U2 X-Radio Launch and U2’s Mixtape

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-07-01)

U2’s new Radio Station on SiriusXM launched today at 3pm ET. The station is available to subscribers in the United States and Canada, and U2.Com has announced that they will be announcing further plans to bring some of this content to the rest of the world.

The first show was “U2’s Mixtape” which launched with Bono’s voice counting down from 10 at the start of the hour. The first track played was not even a U2 track, but the live piece of Jimi Hendrix playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” live at Woodstock, which was used on Rattle and Hum before continuing into the live version of “Bullet the Blue Sky” that followed on that album.

The full songs played were as follows on this playlist, curated by U2 themselves:

  • Star-Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix [Rattle and Hum]
  • Bullet the Blue Sky (Live) [Rattle and Hum]
  • Pride (In the Name of Love) [The Unforgettable Fire]
  • New Year’s Day (St. Francis Hotel Mix) [The Europa EP]
  • Where the Streets Have No Name [The Joshua Tree]
  • Vertigo [How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb]
  • One [Achtung Baby]
  • The Blackout [Songs of Experience]
  • I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For [The Joshua Tree]
  • I Will Follow [Boy]
  • Even Better Than The Real Thing [Achtung Baby]
  • Desire [Vegas LIVE]
  • Mysterious Ways [Achtung Baby]
  • Patti Smith – People Have the Power
  • Moment of Surrender [No Line on the Horizon]
  • City of Blinding Lights [How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb]
  • Discotheque [Pop]
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday [War]
  • When Love Comes to Town [Rattle and Hum]
  • With or Without You [The Joshua Tree]
  • Angel of Harlem [Rattle and Hum]
  • Stay (Faraway So Close) [Achtung Baby]
  • Every Breaking Wave (Acoustic) [Live track from Paris, 2015, cover shows SOI]
  • Numb (Zooropa)
  • Beautiful Day [All That You Can’t Leave Behind]
  • Bad (Edited Version) [The Unforgettable Fire]

In the information above, if an album cover was displayed we’ve included it. The tracks taken from Zooropa are showing up with the cover for Achtung Baby which also happened on the 2018 station. Zooropa was packaged as part of the 2011 reissue of Achtung Baby and it is likely that the versions being used come from that package if they are showing up with this alternate cover.

Most of the material was from the commercially released albums. The third track played however was a rarer track, a recent remix of “New Year’s Day” by St Francis Hotel, done for the 2018 tour. The remix was issued on “The Europa EP” in 2019 for Record Store Day. The track however is edited so that it ends a bit early, something that is noticed with other tracks as well. “Moment of Surrender” was edited so it started earlier and was shorter overall. “Bad” played at the end of the show was also edited in length.

The show also featured a Patti Smith song, “People Have the Power” and the song was introduced by Bono reading his fan letter to Patti Smith that debuted on U2.Com for his 60th birthday. The fan letters will be part of a reoccurring segment that will air around the clock where Bono discusses artists that made him a fan. Another reoccurring segment “On the Road” features Adam Clayton and The Edge discussing acts that have opened for them on tour, and playing their songs. The first segment of “On the Road” saw The Edge discussing Big Audio Dynamite and introducing “Rush”. This was later in the evening after the “Mixtape” had ended.

Two other songs played during the “Mixtape” were interesting. A version of “Desire” recorded at the iHeart Music Festival in Las Vegas in October 2016 aired early in the broadcast. This version has never been released in an audio format and thus was the first unreleased music heard on the station. Later in the program a live version of “Every Breaking Wave” labeled as “Acoustic” was played, with artwork that suggested it came from Songs of Innocence but it’s not a version that appears on that album. It is a live performance, done acoustically, with a full crowd. We’ve checked through the fan club releases over the years to see if we can pinpoint where this came from and it turns out it’s actually from the home video release of the Paris show from 2015, which hasn’t been released in an audio format before. (The station does have access to fan club releases, and used them in 2018, and have already played songs from “From the Ground Up” and the “U2 Go Home: Slane Castle” releases on this new station today. They also have access to material from the iTunes collection The Complete U2 and in 2018 did play some material that had only been released on video at that point.)

After the curated Mixtape, the station moved on to “Bono Calling” a station where Bono interviews and has a conversation with a guest each week. Today’s guest was Chris Rock. The program, although scheduled for a full hour in the programming grid, only lasted for about forty minutes, at which time music from U2 had started again. The music being programmed in these U2-X Radio segments is not curated by the band and features a number of tracks on rotation, unlike the earlier show which was chosen and ordered by the band. In this segment the first cover of U2 was featured, a version of Snow Patrol covering U2’s “Mysterious Ways.” Also during this segment The Edge introduced and played Fontaines D.C., “Boys in the Better Land,” and the Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” was also played, mixed with U2 songs.

Throughout the programming we regularly hear introductions to songs by U2 (Adam introduced “One”, Larry was heard doing “Discotheque”), there are spoken word pieces including Bono speaking about his love of radio over instrumental pieces from the band and more.

For more information on upcoming programming, to see all of our U2XRadio news stories, information about unreleased music played on the station, and more you can check out our discography entry pertaining to this new station.

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