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February 2nd, 2006

SOTD @ 09:59 pm

bonoffee:
I give you today's Song of the Day...

Silver and Gold from the Rattle & Hum album

Originally a B-side on the Streets single, Bono wrote Silver and Gold in a New York hotel room, inspired by a Rolling Stones session he'd dropped in on. Ashamed to realise he knew nothing about the blues artists they were listening to, but blown away by the music, Bono went off and wrote his own take on the style, drawing on his experience in Africa with Ali and the wider problem of apartheid. The studio version was recorded with Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards, and apart from the fab glockenspiel (I love that word), the main thing that strikes me about it is the absolute anger in Bono's voice as he sings. He starts almost speaking the lyrics and builds with the music until he and it both explode. The thing I like about this version as well is the fade-out part, which to me kind of shows the way people's spirits often dip and rise.

The live version on Rattle and Hum takes the song further, helped by Edge's amazing guitar. The song's like audio dynamite, with the band lighting the touchpaper and then standing well back as Bono ignites in a burst of indignation and anger. It's a brilliant reflection of the lyrics, I love the way Bono has incorporated the two elements to make one fascinating song.

The sheer outrage at the ridiculousness of what was happening is more than evident in Bono's singing, and of course we have the great speech with the "am I bugging you?" ending. He knows exactly what the critics are going to make of him standing on a stage and getting all worked up, and he's getting in there first, making his point. To be honest I feel the song does that amply on its own and live, it really kicks ass, backing up my little theory that Bono is at his best when surrounded by our other three lads.

The lyrics are true Bono (complete with nicking a quote from Jesse Jackson), written in his hotel room. Into The Heart states it is a song "about imperialism, greed, exploitation and repression." Told you it was typical Bono. ;) Again from Into The Heart, what I found interesting was this: "In writing the song from the perspective of a black political prisoner, he had also made a crucial leap of the imagination, a significant artistic advance that would assist enormously in the writing of The Joshua Tree." Maybe here we see Bono really exploring the possibilites of sounds and landscape in songs and songwriting, as I do feel Silver and Gold is quite atmospheric and certainly dark - and JT is nothing if not full of atmosphere!

And of course, as with most U2 songs, it holds relevance today. People fighting back against oppressors, the fact most people are angered by injustice. Edge might not be playing the blues, quite, but Bono sure is singing them.

That was a ramble - I'm sorry. Feel free to rip it all apart. :) (Well, within reason!)

Fave lyrics:
The temperature is rising
The fever white hot
Mister, I ain't got nothing
But it's more than you got


And in the shit house a shotgun
Praying hands hold me down
Only the hunter was hunted
In this tin can town
Tin can town

No stars in the black night
Looks like the sky fell down
No sun in the daylight
Looks like it, chained to the ground
Chained to the ground

The warden said
The exit is sold
If you want a way out
Silver and...

Broken back to the ceiling
Broken nose to the floor
I scream at the silence, it's coming
It crawls under the door
There's a rope around my neck
And there's a trigger in your gun
Jesus I say something
I am someone, I am someone

I am someone...

Captain and kings
In the ships hold
They came to collect
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Seen them coming and a going
Seen them captains and the kings
See them navy blue uniforms
See them bright and shiny things
Bright shiny things

The temperature is rising
The fever white hot
Mister, I ain't got nothing
But it's more than you got

Chains no longer bind me
Not the shackles at my feet
Outside are the prisoners
Inside the free
Set them free
Set them free

A prize fighter in a corner is told
Hit where it hurts
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Yep, silver and gold...
This song was written in a hotel room in New York city 'round about the time a friend or ours, Little Steven, was puting together a record of Artists against Apartheid

This is a song written about a man, in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg
A man who's sick of looking down the barrel of white South Africa
A man who is at the point where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor
A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the West while they argue
And while they fail to support a man like Bishop Tutu
And his request for economic sanctions against South Africa

Am I buggin' you? I don't mean to bug ya...

Okay Edge, play the blues...




Right, it's taken me about 2 hours to actually log into LJ, so I haven't been able to upload the song, I'm afraid. I am pleading for a kind person to stick it in gmail for me, and I'll love you forever. My net connection hates me.
 
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Comments

 
From:stay_please
Date:February 2nd, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
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Your html also appears to hate you. Yay, it's not just me. ;-)

Congrats, your review made me like a song I didn't paricularly care for before. It is all Bono, until Edge plays the pseudo-blues. While the "bug ya" question is directed at critics. I always think if it as directly applied to the listening audience. You almost wonder if Bono can see the eyes rolling in the crowd "Oh no, there he goes again."
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From:hachiemachie
Date:February 3rd, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
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Great song.

When I was in 8th grade (oh, so many years ago) my friend and I would call each other on the phone and ask, "My buggin' you? Don't mean to bug ya..." with the accent.

Ah, good times.
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From:slfcllednowhere
Date:February 3rd, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)
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I would TOTALLY do that too, around the same time. But mostly with my mom cos my friends aren't that hip :\
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From:blue_jordan
Date:February 3rd, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
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Ok, upped to gmail.

This is one of my favorite songs off of Rattle and Hum...especially Edge's solo at the end.
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From:inklingfair
Date:February 3rd, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
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OK Edge, play the blues.... Yay for longhaired blues Edge!
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From:inklingfair
Date:February 3rd, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
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Oh - and...

The sheer outrage at the ridiculousness of what was happening is more than evident in Bono's singing, and of course we have the great speech with the "am I bugging you?" ending.

I miss Bono ranting like that.
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From:bonoffee
Date:February 3rd, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I love you forever, now. Aren't you lucky? ;)
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From:blue_jordan
Date:February 3rd, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
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It's good to be loved. :D
From:vintagefuck
Date:February 3rd, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)
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I love this song. I always love the songs with a speech at the end, though.
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From:trinimacphisto
Date:February 3rd, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC)
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I never thought of that! Atmosphere... It does have that! Takes you to a different place!
For me it's scenes from all sorts of things I've watched about Africa, specially this documentary about Mandela.
This songs rocks! It's on of my faves from R&H
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From:mmmmjournal
Date:February 4th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
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I prefer the studio version, but I think it's their best B-side ever. :)
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From:canadanne
Date:February 5th, 2006 03:50 am (UTC)

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Silver & Gold is an awesome song, and I don't really have a favourite out of the studio and live versions. It kicks arse in a similar sort of way to God Part II. I love your "audio dynamite" description, it fits it really well!

You know, I *was* going to go into a massive ramble about how much I love each bit of the song, but I'm running out of time this weekend because Drowning Man took an age to put into words. So I might just save the ramble for when we do the B-side version!!  Let me see if I can pick out the bits that are unique to the live version, for now.

....Which isn't very much, really!  It's impressive how well they stuck to the successful formula of the studio track. I think there's an extra "I am someone!" here, and Bono does a little "Oooo oooo" before the "See the coming and the going... verse. Both of which are nice additions. I also really love the way he screams "Chaa-aaains no longer bind me!" on this version, it's just a notch more passionate than on the original B-side. :)

Of course the thing that really stands out about the Rattle & Hum performance is Bono's speech. It fits perfectly into that quiet section of the song (imagine him trying to be that succinct now!), and it's just a great rant. It kicks off with a trademark Bono "Yep" - who doesn't love those! - and sees the frontman in delightfully snarly mode. For some reason I like the way he says "ar-gue", in an almost mocking kind of tone. :)  And "Am I buggin' you?  I don't mean to.. bug ya..." is just one of the most classic quotes of all time, it's so much fun to imitate that one!  Followed, naturally, by "OK Edge, play the blues..."  (And what a fine job Edge does with that guitar solo!)

Eh, I'm gonna leave it there for now. I apologise for this review being a total cop-out, but at least I can go to bed now, without getting hopelessly behind. ;p

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