The First 24-Hours on U2 X-Radio

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-07-02)

Wow! What a fun 24 hours since the U2 X-Radio station launched on SiriusXM. We know that a number of you have been listening along, but how many have heard the entire first day of the station? Want to know what happened when you were in bed? Well we’re here to break things down for you. If you haven’t been listening, you might want to check our discography entry for the station for some suggestions for attempting to connect if you should want a trial of the station. (Unfortunately it hasn’t worked for everyone, but many have had some luck trying today.)

There are a number of programs that will be semi-regular features on the station, and repeated throughout, where the songs are picked by guests. And in this case we’re including the “U2’s Mixtape” program that we detailed yesterday. We’ll save those programs for later in the article. This first section will deal what is called X-Radio in programming, the songs that are somewhat random, and not chosen by any specific DJ or guest. A number of these programs happen through the day, usually running an hour or two, with a longer session overnight.

So what did get played in those more random programming sessions?

  • 85 Studio U2 tracks (64.4%)
  • 22 Live U2 tracks (16.7%)
  • 18 Remixes or Edits of U2 tracks (13.6%)
  • 6 tracks that U2 recorded with others (4.5%)
  • 1 live track that U2 recorded with others (0.8%)

The studio tracks were mostly album cuts but there are a few rarer songs included. Six B-sides were included, but the rest were more common tracks found on albums, or in the case of “Window in the Skies” one of the compilations U2 have released. 92.9% of the unedited / unremixed songs were these more common versions. Rarities included tracks like “Xanax and Wine,” “Blow Your House Down,” “Love You Like Mad,” “Neon Lights,” and “Smile.” All of these tracks have been released, however, some only on fan club releases, or as part of The Complete U2 set on iTunes.

A number of tracks were repeated more than once in the first 24 hours. All of the following tracks were heard twice in that time: “All Because of You,” “Beautiful Day,” “Desire,” “Discotheque,” “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” “Gloria”, “In God’s Country,” “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Running to Stand Still,” “Stuck in a Moment,” “The Sweetest Thing,” “The Fly,” “The Unforgettable Fire,” “Wire,” “Yahweh,” “You’re the Best Thing,” and “Zoo Station.” Only three tracks were heard three times, “Magnificent,” “Until the End of the World,” and “Vertigo.” As mentioned some of these tracks also appeared in other programs so definitely would have appeared to have been played more on the station.

Also heard were 18 remixes or edits of album versions of the songs which made up 13.6% of the total songs heard on the station during these segments. This new station continues an issue that the 2018 station faced, “Numb (Radio Edit)” is coming up frequently in the mix. It was heard three times during these sessions (as well as being heard twice during the “Mixtape.” The full length album version of “Numb” was also heard. Time to take one of the two mixes out of the choices for the station. Two other remixes were heard twice, “Ordinary Love” (Extraordinary Mix) and “Staring at the Sun” (2002 Mix).

A handful of songs were heard on the station that featured other artists working with U2 on a track. “When Love Comes to Town” features B.B. King. “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” features a number of Irish artists with U2. “One” with Mary J. Blige appeared once, and two Passengers tracks were heard, “Theme from the Swan” and “A Different Kind of Blue.” As well, a live version of “Where the Streets Have No Name,” mixed with the voices of The Soweto Gospel Choir was played. And one of the live tracks played was “Gimme Shelter” performed by U2 with Mick Jagger and Fergie in late 2009.

Live tracks have been taken from a number of sources including the fan club gifts, “Live Songs of Innocence,” “Hasta La Vista Baby!” “U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle,” and “From the Ground Up: Edge’s Picks.” A number of songs also came from “Love: Live From the Point Depot” only released through the iTunes The Complete U2 set, as well as more common sources like Rattle and Hum and the 30th anniversary release of The Joshua Tree. Only one live track was repeated, “All Along the Watchtower” was heard twice, but it was from two different performances.

All of these U2 X-Radio segments have featured previously released material, although some of it from rarer releases such as fan club releases, or as part of The Complete U2. The only as yet unreleased track was featured as part of the “U2’s Mixtape“ program, which featured a performance taken from U2’s performance in Las Vegas in 2016 at the iHeart Festival.

Desire (Five songs chosen and introduced by Fans)

Desire is one of the reoccurring programs on the station, airing 2-3 times a day. So far three episodes have aired in the first 24-hours, and all of these featured fans picking five songs they desired to hear. All three shows were unique and featured three different fans. The fans and their choices follow:

Kelly from Hoboken:
“11 O’Clock Tick Tock,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Angel of Harlem,” “Zoo Station,” “40”

Mark from Toronto:
“Bad,” “Zooropa,” “New Year’s Day,” “Gone,” “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)”

Gretchen from Boston:
“I Will Follow,” “Seconds,” “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “All I Want is You,” “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses”

An additional seven episodes of this Desire program are planned between now and the end of the week, and we expect that each may feature a different fan. So far these do not seem to repeat. They also do not appear to be on demand. If you are interested in sending in your own five songs, SiriusXM is now taking submissions by email at desire[@]siriusxm.com.

Matthew McConaughey Plays U2

This program is an hour long special, which will feature different celebrities playing a mix of U2 songs and speaking to the SiriusXM audience. Up first was Matthew McConaughey who played a selection of songs heavy on material from the 1980s:

  • “New Year’s Day” – U2
  • “Bad” – U2
  • “Silver and Gold” – U2 (Rattle and Hum)
  • “Hawkmoon 269” – U2
  • “Love Rescue Me” – U2
  • “God Part II” – U2
  • “Pride (In the Name of Love)” – U2 (The Unforgettable Fire)
  • “Red Hill Mining Town” – U2
  • “One Tree Hill” – U2
  • “Summer of Love” – U2
  • “Elevation” – U2

This program has repeated twice in the last 24 hours, and appears to be scheduled daily from the next few days. It is also one of the programs available on demand to listen if you aren’t interested in waiting for it to appear.

Non-U2 Songs

A number of non-U2 songs were played on the station. Some of these featured introductions speaking about the band or the song by one of the members of U2. Others were played with little explanation. We’ve sorted the songs below by artist if you want to see if one of your favourites have been played. The Talking Heads were played twice here and were also played in Edge’s program. And Kendrick Lamar appears here and further down on Bono’s letters list. The other artists were only played once on the station.

  • “Devil’s Haircut” – Beck
  • “Immortality” (Demo Version) – Bee Gees
  • “Redemption Song” – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” – The Clash
  • “Fashion” – David Bowie
  • “Boys In the Better Land” – Fontaines D.C.
  • “Killing Me Softly With His Song” – The Fugees
  • “All of the Lights” – Kanye West / Rihanna
  • “All The Stars” – Kendrick Lamar / SZA
  • “Live Forever” – Oasis
  • “Monkey Gone To Heaven” – Pixies
  • “Down By the Water” – PJ Harvey
  • “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
  • “The Bends” – Radiohead
  • “Swallow My Pride” – Ramones
  • “Comeback Girl” – Republic of Loose
  • “Anarchy in the U.K.” – Sex Pistols
  • “I Wish” – Stevie Wonder
  • “Once in a Lifetime” – Talking Heads
  • “Road to Nowhere” – Talking Heads
  • “Neon Heart” – The Boomtown Rats
  • “Gloria” – Them / Van Morrison
  • “Bittersweet Symphony” – Verve

On the Road Segment

Adam Clayton and The Edge host a little segment that pops up eight times over the first 24-hours. This isn’t a program that runs a full hour, but is a quick little piece titled “On the Road” where either The Edge or Adam introduce a song that is performed by an act that once opened for U2. For the most part these seemed to rotate back and forth between The Edge and Adam speaking, and featured a wide range of artists. The introductions are short, only a couple of minutes. The full list that aired in the first 24-hours is below in the order they appeared.

  • “Rush” – Big Audio Dynamite (The Edge)
  • “Evil” – Interpol (Adam)
  • “Television, The Drug of the Nation” – Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (Adam)
  • “Black Skinhead” – Kanye West (The Edge)
  • “Rebellion (Lies)” – Arcade Fire (Adam)
  • “The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver” – Elbow (The Edge)
  • “Birthday” – Sugarcubes (Adam)
  • “You’ve Got the Love” – Florence & The Machine (Adam)

Even Better Segment

Another segment that pops up throughout the programming is the Even Better segment. This features either a cover of a U2 song by another artist, or features U2 covering someone else’s song. To date four covers of U2 were played, and only one cover by U2 was played under this title, although if you look at the lists above, you can see other covers by U2 were played such as “Neon Lights.” The five tracks played as part of the Even Better segment are:

  • “Mysterious Ways” – Snow Patrol
  • “Paint it Black” – U2
  • “Love is Blindness” – Jack White
  • “Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around the World” – The Fray
  • “Bullet the Blue Sky” – All Tvvins

Bono’s Fan Letter Segment

Remember the fan letters Bono wrote and shared for his 60th birthday? He addressed a number of artists past and present by writing them a letter. He is reading these out loud on the station, and over the past 24-hours two of these letters were read, and each was heard two times:

  • “People Have the Power” – Patti Smith
  • XXX.” – Kendrick Lamar

Like “On the Road” and “Even Better” these just pop up, and are not seen in the schedule, so are a little harder to keep track of. You’ll need to listen a bit more to find these. But they are repeating them a few times.

Edge’s “Close to the Edge” Program with David Byrne

The Edge is hosting his own show, “Close to the Edge” and it’s been aired twice in the first 24-hours. This is a scheduled program, so it is easy to tune in when it is on, and it is also one of the offerings on demand. The program lasts approximately an hour and features The Edge talking to a guest. The first episode featured David Byrne in discussion with The Edge. This program featured three songs during the program.

  • “Strange Overtones” – David Byrne
  • “Life During Wartime” – Talking Heads
  • “One” – U2

New episodes of “Close to the Edge” are expected to show up monthly.

Bono’s “Bono Calling” Program with Chris Rock

Also airing twice in the first 24-hours is Bono’s program, “Bono Calling” where he speaks with a celebrity. The first guest is Chris Rock. Like the Edge program, this will be a scheduled program, and is available on demand.

One side note, one piece of content we haven’t mentioned to date is Bono’s “Ode to Radio” which has aired five times in 24-hours. This short spoken piece sees Bono discussing radio while an instrumental backing taken from Songs of Innocence is heard in the background. The piece is very short and pops up throughout the day with no advance warning. A similar piece, where Bono talks about pirate radio features in the “U2’s Mixtape” program about an hour and 30 minutes into that program.

U2’s Mixtape and Upcoming Shows

The final scheduled program that we’ve heard to date, this two hour mix of U2 songs launched the show, and the songs and the order of the songs were chosen by U2 themselves. It features additional jingles, sound bites, and interview footage. The full two hour mix has been played twice in the first 24-hours, and will play daily to at least to the end of the week. Yesterday we ran down some information about “U2’s Mixtape” including a list of songs that were played during the program as chosen by U2.

A number of shows have not yet debuted. Over the next few days we’ll see “Elevation” appear on Sunday at 10:00 ET, a weekly show celebrating good news and ideas from science, medicine, faith and the arts, hosted by Irish DJ John Kelly. (First guest, civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson). Friday night at 18:00 ET will see the debut of “Discoth√®que” a dance-oriented show of U2 remixes and club mixes, hosted by Paul Oakenfold. And we will also get the debut of “The Dan Hegarty Show” where Irish Radio DJ Dan Hegarty hosts a show where he plays his favourite U2 songs along with tracks from new and breaking Irish artists. Hegarty’s show airs on Saturday at 15:00 ET. If you want to keep track of these programs as they debut, we are attempting to track the newer content as it appears in our discography entry for the station, where you’ll also find a full list of our news stories, and links to press from outside the site.

Live content is also expected, and the first live show is airing as we right this, and will repeat later this evening. The show that kicks off the live content is the show U2 performed for SiriusXM in June 2018 for SiriusXM contest winners. So far the next live content to be featured has not been revealed. And it sounds like other surprises are still being planned, as DJs on The Spectrum have spoken to say that all four members of U2 will eventually have programs on the station.

We plan on publishing regular updates on the content of SiriusXM. Please join us here on the site, or on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the most recent updates.

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