"Common Ground" - Various Artists

Compilation Album

U2 Related Content:

Full Track Listing:

  • O Bhean A’Ti’ – Maire Brennan (5:13)
  • Mary of the South Seas – Tim and Neil Finn (5:08)
  • Tomorrow (‘96) – Bono and Adam Clayton (4:36)
  • Cavan Potholes – Sharon Shannon (4:10)
  • Help Me to Believe – Paul Brady (5:56)
  • On Raglan Road – Sinead O’Connor (6:05)
  • As I Roved Out – Brian Kennedy (4:32)
  • The Night Before Larry was Stretched – Elvis Costello (5:09)
  • Mna Na H-Eireann – Kate Bush (2:53)
  • Whistling Low / Errigal – Davy Spillane and Donal Lunny (4:08)
  • My Heart’s Tonight in Ireland – Andy Irvine (3:36)
  • Cathain – Liam O’Maonlai (3:27)
  • Bogie’s Bonnie Belle – Christy Moore (3:18)

Background Information

The intial idea for “Common Ground” came from executive producer Gerald Seligman. He recognized that most of his favorite Irish albums all had a common player, Donal Lunny. When Seligman started working for the A&R group at EMI, one of the first things he did was take a meeting with Donal Lunny. The discussion lead to compilations, and they decided not to just do a compilation of existing material, but instead they looked at doing a new album fronted by some of the great names in Irish music, but with a single backing band arranged and lead by Donal Lunny.

Each artist was allowed to select a favorite song from tradition, to bring a original song that was written in the Irish vein, or to accept a suggestion from Lunny and Seligman. The project was opened to not just Irish musicians, but musicians of Irish descent who were sympathetic to the genre.

U2 was in the midst of promoting the Passengers album, including appearances in Italy, stops in Bosnia, and recording of Pop. Only Bono and Adam Clayton were involved in the album, recording a new version of their own song “Tomorrow”, which had first appeared on the album, “October”. Seligman relates: “From the start they said they’d like to be on board, and when the time came, it was a gift to be given a striking new interpretation of a track from U2’s “October” album. Watching “Tomorrow” transform as it progressed from one approach to another, one mood to another, was to have an insight into the brilliantly intuitive working method of Ireland’s most popular artists. In many ways the two versions of ‘Tomorrow’ trace a musical route the artists themselves have travelled, from the Irish-grounded rock of their beginnings to more open-ended, experimental works like their recent ‘Passengers’ album with Brian Eno.”

It was Donal Lunny’s son Oisín who created the backing rhythms and samples on the track working with Stephen Daley. Donal Lunny performs on the track on bouzouki, bodhrán, and keyboards. And Sharon Shannon appears on the track playing button accordian. The song was recorded at U2’s Hanover Quay studios in Dublin, and Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin.

Liner Notes

Tomorrow (‘96 Version): Arranged by Adam Clayton, Paul Hewson and Donal Lunny. Bono: Vocals. Adam Clayton: Bass. Donal Lunny: Bouzouki, bodhran and keyboards. Sharon Shannon: Button accordian. Oisin Lunny and Stephen Daley: Beats and programming. Nollaig Ni Chathasaigh: Fiddle. Recorded at Hanover Quay, Dublin by Tim Martin. Assisted by Rob Kirwan. Mixed by Tim Martin, Donal Lunny, Bono and Adam Clayton at Windmill Lane, Dublin. Edited by Ciaran Byrne.

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