U2’s Discography 2019 Review

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2019-12-31)

As always at the end of the year we like to take a little look back at the U2 discography. We’ve been maintaining a discography of U2 releases since 1995 online, and next year is our twenty fifth year doing this. Longer if you count Aaron, Brad and Harry’s discography keeping before it went online. First up we’ll have a list of new items added to U2’s discography this year, including U2, and solo projects. We’ll then look at a few entries we added this year for releases from a prior year. If you are looking to see what you may have missed out on this year, this is a great place to start. We did a similar run down in 2018. (2018’s is available here.)

New Discography Entries for 2019 Releases:

These are new entries added to the discography here for projects that were first released in 2019. This includes solo projects, singles, and promotional releases that were first released in 2019. If you click on the images with each item, you will be taken to the discography entry for that release where you can find out more information about each release.

U2 New Releases

New releases are anything that U2 has released for the first time ever this year, under the U2 name. It doesn’t include side projects, or material that was issued in previous years. In 2019, U2 continued the release of material mostly in digital only formats when it comes to releasing singles. And unscrupulous bootleggers have taken advantage of that pressing low quality CDR versions of these releases, and selling them on eBay. None of the items below have been produced in CDR for promotion. Physical releases continue to happen on Record Store Day events, held in April, and in November of each year. This year U2 released one new item (“The Europa EP”) and one reissue (“Three”) for these events.

“Every Breaking Wave” Commercial Single (January 18, 2019)
Four years after the song was initially released, the “New Radio Mix” was finally released for commercial sale on digital storefronts, including stores selling uncompressed tracks, and streaming services. When it was added to many stores it was backdated to show as an earlier release, but it was first added in 2019. Prior to that it was only available to U2.com subscribers as a free download at a low bitrate.

“The Europa EP” Commercial EP (April 13, 2019)
A three track vinyl EP released for Record Store Day, this EP had a live version of “Love is All We Have Left” and “New Year’s Day” taken from the 2018 Experience and Innocence tour on the A-Side of the vinyl. On the reverse, were two remixes, one for each song. The St. Francis Hotel Mix of “New Year’s Day” recalls how it had been played live throughout 2018, and the Jon Pleased Wimmin remix of “Love is All We Have Left” is indeed a “space age lullaby.” The EP was released in conjunction with celebrations of Charlie Chaplin’s 150th birthday.

“Ahimsa” Single and Remix Single (November 22, 2019 and December 13, 2019)
“Ahimsa” is a collaboration between U2 and A.R. Rahman, and the song was initiated by the streaming service, JioSaavn, as part of the arrangements to get U2 performing in India on The Joshua Tree Tour 2019. The song also features Rahman’s daughters singing ancient verses from the Tirukkural. The song was initially released on November 22, 2019, with a lyric video released for sale the following week. On December 13, a second version of “Ahimsa” was released, this time a remix by DJ KHSMR.

“The Eternal Remixes” Commercial EP (December 6, 2019)
“The Eternal Remixes” was the other release resulting from U2’s trip to India. The EP was put together by JioSaavn again, who also had initiated the single “Ahisma.” In this case, JioSaavn approached four artists who are having success in India currently to reinvent U2 tracks. This included older U2 tracks including “Pride” and newer tracks such as “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way.” The EP was released digitally only.

“Live Songs of Innocence and Experience” Fan Club Gift (October 31, 2019)
The final release of new music on our list from U2 is this years fan club gift from U2.Com. The gift is two CDs, with songs from the 2015, 2017 and 2018 tours. The first disc are songs from the album Songs of Innocence that have been played live. The second disc is songs from the album Songs of Experience that have been played live. The package was released with a photo book about the size of a 7-inch single, which holds both discs. The physical version of this release started to ship in late October, and a limited number of downloadable tracks have been made available through U2.Com since February 26, 2019. The gift was quite delayed this year, and U2 is already later than usual announcing the gift for 2020. Some subscriptions have recently been extended to the end of January due to this late announcement.

U2 Re-Issues and Remasters

Starting in 2017 U2 started reissuing most of the back catalog of albums in black vinyl. This continued this year with the release of No Line on the Horizon. In late 2018 they also started doing limited releases of their albums in coloured vinyl, starting with The Joshua Tree in gold vinyl and Zooropa in blue vinyl. These coloured releases continued in 2019 with a number of items issued this year. Expect to see more albums on coloured vinyl in 2020, with the first set due in March. We are told both Boy and All That You Can’t Leave Behind should be released in this format in 2020, with one celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the other celebrating its 20th anniversary.

No Line on the Horizon 10th Anniversary Remaster (February 22, 2019)
Two versions of No Line on the Horizon were issued at once to mark the 10th anniversary of the album. It was released on a normal black pressing, and also in a limited clear vinyl pressing which is seen above. The album, not previously remastered has finally had that treatment here. To fill out the second vinyl two remixes are added in both the clear and the black vinyl pressings, “Magnificent “ (Wonderland Remix) – U2 (09:58) and “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” (Redanka’s ‘Kick the Darkness’ Vocal Version) – U2 (07:30). The black vinyl pressing will be kept in print going forward, while the clear vinyl version was limited to just this initial pressing.

The Unforgettable Fire Wine Coloured Vinyl (June 7, 2019)
To mark the 35th anniversary of The Unforgettable Fire this special coloured vinyl pressing was released in June. The master used for the sound is the same as the one used for the 25th anniversary releases in 2009. The album is pressed on 180g vinyl. The record was pressed in the Czech Republic.

How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb Red Coloured Vinyl (June 7, 2019)
Released on the same day as the wine coloured version of The Unforgettable Fire this version of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb celebrates the 15th anniversary of the album, with a new pressing on red vinyl. The master used for the sound is the same as the one used for the black vinyl release in 2017. This is a single vinyl disc, unlike many of these vinyl sets which are spread over two albums.

October Cream Coloured Vinyl (October 11, 2019)
Later in the year both October and Pop were released as part of a set of coloured vinyl released by Universal Music. October is on cream coloured vinyl. The pressing uses the 2008 remaster by The Edge.

Pop Orange Coloured Vinyl (October 11, 2019)
Later in the year both October and Pop were released as part of a set of coloured vinyl released by Universal Music. Pop is on orange coloured vinyl. The pressing uses a new remaster of the album, first released when they did the earlier black vinyl and the mastered for iTunes releases.

The Joshua Tree Red Coloured Vinyl (November 8, 2019)
One final coloured pressing of U2’s vinyl albums was done at the end of the year, this time, The Joshua Tree on red vinyl. The album had previously been released last year on gold coloured vinyl. This new red pressing uses the same master, the 2007 remastered version of the album. The red remaster is a special limited pressing done exclusively for the VIP ticket holders in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore on the tour. The remaster came with a limited edition poster as well.

“U2 Three” EP on Black Vinyl (November 29, 2019)
The final reissue of the year is U2’s “Three” on black vinyl. Originally released as a numbered vinyl in 1979 with 1000 copies produced on the first run, the EP was reissued in 2019 for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. Like the original, this one is numbered, with 17,000 copies being produced. However, this isn’t a straight reissue, as the version of “Stories for Boys” is not the version that was found on the original vinyl. Instead, they’ve used the version that was released on “Just for Kicks“ which has been the case when this EP was issued for the deluxe version of Boy in 2008, and also when it was issued as part of The Complete U2 in 2004.

Other U2 Projects:

U2 have been included in a number of other projects throughout the year. This ranged from U2’s songs being included on compilations, to new solo appearances, and also to reissues of older material in new formats.

Sunset at Stonehenge – Paul Oakenfold (January 25, 2019)
U2’s track here is the album version of “Love is All We Have Left.” On some versions that track is separate from the other tracks, but on other versions it is part of a continuous mix. Continues a long history of Oakenfold including U2 tracks in his work. This set was played at Stonehenge, at a performance Oakenfold gave to just 50 people.

Pavarotti Soundtrack (May 22, 2019)
Digitally released in May, the physical CD would be later released on June 7, 2019. This soundtrack album includes a new version of “Ave Maria” recorded by Bono and Pavarotti on May 27, 2003. The track had been released before, but heavily remixed by Jacknife Lee. This is the original version of the live performance, released here for the first time. The soundtrack also includes previously released versions of “Miserere” and a previously released live version of “Miss Sarajevo.”

“Live 8” Audio Release (May 28, 2019)
Although released on DVD many years ago, 2019 was the first time this set was released as an audio release on digital download sites and streaming services. Includes U2’s full performance from the 2005 concert, as well as the song they did with Paul McCartney, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

The Greatest Xmas Songs Compilation (November 1, 2019)
This compilation of Christmas songs was released in early November, on vinyl and on CD. The vinyl comes in two different versions, one a limited red and white pressing is limited to 2500 copies. A second version is even more limited at just 1000 copies, and comes in silver and clear vinyl. The compilation was put together by the label Music on Vinyl and features U2’s version of “Father Christmas” previously released in 2008 on the (RED)Wire magazine and on the Starbucks “All You Need is Love” EP.

The Winkles Tapes 1989 Album – Sharon Shannon (November 8, 2019)
Back in 1989 Adam Clayton spent a weekend with a group of traditional musicians in the West of Ireland at the Winkles hotel. Sharon Shannon was using those sessions for her self-titled album released in 1991, but until now the sessions themselves have not been released. In November additional tracks from those sessions were released, including a new song with Adam Clayton performing, “Larry O’gaff’s Set”. This release was digital only but plans are to collect this in a box set later in 2020.

RockNRoll Rebel – The Early Work Box Set – Little Steven (December 6, 2019)
Little Steven has compiled all of his early albums and a number of bonus tracks into one box set, released at the end of the year on a combination of vinyl (the albums) and CD (the bonus tracks). Included are two albums which U2 have participated, now remastered. Born Again Savage from 1999 features Adam Clayton on bass on all of the original tracks (he does not appear on the bonus tracks.) It is the first time this album has been released on vinyl. Sun City by Artists Against Apartheid is also included in the set and features Bono on “Sun City” as well as Bono’s solo version of “Silver and Gold.” Leading up to the release of the box sets these albums were reissued digitally as well.

Until the End of the World Soundtrack – Various (December 6, 2019)
Reissued in 2019 by Run Out Groove, this vinyl is the first US release on vinyl for this soundtrack, and was limited to just 2000 copies. The soundtrack contains an alternate version of “Until the End of the World” from the version that appeared on Achtung Baby. The soundtrack was originally issued in 1991, but has been hard to find in more recent years. The movie itself was reissued this year as well as part of the Criterion Collection.

“Where the Shadows Fall” (April 29, 2019)
An extra bonus mention for the song “Where the Shadows Fall” recorded by Willie Nelson with backing vocals by Bono. The song was part of the film Waiting for the Miracle to Come directed by Lian Lunson. Although the film was released at the Austin Film Festival in 2018, it finally was widely released on DVD and digitally on April 29, 2019. The song by Willie Nelson and Bono plays over the credits of the film. Bono wrote the lyrics with Willie Nelson in mind. And the two recorded the song a number of years before the release. We’ve included the track below for those who would like to listen. There was no soundtrack released for the film, so if you would like to own this one you’ll have to track down the movie itself.

Audio: “Where the Shadows Fall” by Willie Nelson and Bono (Written by Bono)

And while that wraps up 2019, there’s more releases to come with a couple of concert films due out in 2020, a few more reissues on coloured vinyl and U2’s yet-again-delayed cover of “Bang A Gong” with Elton John for Hal Willner’s T. Rex compilation.

Other Discography and Site Additions:

As time goes on we are constantly upgrading the discography at U2Songs. We don’t necessarily advertise all of these changes as we go. But here’s a few things of note that happened in 2019:

  • Slaneman aka Mike Long, who has long worked on our lyrics section came out of retirement this year to fix up a number of entries. All of the lyrics are as they are heard on albums, and Mike has been working on this section of the site for many years, so we were happy when he popped up and volunteered to fix up a few things. You can access the lyrics by clicking on the track listing in any discography entry, or via the songs link at the top of each and every page.
  • We’ve also been working on the discography and have started scanning our 12-inch singles among other things. In 2019 we added over 800 new images of U2 releases, all scanned by ourselves. And as a bonus? We’ve increased the resolution of the images that we are uploading, so they are even bigger and better quality than before.
  • We’ve done some improvements and upgrades in the back end of the site which will speed things up and hopefully make some future improvements possible.
  • In the discography we added a list of “Unreleased and Other Remixes“ – a list of remixes we know about that were officially commissioned, or by remixers that had previously worked for U2, but have never been released by the label. We have a few new ones to add to the list and this section will be updated again in the upcoming weeks.
  • We added in our Shows section, available at the top of the page, or here. Here you will find a list of all of U2’s tours, the dates they played on each of those tours, and all of the related news stories for the tours. If you go into the section for Popmart for instance, you’ll find a list of each leg, a write up about what happened during that leg, and also a list of every story relating to PopMart in our archive.
  • We added in our History section as well. This one took a lot of work this year. It looks at events listed throughout our site by date. So if you click on today’s date you will find all the listings for singles and albums and compilations released on this day in history, as well as birthdays, world history that pertains to U2, release dates of videos, as well as tour dates that happened on this day. It also ties into our news archive and allows you to see what news stories we have from this day as well. You can access a calendar of dates here if you want to look up your birthday, or another special day. Or you can just head straight to today’s date here to see what they’ve done on New Year’s Eve over the years.
  • Added a number of entries to the discography including, but not limited to: Tina Turner – “Tina Live”; “PolyGram Classics and Jazz Sampler” Promotional Release; “Rattle and Hum” Remastered Album; “Defected Presents Def Mix Classics” Album; “Generations: Three Decades of Dance” – Paul Oakenfold; “Modern Mantra” – DJ Spooky; “Excerpts from A Very Special Christmas” Promotional Cassette; “Ultraviolet” promo single from Philippines; “Irish A to Z of Rock” Compilation; “Universal Barnes & Noble” CD Compilation; “Wicked!” Compilation; “Simply Acoustic” Compilation; “RMF On Styl” Compilation; “Planeta Rock” Compilation; “Island Mobile Music” Compilation; “Hit Mix” Compilation; “Now Dance” Compilation; “Fall From Grace” Compilation; “The Tube Anthology” Home Video…and just a few more on top of those items listed above….

The Future…2020 and Beyond…

We’re about to head into our 26th year of working on U2 projects online, and we plan on continuing efforts to improve and add to the site in 2020. Happy to say that at least three major improvements are started and underway and all should debut throughout 2020. You can look forward to our next contest, probably timed to celebrate our birthday in April. We also have some other ideas we plan on starting work on, while continuing to improve what is already available at the site and continue to make it more accessible, faster, and at a higher quality. We know U2’s about to have a bit of downtime, when they went away after the U2360 tour we took the time to build U2Songs.com into what it is today, and look forward to having a bit of time to get some new features ready to share.

In the short term we’ve got a lot of things ready to go. We have a couple of articles and interviews ready to go that we think you’ll find interesting.

A big thank you to all of you who have been a part of this site over the last 25 years. Your help, your input, your comments and suggestions are invaluable to us, and have lead us to where we are today. We hope you have a great year ahead, and hope to be a part of it.

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