1000 Songs In: What has Been Played on U2 X-Radio

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-07-06)

Since the launch of the U2 X-Radio station, just over 1000 U2 tracks have now been played on this new station. We figured it was a good time to take a look to see what has been played to date so far. This includes only U2 tracks, and doesn’t include solo tracks like Bono’s version of “Miserere” or tracks played on the radio by other artists. For the sake of this analysis everything that is played and identified separate is counted, but shows like Oakenfold’s “Discotheque” continuous mix, and the “Apollo Theatre” live broadcast are not, because those do not identify tracks separately.

As of 7:30 AM ET 1022 tracks have been played on the station. 867 of these tracks have been studio tracks, or 84.8%. The live tracks on the station make up about 15.1% of the material heard on air.

The studio material is coming from a variety of sources including all of the albums, the deluxe discs issued with the albums in remastered sets including the Achtung Baby Uber set, and the more recent 30th anniversary Joshua Tree release for its 30th birthday. Also included is material from fan club only releases including Medium, Rare, and Remastered, Duals. The station is also playing material from The Complete U2 playing selections from “Early Demos” and “Unreleased and Rare”. Tracks are also being taken from the three compilations, The Best of 1980 – 1990, The Best of 1990 – 2000 and U218 Singles. Finally, some tracks are taken from singles and EPs such as “7”, “Wide Awake in America”, “The Europa EP” and “Who’s Going to Ride Your Wild Horses.”

To date only one new studio song has appeared, a unique remix of “Ordinary Love” which was played at the start of Paul Oakenfold’s “Discotheque” show. This mix is a different mix than the one he debuted on his YouTube channel in 2014. The other U2 songs in that show were previously released mixes.

The live material is coming from a mix of sources as well, but most are taken from the fan club releases throughout the years, with material played from Hasta La Vista Baby, From the Ground Up, Live Songs of Innocence + Experience, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane, U2.Communication, U22 and Zoo TV. All of these were fan club only releases, although Hasta La Vista Baby was later released in The Complete U2 on iTunes. Some of the other material is also coming from iTunes-only releases, with live songs appearing from “Live from Under the Brooklyn Bridge,” and “Love: Live from the Point Depot” from The Complete U2. Tracks are also being heard from Live from Paris issued as an audio recording in 2007 outside of the box set. And live tracks are also coming from more common sources such as Rattle and Hum, Under a Blood Red Sky and “Wide Awake in America” as well as from the deluxe discs issued with the remasters. Live tracks are also airing from the “Please” single.

Some of the material played on air has been from U2’s home videos, which have been released in video format but not in an audio format. Two tracks have been heard to date, including “Every Breaking Wave” taken from the Paris 2015 video which was included in the “U2’s Mixtape” program, and “Where the Streets Have No Name” taken from the Boston 2001 video, heard once so far, during the regular mix of songs. (Although an audio version was released, the version heard was the edit from the video and not the released audio version.)

There has been some previously unheard live material on the station. During “U2’s Mixtape” a live version of “Desire” was played, taken from the iHeart show in Las Vegas at the end of 2016. As well the station has been airing a live show from the SiriusXM performance at the Apollo Theater. This is a new mix of that concert, and a few of the songs have been moved around from the original 2018 broadcast. “Red Flag Day” unfortunately is still missing from that show. The Apollo show aired twice last Thursday and repeat again twice this week, also on Thursday. It appears that this may be on a monthly rotation like some of the other programs, and will probably repeat on Thursdays for the remainder of the first month before being replaced with other live material.

Out of the albums we decided to take a look at what was getting the heaviest play, and perhaps no surprise, it was Achtung Baby. Not only is it one of the more popular albums, but the deluxe Uber box means there’s a lot of bonus material that is being played such as the “Baby” versions of the album tracks, remixes from the album and more. The second album getting the most play? Rattle and Hum! 14.2% of the tracks played from albums have been from Rattle and Hum. The album has featured on Matthew McConnaughey’s mix of songs, it opened “U2’s Mixtape” and the songs have been getting a lot of play. The least played album? October, even counting tracks from the deluxe release, only about 2.8% of the songs have been from that album.

The full list of albums and the percent played is as followed (includes deluxe versions and live tracks from those deluxe versions):

  • Achtung Baby (16.5%)
  • Rattle and Hum (14.2%)
  • War (8.3%)
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (8.0%)
  • The Joshua Tree (7.9%)
  • All That You Can’t Leave Behind (7.7%)
  • The Unforgettable Fire (6.6%)
  • Songs of Experience (6.4%)
  • Songs of Innocence (5.5%)
  • Pop (5.0%)
  • Zooropa (4.2%)
  • Boy (3.7%)
  • No Line on the Horizon (3.4%)
  • October (2.8%)

(The list above skips the non-album tracks from compilations and also skips the Passengers album.)

For more coverage of U2 X-Radio we have a dedicated page: U2 X-Radio page in the discography with other news pieces, a schedule of new debuting shows on the station, an episode guide of what has aired to date, etc.

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