Covering a Classic with The Chimes

Original Story by Don Morgan (2016-08-16)

Cover versions of U2 songs are a controversial topic. From Pet Shop Boys’ irreverent Where the Streets Have No Name to Scala & Kolacny Brother’s eerie With or Without You (made famous by an ITV promo clip for Downton Abbey), there’s something to delight or annoy just about everyone.

One of the most popular and well-received U2 covers was The Chimes’ soulful version of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” in 1990. A UK-based trio consisting of producers Mike Peden, James Locke, and Jamaican-born vocalist Pauline Henry, The Chimes’ career only lasted for one album. But that self-titled debut was heavily promoted and accompanied by a wealth of singles and remixes. A couple of songs from the LP were produced by Nellee Hooper, who would collaborate with U2 a few years later on “Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me” and the Pop album.

During U2 performances, Bono often introduced “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as “a gospel song with a restless spirit,” while The Edge has said that the melody comes “out of a classic soul tradition.” It is these elements that are brought to the fore on The Chimes’ interpretation. In fact, Bono himself offered high praise for The Chimes’ cover at the time, saying “Someone’s come along to sing it properly.”

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was a highlight of The Chimes album and an obvious choice for a single. It eventually peaked at #6 on the UK singles chart and reached the Top 50 on the US R&B chart. The album itself spent four months on the UK charts, peaking at #17, and also dented both the Billboard R&B and Pop charts.

Fans of this U2 cover will be happy to learn that, on September 2, The Chimes is being reissued as a 2CD deluxe edition in Europe by Big Break Records (BBR), an imprint of UK label Cherry Red. Three versions of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” grace the new reissue, including the album version, the “US Mix,” and the “Street Mix.”

Being a product of the heady 90s and the emerging technology of the time, there are a number of other remixes of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” that didn’t make the track list on this reissue, including the “Boom Mix” and “Boom Dub Mix” by Gill and Dill, the “Instrumental Street Mix,” and the “Shuffle Mix.” However, it’s worth noting that the “Shuffle Mix” was the single a-side in the US, so it’s possible that this is what is listed as the “US Mix” on the new reissue. Whatever the case, if you want all the versions you’ll have to track them down on the various CD and vinyl singles that were released in 1990.

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