Other Voices on U2 X-Radio

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

Not only are U2 getting a lot of play on U2 X-Radio, they’ve also shared a lot of songs that are not their own on the station. This includes covers of their music, music they have been inspired by, and some tracks that seem a bit more random. The first music heard on the station was “Star-Spangled Banner” by Jimi Hendrix, which hearkens back to an era when radio and television stations around the world would begin their programming day by playing the national anthem before many of them moved to round the clock coverage. U2 think of everything don’t they?

There are several segments that focus on music from these other artists, we’ll look at these show by show before looking at the larger more random play.

For more information about the station we have looked at what U2 tracks are being aired, we are keeping an episode guide of major programs, and we have a general information site where all our coverage can be found in the discography.

Bono’s Fan Letters

Back in May, Bono revealed he had written sixty fan letters, to artists who inspire him. Each singled out a song. And each was accompanied by a written letter. For U2 X-Radio, Bono has recorded these as audio clips which are played ahead of the song. Since launch, there has been a new letter each day. They switch over at midnight ET, and each day they change which artist is featured. The exception to this has been Patti Smith who was featured as part of “U2’s Mixtape” and has been heard every day on the station as part of that mixtape when it plays.

The artists featured to date and the song featured are as follows:

  • July 1: Patti Smith “People Have the Power”
  • July 2: Kendrick Lamar “XXX.” (although “All of the Stars” was featured once instead)
  • July 3: Bob Dylan “Most of the Time”
  • July 4: Lady Gaga “Born This Way”
  • July 5: Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  • July 6: Alicia Keys and Jay-Z: “Empire State of Mind”
  • July 7: Bruce Springsteen: “There Goes My Miracle”

Each repeats throughout the day, and these segments have been heard between 5 and 8 times in a day’s rotation.

On the Road

These segments have been heard several times a day since the station launch. Each segment features Adam or The Edge speaking about a band who have opened for U2 over the years. They then play a song by each artist that they discuss. In some cases one artist has been discussed and there have been multiple songs played by that artist. Below is the list to date in alphabetical order by artist:

  • Arcade Fire: “Wake Up” and “Rebellion (Lies)” (introduced by Adam)
  • Big Audio Dynamite: “Rush” (x3) (introduced by The Edge)
  • Black Eyed Peas: “Boom Boom Pow” (introduced by Adam)
  • Disposable Heroes of Hiphophrisy: “Television, The Drug of a Nation” (introduced by Adam)
  • Elbow: “The Lonliness of a Tower Crane Driver” (introduced by The Edge)
  • Florence & The Machine: “You’ve Got The Love” (introduced by Adam)
  • Kings of Leon: “Use Somebody” and “Sex On Fire” (introduced by The Edge)
  • Interpol: “Evil” and “PDA” (introduced by Adam)
  • Sugarcubes: “Hit” and “Birthday” (introduced by Adam)
  • Kanye West: “All of the Lights” and “Black Skinhead” (x2) (introduced by The Edge)

To date, Big Audio Dynamite and Kanye West have been featured most frequently, each segment airing three times. Adam has been heard doing six introductions, and The Edge has been heard doing four introductions to date.

Even Better

Another segment that appears randomly through the day is the “Even Better” segment where we hear other artists covering U2, or sometimes even U2 covering other artists.

  • “Bullet the Blue Sky” – All Tvvins
  • “The Fly” – Gavin Friday
  • “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – Imelda May (x2)
  • “In God’s Country” – The Academic
  • “Love is Blindness” – Jack White (x2)
  • “Mysterious Ways” – Snow Patrol (x2)
  • “Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World” – The Fray (x2)
  • “Running to Stand Still” – Kodaline
  • “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” – The Killers (x2)
  • “Where the Streets Have No Name” – Gavin James
  • “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” – Garbage (x2)
  • “With or Without You” – Picture This
  • “Zoo Station” – Nine Inch Nails (x2)

To date all of the covers are being drawn from two compilation albums, (Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi) Covered from 2011, where artists covered songs from Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree: New Roots, where artists from Ireland covered songs from The Joshua Tree. Both “Until the End of the World” by Patti Smith and “Acrobat” by Glasvegas from the (Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi) Covered album have been played as part of the random mix of songs as well, but were not listed as part of this Even Better segment.

Other Shows

Other shows are special on the station and are more curated than the random mix heard at other times. We’ve chosen to break these down here. Dan Hegarty will play non-U2 music with a focus on up and coming Irish artists. The music played by The Edge on his show will likely reflect his guest for the week (for the first episode it was David Byrne.)

The Dan Hegarty Show:

  • “Seven” by Just Mustard
  • “Red Hill Mining Town” by Aine Cahill
  • “Televised Mind” by Fontaines DC
  • “Chaila” by Denise Chaila
  • “Darkest Ocean” by All Tvvins

John Kelly’s Elevation Show:

  • “Sunday Morning” – Julie London
  • “People Have the Power” – Candi Station
  • “Way Down in the Hole” – The Blind Boys of Alabama
  • “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” – Charlie Haden / Hank Jones
  • “They Won’t Go When I Go” – Stevie Wonder
  • “Yankee Doodle Dandy (Piano Version)” – James Cagney

The Edge’s Close to the Edge Show:

  • “Strange Overtones” – David Byrne
  • “Hell You Talmbout” – David Byrne (covering a Janelle Monae song)
  • “Life During Wartime” – Talking Heads

Paul Oakenfold’s “Discotheque” show also featured a number of non-U2 tracks. Details on that program can be found here, including a list of songs played on the first episode.

U2 X-Radio Segments and U2’s Mixtape

In this part of the radio broadcast, things are run without a host. Songs play with clips of the band and promos for different things intermingled. This has been the biggest selection of material by other artists to date. But a look at the songs won’t suprise many of us, many of these songs are familiar through pre-show playlists, artists and songs that Bono have discussed, a number of Irish artists, and acts that have opened for U2 and worked with U2 in the past.

First up a look at the U2 solo material and the Passengers material played:

  • “Falling at Your Feet” – Bono with Daniel Lanois
  • “Miserere” (Live) – Bono, Pavarotti, Zucchero
  • “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” – Frank Sinatra with Bono
  • “Theme from Mission: Impossible” – Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton
  • “One” – Mary J. Blige with U2
  • “A Different Kind of Blue” – Passengers
  • “Miss Sarajevo” – Passengers (x3)
  • “One Minute Warning” – Passengers
  • “Plot 180” – Passengers
  • “Slug” – Passengers
  • “Ito Okashi” – Passengers
  • “Elvis Ate America” – Passengers
  • “Theme from the Swan” – Passengers
  • “United Colours” – Passengers
  • “Your Blue Room” – Passengers (x5)

Bono also wrote a few songs that are in the list below, notably “Time Enough for Tears” by The Corrs, and “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart” by Sinead O’Connor. Both were co-written with Gavin Friday.

Finally this is the list of non-U2 tracks played outside of these segments. We’ve sorted them by artist so you can quickly have a look to see if a favourite has been played. To date The Clash have appeared most often on the station and their song “The Magnificent Seven” has been played the most at 14 plays since the station launched. Of the artists played in these segments 26.5% have been Irish acts. There is a heavy Irish influence throughout the channel in what other artists are being aired, to the high percentage here, to Dan Hegarty’s focus on new and upcoming Irish acts.

The full list of what we’ve heard is listed below, as of 7:00 ET:

  • Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
  • Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”
  • Arcade Fire” – “Rebellion (Lies)” and “Wake Up”
  • Aretha Franklin – “Respect”
  • Ash – “Shining Light”
  • Aslan – “This Time” (Live)
  • Badly Drawn Boy – “Once Around the Block”
  • Beck – “Devil’s Haircut” (x2)
  • Bee Gees – “Immortality” (Demo)
  • Beyonce / Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”
  • Big Audio Dynamite – “Rush”
  • Billie Eilish – “bad guy” and “everything i wanted” (x2)
  • Black Grape – “In the Name of the Father,” “Kelly’s Heroes,” and “Reverend Black Grape” (x3)
  • Bloc Party – “Banquet”
  • Blue Nile – “A Walk Across the Rooftops” (x2) and “Tinseltown in the Rain”
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry,” “Redemption Song” (x3) and “Three Little Birds”
  • Broken Bells – “The High Road”
  • Catfish and the Bottlemen – “Kathleen”
  • Christy Moore – “North And South of the River” (Graffiti Tongue Version)
  • Clannad – “Theme from Harry’s Game”
  • Clash – “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” “Safe European Home” (x2) and “The Magnificent Seven” (x14)
  • Coldplay – “The Scientist,” “Fix You,” and “Clocks” (x2)
  • Cranberries – “Linger”
  • Crowded House – “Don’t Dream it’s Over”
  • Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
  • David Bowie – “Fashion,” “Heroes,” and “Life on Mars” (x2)
  • Dermot Kennedy – “Outnumbered”
  • Elton John – “Daniel”
  • Elvis Presley – “Heartbreak Hotel” (x2)
  • Florence & The Machine – “You’ve Got the Love”
  • Fontaines D.C. – “Boys in the Better Land”
  • Gilbert O’Sullivan – “Get Down”
  • Glen Hansard and Marketa Iglova – “Falling Slowly”
  • Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy”
  • Gorillaz – “Feel Good Inc.”
  • Horslips – “Dearg Doom”
  • Hothouse Flowers – “Love Don’t Work this Way”
  • Imelda May / Jeff Beck – “Black Tears”
  • Jacknife Lee / Earl St. Clair / Beth Ditto – “I’m Getting Tired”
  • Jay-Z / Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”
  • Jimi Hendrix – “The Star-Spangled Banner” (x5) and Little Wing
  • John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band – “Mother”
  • Johnny Cash – “Hurt”
  • Joy Division – “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (x2)
  • Kanye West – “Black Skinhead” and “All of the Lights” (with Rihanna)
  • Kate Bush – “Running Up That Hill”
  • Kendrick Lamar and SZA – “All The Stars”
  • Killers – “The Man”
  • Lady Gaga – “Born this Way”
  • Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”
  • Lorde – “Royals” (x2)
  • Lou Reed – “Satellite of Love” (x2) and “Walk on the Wild Side” (x2)
  • Madonna – “Ray of Light”
  • Massive Attack – “Unfinished Sympathy”
  • MGMT – “Electric Feel”
  • Murder Capital – “More is Less”
  • New Radicals – “You Get What You Give”
  • Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
  • Oasis – “Live Forever”
  • Patti Smith – “Gloria” (x3) and “People Have the Power”
  • Pearl Jam – “Jeremy”
  • Peter Frampton – “Show Me the Way”
  • Pixies – “Monkey Gone to Heaven” (x3)
  • PJ Harvey – “Down by the Water” (x2)
  • Prince – “When Doves Cry” (x2) and “Little Red Corvette”
  • Public Enemy – “Fight the Power” (x2)
  • R.E.M. – “Nightswimming”
  • Radiohead – “Karma Police” and “The Bends” (x2)
  • Rage Against the Machine – “Renegades of Funk”
  • Ramones – “Swallow My Pride” (x2)
  • Republic of Loose – “Comeback Girl”
  • Rod Stewart – “Maggie May”
  • Rollng Stones – “Ruby Tuesday”
  • Ryan Vail / Elma Orkestra – “Am I Sad (Live)”
  • Sam Fender – “Hypersonic Missiles” (x2)
  • Santigold – “Disparate Youth”
  • Sault – “Don’t Waste My Time”
  • Sex Pistols – “Anarchy in the U.K.”
  • Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla
  • Simon & Garfunkel – “The Sounds of Silence”
  • Sinead O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2U” and “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart”
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Cities in Dust” (x2)
  • Sly & The Family Stone – “Sing a Simple Song”
  • Snow Patrol – “Run”
  • Sorcha Richardson – “Ruin Your Night”
  • St Francis Hotel with Waterstrider – “We Fall Together (We Fall Apart)”
  • St. Vincent – “Los Ageless”
  • Stevie Wonder – “I Wish”
  • Talking Heads – “Once in a Lifetime” and “Borderline”
  • The Beatles – “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
  • The Blades – “Downmarket”
  • The Boomtown Rats – “Neon Heart”
  • The Coronas – “One Tree Hill”
  • The Corrs – “Time Enough for Tears”
  • The Fugees – “Killing Me Softley With His Song” (x4)
  • The Raconteurs – “Steady, As She Goes”
  • Them / Van Morrison – “Gloria” (x2)
  • Van Morrison – “Astral Weeks” and “Wild Night”
  • Verve – “Bittersweet Symphony”

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