Pop Reissued: Remastered, Collected, and Dreams
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-03-03)
It was announced earlier this week that U2 would reissue a number of items on vinyl, including the albums Pop and All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Today marks the 21st anniversary of Pop, first released in 1997 on March 3 in Europe and most of the world, and March 4 in North America. That album spawned a massive world tour of stadiums in 1997 and 1998. The vinyl being released on April 13 is a two vinyl set like the original and will feature remastered audio. Wait…Remastered? When did that happen? Are we getting a deluxe set soon?
Sadly the answer is no. There is no deluxe set planned at the moment, and the vinyl release of Pop will just be the album with no additional tracks.
IMAGE: Alternate covers by Four5One for Pop when it was known as 10 New Songs or 12 New Songs From U2
In 2007 to celebrate The Joshua Tree reaching its 20th anniversary, U2 assembled an archive team to work on that project and others. The project was headed up by Nick Stewart and Associates. The Nick Stewart and Associates team works in music management and promotion and is based out of London. A large focus is the marketing and promotion of catalog titles for artists. If the name Nick Stewart sounds familiar to you it should, as Nick Stewart started work for Island Records in August 1979. His first two acts signed to the label were U2 and Killing Joke. He and his team have been responsible for repacking and reissuing the back catalogs for other artists such as Rod Stewart, Dire Straits, and Elton John.
Nick Stewart and Associates was formally set up in October 2007. The release of The Joshua Tree 20th anniversary edition was the first project after the company was incorporated to find release, being issued in November 2007. Since that time Nick Stewart and Associates were responsible for work on the 2008 reissues of Boy, October, War and Under a Blood Red Sky. They also worked on The Unforgettable Fire and Achtung Baby for their 25th and 20th anniversaries in 2009 and 2011 respectively. And the team worked up until the end of 2013 on other projects for U2.
IMAGE: Alternate covers by Four5One for Pop when it was known as Miami
Three more albums were planned as part of the reissues. Rattle and Hum, All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Pop would have finished off the albums to be released under the original plan. Rattle and Hum was proving difficult with some of the limitations with the original contract with Paramount, but work had continued regardless. Research and planning was done on these albums, and as part of the work on the full collection, The Edge also participated in overseeing remastering these three albums. The group had also been working on one possible additional title which would be an archive of previously uncollected live material, and not a strict remaster of existing albums.
In 2013 with the shift in management, and the sale of Principle Management to Live Nation, the remastered / reissue project was disbanded (the recent 2017 issue of The Joshua Tree was put together by a different team under Gavin Friday’s watchful eye). Sales had been on the decline. The work on further releases was shelved for the moment. The remastering work overseen by The Edge was put aside as well. But those remasters reappeared last year when Apple reissued U2’s entire catalog digitally as part of the MFiT program for Apple. In the digital booklets accompanying that set, three stood out as they listed they had been remastered, and that The Edge had overseen the remastering, with audio engineering by Scott Sedillo. Those three were Pop, All That You Can’t Leave Behind and Rattle and Hum the same albums that had been planned to finish out the archive collection. The remasters originally done for the archive project were used in the creation of those releases. The credits list: “Directed by The Edge. Remastering Engineering by Scott Sedillo at Bernie Grundman Mastering. Audio Master Transfer Director: Declan Gaffney.” At the time work was being done on the archive program, there was no plan to go beyond All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and later albums were not worked on, and in the MFiT set, and with last years vinyl release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, that album was not remastered.
We suspect, but do not yet have confirmation, that it is these remasters that will be used for these new vinyl editions of Pop and All That You Can’t Leave Behind. We have confirmed that the 2009 remastering job of Wide Awake in America for the 25th anniversary release of The Unforgettable Fire is being used for that vinyl pressing. One interesting note? The MFiT version of All That You Can’t Leave Behind does include “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” worldwide for the first time, instead of just being a bonus track in certain regions. The albums are available in iTunes now if you wish to preview what these newly remastered versions of the albums sound like.
IMAGE: Alternate covers by Four5One for Pop when it was known as Staring at the Sun, The Sun The Moon and The Stars or Godzilla
So here we are, 21 years after Pop was released. There’s a remastered version of the album available on iTunes and coming soon on vinyl, but no deluxe set. That album has so many tracks that could be included for such a set. Its staggering when you look back at it. And we will.
Under the demos section at U2Songs we list 28 different titles for the Pop album. These include some songs that were released, or other songs that were renamed during the recording process such as “MFRR” which developed into “Mofo” and “Hymn to Mr Universe” which became “The Playboy Mansion”. The list of demos includes a number of songs we would hear later in life, such as “Scott Walker” which became “City of Blinding Lights” finally released in 2005, and “She’s Gonna Sleep Like A Baby” which finally popped up in 2014. We would love to hear some of these early versions. Who doesn’t want to hear the song “Lord of the Apple Mac”?
IMAGE: Alternate covers by Four5One for Pop when it was known as Novelty Act
There were a number of tracks by U2 that were released in that era as well, as B-Sides, or on projects such as soundtracks. “Holy Joe,” “North and South of the River,” “Pop Muzik” were all used as B-Sides to the singles from the album. Bono also participated with Larry Mullen on a song called “Dreaming With Tears In My Eyes” for a tribute album, and it is one of my favorite songs they’ve participated in. The band also recorded “I’m Not Your Baby” with Sinéad O’ Connor during this time.
U2 Tracks Used for B-Sides and Solo Outings:
- “Dreaming With Tears in My Eyes” (Studio Version) – Bono (featuring Larry Mullen) (03:40)
- “Happiness is a Warm Gun” (The Gun Mix) – U2 (04:45)
- “Holy Joe” (Garage Mix) – U2 (04:21)
- “I’m Not Your Baby” (Soundtrack Version) – U2 and Sinéad O’Connor (05:50)
- “North and South of the River” (Studio) – U2 (04:39)
- “North and South of the River” (1995 Studio Recording) – Christy Moore, Bono and The Edge (04:14)
- “Pop Muzik” (Pop Mart Mix) – U2 (08:51)
- “Slow Dancing” (Studio Version II) – U2 and Willie Nelson (04:02)
- “Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad” (Studio Version) – U2 (04:13)
- “Your Blue Room” (Studio Version) – Passengers (05:28)
The band has also recorded a number of alternate versions of the songs from Pop. On the singles from Pop a number of the songs were re-recorded while U2 were on the Pop Mart tour, and these were featured rather than the album versions on single releases. There was also a censored version of “Wake Up Dead Man” for one international market that frowned on Bono’s lyrics, which bleeped out a line of the song. Do we really need to hear that? Probably not, but we’re listing it to be complete.
A number of later recordings were also done and released as well. In 2002, Bono recorded a version of “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” with Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. And for The Best of 1990 – 2000 a number of songs were remixed by Mike Hedges for that album instead of using the original album versions.
Alternate Versions 1997:
- “Discothèque” (12” Version) – U2 (05:10)
- “If God Will Send His Angels” (Single Version) – U2 (04:35)
- “Last Night on Earth” (Single Version) – U2 (04:16)
- “Please” (Single Version) – U2 (05:49)
- “Wake Up Dead Man” (Studio Version – Censored) – U2 (04:53)
- “Discothèque” (New Mix – Mike Hedges) – U2 (04:42) 
- “Gone” (New Mix – Mike Hedges) – U2 (04:34) 
- “If You Wear that Velvet Dress” (Studio Version II) – Bono, Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra (06:22) 
- “Staring at the Sun” (New Mix – Mike Hedges) – U2 (04:49) 
Just including the above would fill 95.2 minutes of space, and mixed in with some earlier demo material it would be easy to fill out two full CDs with just this type of material.
IMAGE: Alternate covers by Four5One for Pop when it was known as Atomic, Super City Mania or You2
The album was also supported with a number of live recordings. Tracks were recorded at concerts in Rotterdam, Edmonton, Sarajevo, and Mexico City and released in audio formats. “One” live from The Tibetan Freedom Festival is also available on a compilation. We list 47 minutes below but it would be easy to make up a CD of these tracks, especially if one were to fill it out with additional tracks from Edmonton, or recordings such as “Please” at the MTV Awards which were available on DVD releases.
- “Discothèque” (Live from Mexico City, Dec. 3, 1997 – Fade In) – U2 (05:17)
- “If You Wear that Velvet Dress” (Live from Mexico City, Dec. 3, 1997 – Fade Out) – U2 (02:36)
- “Last Night on Earth” (Live from Mexico City, Dec. 3, 1997 – Fade In/Out) – U2 (06:30)
- “One” (Live from New York, NY, Jun. 7, 1997 – Fade Out) – U2 (04:50)
- “Please” (Live from Rotterdam, Jul. 18, 1997) – U2 (07:12)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Live from Rotterdam, Jul. 18, 1997 – Without Intro) – U2 (05:33)
- “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (Live from Sarajevo, Sep. 23, 1997) – U2 (03:50)
- “Where the Streets Have No Name” (Live from Rotterdam, Jul. 18, 1997) – U2 (06:33)
- “With or Without You” (Live from Edmonton, Jun. 14, 1997) – U2 (04:41)
More tracks from Mexico City are available as well on the fan club CD Hasta La Vista Baby, and on the home video release of the PopMart concert from that city.
But we’d also like to remember that there exists a full recording of the Sarajevo concert. It wasn’t Bono’s best night for his voice, but most will agree it was a monumental night in the career of the band, and I would love for it to be included if they were to ever do a box set.
IMAGE: Alternate covers by Four5One for Pop when it was known as Miami
But Pop is also remembered by fans for one other thing, the remixes. They were endless during that period. Each single and promo added more mixes. Mixes were given out to magazines, and to various artist promos. At the end of the article we will list the full list that we’ve pulled together. The total length to include all of the remixes and edits? 226.3 minutes. It would require three CDs to include all of these, but with some judicious editing a lot of these tracks could be eliminated as many are just different edits of the same mix. For those interested in more information about any of these mixes listed at the end you can find information through our By Song section for these songs.
If you’ve made it this far how many discs are we up to now? Yes, I’m far beyond wanting a two-disc archive set. Some day I’d like a full on box set. An Uber set if you will. The album remastered, two discs of B-Sides and alternate recordings, a disc of live recordings, a two disc set taken from Sarajevo, three discs of remixes, and as many demos and unreleased recordings as they could find to fill out another couple of discs. At least 10 discs should do it. Throw in some DVDs, add some fun things like some Pop Mart poker chips, or some replicas of Pop Era merchandise like the kaleidoscope, and you’d have the collection I’d really want. Sadly, for now, we have to settle for just the album on vinyl. But hopefully someday we’ll see a Pop collection of our dreams. And as a side note, the images we’ve used throughout the article are unused cover ideas for the Pop album, shared by Amp Visual in their book Stealing Hearts at a Traveling Show (written when they were still Four5One) – there’s more than enough of them to give each CD in our dream box set a unique cover don’t you think?
- “Dirty Day” (Bitter Kiss) – U2 (04:33)
- “Dirty Day” (Junk Day) – U2 (04:43)
- “Discothèque” (DM Deep Beats Mix) – U2 (03:59)
- “Discothèque” (DM Deep Club Mix) – U2 (07:01)
- “Discothèque” (DM Deep Extended Club Mix) – U2 (10:06)
- “Discothèque” (DM Deep Instrumental Mix) – U2 (06:59)
- “Discothèque” (DM TEC Club Mix) – U2 (07:21)
- “Discothèque” (DM TEC Radio Mix) – U2 (03:46)
- “Discothèque” (David Holmes Mix) – U2 (06:15)
- “Discothèque” (Hexidecimal Mix) – U2 (07:23)
- “Discothèque” (Hexidecimal Mix – Best of Edit) (05:45) – U2
- “Discothèque” (Hexidecimal Mix Edit II) – U2 (04:12)
- “Discothèque” (Howie B, Hairy B Mix) – U2 (07:40)
- “Discothèque” (Radio Edit) – U2 (04:36)
- “Happiness is a Warm Gun” (The Danny Saber Mix) – U2 (04:52)
- “Holy Joe” (Guilty Mix) – U2 (05:09)
- “If God Will Send His Angels” (The Grand Jury Mix / Big Yam Mix) – U2 (05:45)
- “If God Will Send His Angels” (Research Hook) – U2 (00:11)
- “I’m Not Your Baby” (Promo Version) – U2 and Sinéad O’ Connor (04:38)
- “I’m Not Your Baby” (Skysplitter Dub) – U2 (05:47)
- “Last Night on Earth” (First Night in Hell Mix) – U2 (05:52)
- “Mofo” (Black Hole Dub) – U2 (06:49)
- “Mofo” (House Flavour Mix) – U2 (07:19)
- “Mofo” (Matthew Roberts Explicit Remix) – U2 (08:45)
- “Mofo” (Mother’s Mix) – U2 (08:58)
- “Mofo” (Romin Remix) – U2 (05:52)
- “Mofo” (Phunk Phorce Mix) – U2 (08:46)
- “Mofo” (Phunk Phorce Edit) – U2 (05:20)
- “Numb” (The Soul Assassins Mix) – U2 (03:57)
- “Please” (Song Hook) – U2 (00:12)
- “Please” (US Edit) – U2 (03:59)
- “Please” (UK Edit) – U2 (04:31)
- “Pop Muzik” (PopMart Mix – Radio Edit) – U2 (04:04)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Brothers in Rhythm Club Mix) – U2 (09:42)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Brothers in Rhythm Ambient Mix) – U2 (05:29)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Lab Rat Mix) – U2 (05:06)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Monster Truck Mix) – U2 (05:08)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Rhythm Brothers Rmx) – U2 (04:54)
- “Staring at the Sun” (Sad Bastards Mix) – U2 (06:21)
The discography entry for the Pop album contains information about these songs and where to find them, as well as information about the album, videos, and more. Last year for the 20th anniversary of Pop U2Songs took a look at the album through a series of articles, we link them here for your interest as well:
2017-03-07 – 5 Albums: PopMart Mix! by Don Morgan
2017-03-05 – The History Mix: Pop Muzik by Aaron J Sams
2017-03-03 – You Can’t Bag It: A look at POP’s Promotional Items by Harry Kantas