Sunday, August 14, 2016

"I Will Follow" by U2

Song#:  1748
Date:  01/14/1984
Debut:  90
Peak:  81
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  U2 broke through to the US with their third album War. Featuring the #2 Rock song (#53 Pop) "New Years Day," the album would reach #12 and over time would sell four million copies. Of course a tour would follow and their reputation as a live band along with a hit album led to sold-out venues in the US and Europe. Some of their performances were recorded and songs from select shows were used to create the live album Under a Blood Red Sky. This lone single from the album was from a performance in Germany and it was able to spend a few weeks on the Pop chart. It somehow missed the Rock chart, but oddly went to #34 on the Dance chart. Two of the songs from the album were recorded at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. That concert was filmed and later in the year a video of the performance would be released. Titled U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky, the video would be a best-seller that would cement the band's reputation as an outstanding live act.

ReduxReview:  As you may know, I'm not keen on concert recordings. However, I will say that this is a song that is made to be done live. As always, I prefer the studio version, but the band does a solid, blistering reading of the tune and Bono's excitement comes through on the recording. It's one of the rare instances where I actually get something from the live version. Lots of artists are brilliant in concert, but live recordings typically can't capture the magic of the performance. U2 is one of the rare acts that can bring something to any medium that captures their work. I also remember this song vividly from college. My roommate had a band and they were doing a wedding gig. I went along to help and take some performance pictures. For whatever reason, they decided to break into this song late in the evening. It was rather jarring and it certainly confused wedding guests who had previously been dancing to standard wedding band fare like "Celebration." Needless to say, it didn't go over well and the band returned to familiar pop tunes. But the sight of them rockin' out to this song while the wedding guests looked on in horror was pretty priceless.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The original studio version of this song served as U2's first single to hit any chart. It would be a mid-level charter in a few countries while getting to #20 on the US Rock chart. It was from their 1980 debut album Boy.  2) A version of their song "The Electric Co." that was included on the live album got the band in a little hot water. In the performance, lead singer Bono riffs on the melody to the song "Send in the Clowns" during a band vamp. That song was written by Stephen Sondheim for his 1973 Tony-winning Best Musical A Little Night Music. Unfortunately, the band didn't get permission from Sondheim to use his work and after the album's release, a bit of a dust-up ensued. The band quickly agreed to pay a penalty fee for the unauthorized use of the song and subsequent pressings of the album featured an edited version of the track.


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