The History Mix: Passengers Distinctive Forms
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2018-02-16)
It isn’t very often we find new versions of older songs, and it is always a joy when we do. Thanks to Arthem Kouzmin we have found a new version of a song from the Passengers album, “One Minute Warning”.
Passengers was a project that U2 worked with Brian Eno on, and as Eno was considered as part of the band they renamed themselves Passengers for the album. The album was a collection of songs for imaginary films, and the booklet went into detail about the various films. But not all of the films were imaginary, and some of the tracks appeared in real films.
- “Always Forever Now” appeared in Heat, and “Plot 180” appeared in a deleted scene from that movie.
- “Your Blue Room” and “Beach Sequence” appeared in Par-dela les nuages / Beyond the Clouds
- “One Minute Warning” appeared in Ghost in the Shell
“One Minute Warning” in the film was the same version that features on the Passengers album Original Soundtracks 1. The song in the movie is the same as the album. There are multiple versions of the movie, and the original Japan release and the 2.0 Version don’t include “One Minute Warning” at all. But the English version of the film, and the DVD / Blu Ray releases of the original English movie include the song.
So where is the new version of the song? In November 1996, to celebrate the one year anniversary of the film, BMG in Japan through their LiPop label released Ghost in the Shell Project 2501: The Real Image Album Collection. Real Image Albums were popular in Japan at the time and would contain dialog and sound effects from the film along with music from the soundtrack. The last song on the album is “One Minute Warning” but it is not the version from the film and the Passengers album. Instead this version has alternate instrumentation throughout the song, and instead of the chorus of male voices at the end singing the lyrics, we only hear Holi. The song is slightly longer than the original by 20 seconds, and the lyrics repeat the line “A lonesome soul” additional times at the end.
If you are interested in tracking down the original CD that this one appears on we recommend you check out our discography entry, as unfortunately there are a number of bootleg pressings of this item in Asia. That discography entry is now available and will help you sort out which is the legitimate pressing.
I’ve long been a fan of the Passengers album, and the last thing I expected to be listening to this week is a new version of one of those songs. Thank you Arthem for bringing this to our attention. The extended “soundtrack” version of the song can be heard below, but please note this version has added guitar above and beyond the soundtrack mix, added by the person who uploaded to SoundCloud.
AUDIO: “One Minute Warning” (Soundtrack Version)
As part of a History Mix, we like to look back at a variety of related items, so what other alternate versions of Passengers songs are out there? Turns out there are quite a few. One of the more well known also comes from a soundtrack, this time for the movie Heat. That film uses “Always Forever Now” in the film, and it appears on the accompanying soundtrack. Like the version of “One Minute Warning” the soundtrack version of “Always Forever Now” is longer in length, this time adding an extra 32 seconds of music to the song. The soundtrack to Heat was released in the US in December 1995, just weeks after the Passengers album was released. Another Passengers track, “Plot 180” was used in a deleted scene from that movie, and does not appear on the soundtrack album.
VIDEO: “Always Forever Now” (Soundtrack Version)
Two other songs from the Passengers album appear in film as altered versions. The 1995 film Par-delà les nuages (Beyond the Clouds) by directors Michelangelo Antonioni and Wim Wenders would use the Passengers album in two different scenes in the film. No soundtrack to the movie was released, but the film features pretty complete versions of both tracks.
VIDEO: “Beach Sequence” (Instrumental Film Version)
The first song is “Beach Sequence” and although mostly an instrumental on the Passengers album, we do hear a male voice that says “Time shoots on by” in the lyrics on the album version. In the movie there are no lyrics, but otherwise there are little differences between the two versions.
The movie also uses “Your Blue Room” over the closing credits of the film. They open with a bit of rain from the film over top, but then continue as the credits roll. They remove Adam’s vocal from the end of the song, and instead loop back to the opening verse by Bono at the end.
VIDEO: “Your Blue Room” (Film Version)
“Miss Sarajevo” exists in a couple of different edits. The album version is 5:40 in length, and the single version of the song was cut down to 05:21. An edit for radio is cut down even further at 04:32 in length. There was also an edit done for radio of “Your Blue Room” running 04:32 vs the album version at 05:28. There have been live versions of both released over the years as well on different U2 projects. We won’t focus on those for long as they are well documented elsewhere on the site.
“Elvis: American David” is the name of a poem that Bono had written, and for the Passengers album turned into one of the songs, “Elvis Ate America”. But the poem itself featuring many of the same lines has been read by Bono on a couple of occasions as well.
The first time it was read as a poem was for the Elvis Lives! special, a prime-time special on NBC in the fall of 2002. The show was a mix of commentary and performances that paid tribute to Elvis. Bono reads the poem aloud. On the performance the poem was just called “American David” and Bono is seen reciting the poem over photos and footage of Elvis.
VIDEO: Bono recites Elvis: American David
In 2009 Bono once again read the poem aloud, this time on BBC Radio 4 as part of a tribute program that aired on May 13. The poem was mixed with music, and sound clips of Elvis speaking. This newer version includes additional material not found in “Elvis Ate America” or the earlier reading of the poem on Elvis Lives! and runs just over 14 minutes in length and can be listened to on the BBC site. These readings of “American David” have not been released.
Personal admission? When Bono mentions Elvis’ middle name Aaron? At one point I used a recording of Bono saying that as part of my answering machine message where it asks for your name.
Where did U2 go next? It wasn’t long after the Passengers album was released, that the band started finishing work on Pop, originally planned for a Fall 1996 release. A few years ago director Richie Smyth shared some promotional videos he shot in mid-1996, titled the Hong Kong Mixes, and featuring the band cut with scenes from old movies. The footage features some interesting alternate versions of “Mofo”, “The Playboy Mansion / Don’t Let Me Down”, “Discotheque” and “I’m Not Your Baby”. With the focus on Pop the last few days from official U2 social media accounts we couldn’t resist sharing these.
VIDEO: Pop Demos Hong Kong Mixes