News Bits: Annie Ross, Jack Charlton and Q Magazine

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-07-23)

Annie Ross passed away at the age of 89 this week. Ross rose to fame as a jazz singer in the 1950s and moved into acting later in her career. In 1993 she played an aging jazz singer in Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and one of the songs she sang in the film was written by Bono and The Edge, “Conversation On a Barstool.”

Hal Willner wrote the liner notes to the Short Cuts soundtrack, a soundtrack he produced. “This song was originally written for Marianne Faithfull by Bono and the Edge. For various reasons, a recording never came of it though Marianne has occasionally sung it live. We thought it would be a perfect song for Annie to perform as one of the main music performances in “Short Cuts”. Being huge Altman fans, U2 and Marianne enthusiastically gave their blessing. “Conversation” runs through a few sequences in the film, beginning as a performance in the Low Note Club during which Earl (Tom Waits) almost gets into a fight. The song continues switching effectively from background music to live performance.”

Willner who acts as a producer here on “Conversation” is also the producer of the upcoming AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T.Rex album which will feature U2 and Elton John performing “Bang A Gong (Get it On)” – that album is due on September 4. Willner himself passed away earlier this year.

Another recent death was that of Jack Charlton. He was an English footballer, who later coached the Republic of Ireland national team in the 80s and 90s. It was Charlton that lead the team to appearing in their first World Cup in 1990.

As part of a memorial to Charlton, radio stations in Ireland were asked to play the song “Put ‘Em Under Pressure” on Tuesday at 12:30, the day of Charlton’s funeral. All Irish stations, except for Lyric FM, halted their normal programming to play the song.

The song was produced by Larry Mullen who is an avid soccer fan. He is given writing credits as well as producing credits in the single. The song opens with Maire Brennan of Clannad, and later borrows heavily from the Horslips song “Dearg Doom,” which had in turn borrowed from the Irish fight song “O’Neill’s March”. Vocal snippets of Charlton are mixed throughout the song, taken from TV interviews.

The song was released in 1990 by U2’s Son label. It entered the charts in Ireland on May 31, 1990, and held that position at the top of the charts for a staggering 13 weeks. It was the longest running #1 in Irish history, up until the release of “Riverdance.”

Fans of Q Magazine were disappointed to learn that the magazine would fold afterall. The magazine was first published in October 1986, and had featured U2 on a number of covers. In 2011 U2 paired with Q Magazine to release (Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi) Covered an album of covers of the songs from Achtung Baby by artists like Nine Inch Nails, Snow Patrol, Patti Smith and Jack White. That album is currently getting heavy play on U2 X-Radio. U2 also contributed tracks to a number of free cover mounted CDs over the years.

The magazine had known for a while that they were at risk of folding. In 2020 the magazine was put up for sale along with a number of other titles. No buyer for the magazine came forward and the magazine planned their June 2020 issue as their final issue. At the time, however, it appeared the magazine may survive, and a new issue was prepared. That July 2020 issue will now be the final issue of the magazine, which folds after 415 issues.

The June 2020 issue that had been planned as a final issue had run an interview with Bono that was intended to be the final word in the magazine. In the interview about “lasts” Bono was asked, “When did you last buy a copy of Q?” and replied, “I’m a subscriber and read it on my iPad. I’m gonna miss it if it goes because it had everything I want from a music mag, all the serious and all the silly…the scholarship deftly done.” He was also asked if he had any last words, “There’s an expression in Ireland: ‘There’s no such thing as the last race, there’s always another day, another change. So there is no final word, there’s always tomorrow. Always.’ OK, one word…or is it two?…thank you.”

The interview is the same one where he revealed that U2’s upcoming theatre film featuring The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 would be called Heartland and would feature the band performing that song from Rattle and Hum at the foot of a Joshua Tree.

It turns out Bono wasn’t wrong, they did get another issue. It will be out next week. This time it is expected to be the final issue.

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