Four Weeks of SiriusXM

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-06-28)

The good news is that U2’s station on SiriusXM is going to continue. It has been renewed for another month, and will carry on until the end of July. It has been on the air since June 1, 2018. We thought we’d take a look at some of the stats on what has been played to date.

Since first airing, up until midnight last night, we were able to count 7094 tracks that were played during that time. This is audio tracks, and does not include interview footage, or special programming like the Apollo concert. Of that amount, 65.2% of the tracks aired to date have been album tracks. (We’ve chosen to include Passengers, but are not including Under a Blood Red Sky as we will count that with the live albums.)

An additional 13.3% of the tracks have been live audio, recorded in concert from a number of sources including fan club releases, iTunes only releases, and the “PopHeart” EP.

The remainder 21.4% have been b-sides or tracks from deluxe versions of the album. This does include some live material as some live footage has been featured on these deluxe versions, but the amount is low.


The three most played albums on the service to date have been Songs of Experience (12.0% of the album tracks), All That You Can’t Leave Behind (11.0% of the album tracks) and Achtung Baby (9.7% of the album tracks.) The albums receiving the least amount of play? Boy is almost getting no play at just 1.7% of the album tracks. Following that, the least played albums are the Passengers album (2.4% of the album tracks) and Songs of Innocence (3.4% of the album tracks). Perhaps surprising is that the album Rattle and Hum is getting the fourth highest amount of play on the service, which may be due to the contest requiring people to call in when they heard “Angel of Harlem” to quality for entrance to the concert at the Apollo.

Every album track has been played on the Sirius XM broadcast with the exception of two. “Into the Heart” and “Shadows and Tall Trees” have both been skipped from the album Boy. “Shadows and Tall Trees” is being played but it is the demo version from the deluxe edition that has been used and not the original album version. Likewise, “Into the Heart” is being played through live versions of the song, but the studio version has yet to air.

With Boy the most popular song being played to date is “Out of Control” — appearing 33 times in four weeks. The next most popular is a tie between “A Day Without Me” and “I Will Follow” with seven plays each. And next to the two tracks not played at all, “Into the Heart” and “Shadows and Tall Trees,” “Twilight” is the next lowest played with just 3 plays in four weeks. Of note, is that the single version of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” from the deluxe edition of Boy has been played 34 times, more than anything on the album itself, and the single version of “Out of Control” had an additional 15 plays.

October is well represented with several songs getting heavy play on the station. “Gloria” comes in at 90 plays in four weeks, “Fire” at 56 and “October” at 38. “Scarlet” is the lowest played, having just been played once, but “With A Shout” (2 plays) and “I Threw a Brick Through a Window” (3 plays) aren’t far behind. “Trash, Trampoline And the Party Girl,” a B-side from the era included on the deluxe version of October was played 37 times.

For War the most played songs are “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Two Hearts Beat As One,” both with 85 plays in total on the station. Next is “Surrender” at 48. “New Year’s Day” is perhaps a surprise with only 24 plays for the album version of the song, however when you add in the single edit from the Deluxe version of War (27 plays) and the Japanese single version from The Best of 1980 – 1990 (26 plays) you end up at 77 plays in total putting it just behind “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Two Hearts Beat As One” in play count. The least played track from War? “Drowning Man” at only four plays, followed closely by “Red Light” (5 plays) and “Seconds” (6 plays.)

The Unforgettable Fire album has a surprising most played song, unlike the earlier albums, it wasn’t a single, and “Wire” is the most played at 64 plays, followed closely by “The Unforgettable Fire” (56 plays) and “A Sort of Homecoming” (38 plays). If you add in plays of the single and album versions of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” that song ties with “The Unforgettable Fire” at 56 plays, but by itself the album version has only been played 30 times. The least played song on the album? “4th of July” at five plays. “Love Comes Tumbling” a B-Side included on the deluxe version of the album has been played more than any song on the album, at 68 plays to date.

The Joshua Tree shows up with “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Red Hill Mining Town” neck in neck for the lead, with “Bullet” having been played 88 times, and “Red Hill Mining Town” being played 87. However, if you combine the three different studio versions of “Where the Streets Have No Name” that song does come out ahead with 102 plays in four weeks. The B-Side from The Joshua Tree getting the most play is “The Sweetest Thing” which was later re-recorded and released as a single by itself. Only two songs have been played less than ten times from the album, “Trip Through Your Wires” (6 times) and “Mothers of the Disappeared” (9 times to date.)

Rattle and Hum‘s final single “All I Want is You” is being played the most, at 73 plays so far, but “Desire” is right behind it at 72 plays. “God Part II” is the third highest played at 65 plays. Least played? “Van Diemen’s Land” (6 plays) and “Love Rescue Me” (7 plays). Rattle and Hum also features a number of live tracks in the mix, and the two played most often are “Silver and Gold” and “All Along the Watchtower” both having been played 32 times to date. Neither “Freedom for my People” or “The Star Spangled Banner” have been played on the SiriusXM station, but neither track was recorded by U2. (Sirius has played “The Star Spangled Banner” from the Dublin 1989 concert.)

Achtung Baby has “Mysterious Ways” with 72 plays, “Zoo Station” at 71 plays, and “Even Better Than the Real Thing” at 68 plays. “Acrobat,” “Love is Blindness,” “So Cruel,” and “Ultraviolet” are all being heard less often at five plays each. Zooropa is being played but is showing as the artwork for Achtung Baby, this is likely because Zooropa was included in the 2011 edition of Achtung Baby. Both “Zooropa” and “The Wanderer” are played frequently with 62 and 60 plays. “Dirty Day” is getting the least play, having only been played 3 times in total. Perhaps surprising is “Numb”, although the album version has only been played 48 times, the single edit is played 47 times as well, making it one of the most played songs on the station. (The 2002 mix from The Best of 1990 – 2000 has also been played three times.)

Pop only has one song that has broken through 40 plays, and it is “Last Night on Earth” with 71 plays. The next most played songs are “Discotheque” with 39 plays, and “Please” with 38 plays. “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” is getting the least attention, with only 3 plays, although five songs on the album come in with under 10 plays in total.

The most played album after Songs of Experience is All That You Can’t Leave Behind. “Beautiful Day” has been played 70 times, followed closely by “New York” at 67 plays, “Wild Honey” at 63 plays, and “Stuck in a Moment” at 62 plays. Least played? “Grace”, the only song heard less than 10 times on the album, having only been played 4 times since the broadcast began. Some albums like All That You Can’t Leave Behind have high play numbers for the entire album, but that’s not the case with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, here, “Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own” has 87 plays, “Vertigo” has 63, and “City of Blinding Lights” has 51. Everything else has been played less than 25 times. Wrapping up the decade, “Magnificent” leads the way for songs from No Line on the Horizon with 80 plays, with “Get On Your Boots” coming in at 57. “White as Snow” gets little play at 5 plays in total.

Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are at opposite extremes when it comes to play. Songs of Innocence is the 3rd least played album after Passengers and Boy. And Songs of Experience is the most played since the service started. “Song for Someone” has been played most often at 42 plays followed by “Iris (Hold Me Close)” at 20 plays and “California” and “Volcano” both played 18 times. Of note, a song that was released on the deluxe version only, “Lucifer’s Hands” also has been played 20 times since the service has started. With Songs of Experience, each song is being introduced by special interview clips discussing the songs, and the balance of all of the songs on the album has been fairly even with most songs having been played around 45 times since the Sirius broadcast began. “Lights of Home” has only been played 23 times, but the St. Peters Strings version has been played the same amount, bringing it into the 45 range as well. The song that has been played the most? “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way” at 58 plays, unless you want to consider a song only on the deluxe version, “Ordinary Love” has been played 76 times. “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its way” was a surprise to me, as only two weeks ago it was one of the least played songs on the service, so frequency of it being played has definitely increased in the last two weeks.

The overall most played album track (unique edit) is “Gloria” with 90 plays over four weeks. “Bullet the Blue Sky” is second with 88 plays, and “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” and “Red Hill Mining Town” are next with 87 plays over four weeks. However when you start counting different edits of the same track, other songs such as “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “Numb” with multiple edits being played soon take over from these songs.

Live Material

The live material being played on the station comes from a number of sources, and makes up about 17% of the content being played on air. Some of this material is included on the albums mentioned above such as the live material that makes up Rattle and Hum. Other is taken from various releases throughout the years.

The most played live music is being taken from the Dublin concert held on December 31, 1989, just as the clock struck midnight and the new decade started with a U2 show. 12% of all of the live tracks are being taken from that concert, which previously has only been released on iTunes as part of “The Complete U2”. The next biggest source of live tracks is the live fan club compilation, U22, documenting the U2360 tour (9.6% of live tracks), followed by the Live in Sydney release documenting Zoo TV and Rattle and Hum. (8.9% of the live tracks each).

The list of live sources is as follows:

U2 Releases:

  • U2 Under a Blood Red Sky (1983 Album)
  • U2 Rattle and Hum Album (1988 Album)
  • U2 “PopHeart” EP (1997)
  • U2 “Elevation” Single (2000) [“I Will Follow” (Live from Irving Plaza)]
  • U2 “Wide Awake in Europe” EP, 2010
  • U2 Paris 1987, (From The Joshua Tree 20th Anniversary, 2007)
  • U2 New York City 1987, (From The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary, 2017)
  • Deluxe editions of U2’s albums

Fan Club Gifts:

  • U2 Hasta La Vista Baby (Fan Club Gift, 2000)
  • U2 Communication (Fan Club Gift, 2006)
  • U2 Zoo TV Live from Sydney (Fan Club Gift, 2007)
  • U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle (Fan Club Gift, 2008)
  • U2 U22 (Fan Club Gift, 2012)
  • U2 From the Ground Up (Fan Club Gift, 2013)
  • U2 Another Time Another Place (Fan Club Gift, 2015)

From iTunes:

  • U2 “Live from Boston 1981” (iTunes, The Complete U2, 2004)
  • U2 “Live from Under the Brooklyn Bridge” (iTunes, 2004)
  • U2 “Love: Live from the Point Depot” (iTunes, The Complete U2, 2004)
  • U2 & Paul McCartney “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (iTunes, 2005)


  • Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Concerts (2010 Album)

The only tracks that have been heard that have not been commercially released in an audio format is “Zooropa” (Live from Paris, 2015) which is taken from the home video recording from the Innocence + Experience tour, and a recording of “Vertigo” taken from the Apollo show on May 11, 2018, which is also airing as part of the full program.

Rarities and Alternate Edits

The rare tracks that are being played come from the following sources:

  • Deluxe versions of Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, Achtung Baby (the Uber Box), Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience
  • “Invisible” is the iTunes released (RED) Edit of the song
  • “Stateless” from the Million Dollar Hotel Soundtrack
  • Fan Club Releases: Duals, and Medium, Rare and Remastered
  • Compilations U218 Singles, The Best of 1980 – 1990, and The Best of 1990 – 2000
  • The iTunes release of U2’s Demos EP
  • “Take Me to the Clouds Above” (Played 23 times, taken from the single of the same name credited to LMC vs U2)
  • “One” by Mary J. Blige and U2, available as a single, and also on her album, The Breakthrough

No studio tracks have been heard that have not been commercially released to date, although many of these releases are becoming difficult to find by themselves. The Complete U2 has not been available for a number of years on iTunes.

< Next News Entry | Previous News Entry > was formerly known as Follow us on Twitter | Facebook