (Justice Remix),” and two live tracks taken from the March, 2009 concert at the Somerville Theatre in Boston: “Breathe” and “Vertigo.”

The digital releases in Europe and the UK had names. “Magnificent with 2 Remixes” or “Magnificent EP1”; “Magnificent with 3 Remixes” or “Magnificent EP2” and “Magnificent with Live Tracks and Remix” were the titles given. The last, was a limited EP, and was removed after a short time from digital storefronts. Each of these releases was released with a simple cover showing a close up of the photograph used on the physical “Magnificent” releases elsewhere. In North America a five track digital release was issued instead arriving in the USA on May 18, 2009 and the following day in Canada, and featured five remixes of the title track. The remix EPs often came with a different cover than the physical formats, a closeup of the physical artwork focusing on the birds.

With the June 9 release on CD in the USA of 10 remixes, an online retailer, masterbeat.com had an exclusive 13-track version of “Magnificent” for sale. These were in mp3 format at 320kbps, and on June 14, masterbeat.com added a new track bringing the total to 14-tracks, all remixes of “Magnificent.” This 14th track was the “Richard Vission Solmatic Remix” and was not available at other online retailers, although the DJ made it available via his own site for a time. Full details on formats and tracks is available below in the catalog section of this page.

A video for “Magnificent” was released, directed by Alex Courtes, who had also worked on the video for “Get On Your Boots.” The clip premiered online at Yahoo! Music on May 6, 2009. Filmed in Fez, Morocco, the video opens with the buildings in the city being covered by large white cloth, with shots of people dancing, and the band performing in a riad. As the song progresses, the sheets are pulled from the buildings and the people in the streets stare upwards. The sheets can be seen blowing away over the Fez skyline. A second video, shot at U2’s performance at the Somerville Theatre in Boston, MA in March, 2009, was released for promotion in some areas. The audio is taken from the band’s actual concert performance. This version of the video was directed by Tom Krueger and edited by Duncan Shepherd at 89 Edit.

“Magnificent” was first performed live during the No Line on the Horizon promotional tour. It was also played on the first night of The U2360° Tour, and on every night thereafter until the fourth leg of the tour, at which point it was occasionally dropped from the set. In all, it was played at 96 out of the 110 shows on the tour. On the Innocence and Experience tour which followed, “Magnificent” was played on only one night, and was the only song from No Line on the Horizon which was performed except some snippets of “Moment of Surrender”. The song has not been played on the Experience and Innocence tour, nor on The Joshua Tree Tours of 2017 and 2019.

Live performances of the song have been released on various recordings. The March 2009 performance at the Somerville Theatre in Boston, MA appears on some versions of the “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight“ single. The October 2009 performance in New York City at Madison Square Garden was released on the multi-artist 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts album. Another October 2009 performance, this one at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, was released on the U2360° at the Rose Bowl home video release, as well as on a 4-track CD sampler of the same show released in the US. In 2011, members of the U2.com fan club were allowed to vote on 46 tracks taken from the U2360° Tour for possible inclusion on the double live album U22. As the title suggests, only 22 of these songs made the final cut. A live performance of “Magnificent” recorded in Zurich on September 11, 2010 was among the 46 eligible tracks, and it received enough votes to be included on U22.

In addition to the versions listed above, there were promotional releases focusing on “Magnificent.” Also the song appeared in a number of other recordings, with a mix titled the “RAC” mix appearing on the “RAC Volume 1.5“ digital EP, released by the DJ direct. A slightly altered form of the “Wonderland Dub Remix,” titled “Tong and Rogers Wonderland Dub Remix,” was released on the Pete Tong Presents Wonderland Vol. 2 compilation. The single and album versions of “Magnificent” have not appeared on any U2 compilations to date. However, “Magnificent (Falke Radio Mix)”—an edit of the longer “Fred Falke Full Club Mix,” made its debut on the fan club remix album Artificial Horizon. That same compilation also included one of the B-side tracks from the “Magnificent” single, “Get On Your Boots (Justice Remix).” Another appearance of note, was the website Eventvibe.com, which featured two remixes from Dave Audé as part of an interview with the remixer. One of these mixes was the “Dave Audé Radio Edit” which otherwise had just appeared via digital promotional channels. These tracks were first available on May 1, 2009, just days before the single would be released in the UK. The Dave Audé remixes of the track “Magnificent” feature a slightly different vocal track than the version that appears on the “No Line on the Horizon” album including an alternate line, “Your white soul has left my heart black and blue”.

Liner Notes

Magnificent (UK Edit):
Music by U2, Brian Eno, and Danny Lanois. Lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Produced by Brian Eno and Danny Lanois. Additional production by Steve Lillywhite. Engineered by Richard Rainey. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Additional engineering by Carl Glanville, Declan Gaffney and Dave Emery. Mixed by Cenzo Townshend. Assisted by Neil Comber. Additional keyboards by Terry Lawless, Bono and will.i.am.

Magnificent (Edit):
Music by U2, Brian Eno, and Danny Lanois. Lyrics by Bono and The Edge. Produced by Brian Eno and Danny Lanois. Additional production by Steve Lillywhite. Engineered by Richard Rainey. Assisted by Chris Heaney. Additional engineering by Carl Glanville, Declan Gaffney and Dave Emery. Mixed by Cenzo Townshend. Assisted by Neil Comber. Additional keyboards by Terry Lawless, Bono and will.i.am.

Breathe (Live from Somerville Theatre, Boston):
Recorded in March 2009 by Jay Vicari and Declan Gaffney. Assisted by Joel Singer. Recorded in Music Mix Mobile Truck. Mixed by Declan Gaffney.

Vertigo (Live from Somerville Theatre, Boston):
Recorded in March 2009 by Jay Vicari and Declan Gaffney. Assisted by Joel Singer. Recorded in Music Mix Mobile Truck. Mixed by Declan Gaffney.

Get on Your Boots (Justice Remix):
Music by U2. Lyrics by Bono. Remix and additional production by Justice.

Artwork

Cover photography by Deirdre O’Callaghan. Designed by Four5One Creative, Dublin.

Recognition and Awards

  • #8 Irish Single, 2009 Awards (March 2010)

Related Promotional Videos

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Catalog of Releases