kat (bonoffee) wrote in u2,


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.
  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded