kat (bonoffee) wrote in u2,
kat
bonoffee
u2

SOTD

In the midst of essay madness, today's slightly abbreviated SOTD is...

Helter Skelter from Rattle & Hum

Y'know, it's true what I read once. The first version of a song you hear is likely to be the one you prefer, even if it's a cover and the original is technically better. That's precisely true of Helter Skelter, for me. I'm the first to admit I'm not a massive Beatles affictionado - I like many of their songs and can appreciate their impact but they just don't do it for me. So when I heard U2's version of Helter Skelter, I'd never heard the Beatles', and I took it on its own merit rather than trying to compare it to the other, which I think sets the scene for my interpretation of the song which is the first track on both the Rattle & Hum album and film.

This is a great opener especially for the film because it captures the madness and confusion of a life on tour, as well as the excitement. The enthusiasm of Bono's singing is without doubt and he really belts the song out, infusing it with meaning and really setting the tone for the rest of the film. And the album. It works well on both, actually, because it kicks things off so well and you know you're on a rollercoaster ride - or maybe a helter skelter!

So excuse me while I consult Into The Heart:

'There were people who ridiculed the choice of the Beatles' 'Helter Skelter' as the opening track on Rattle and Hum. In fact, it would be hard to pick anything more appropriate [...]

'In one obvious sense, U2 were on top of the world. In another, they had been plunged into a vortex, where every aspect of their operation was under scrutiny, and every element of their increasingly hydra-headed organisation under severe strain. None more so than the band themselves.

'"'Helter Skelter' was exactly what we were going through on The Joshua Tree tour," Bono said. "It was one of the worst times of our musical life. First a falling light cut me up, and I had to have stitches in my chin. My voice failed for the first week because of dry heat - the press came to the opening show and I couldn't sing. We were on the run the whole time and I busted up my shoulder and was in a lot of pain. And I found that I was drinking a lot just to stop the pain."'


Quite apart from Bono listing his problems, the excerpt shows exactly why people having a go at U2 for choosing to cover Helter Skelter was ridiculous. How can it be wrong when it fits the mood so perfectly? It's an explosive and dynamic performance, almost as if Bono's using the song as a way of exorcising that pain he'd been going through. I disagree, from a fan point of view, that the JT tour was a bad time for the band. I love the concerts from that time and I'd love to go back and see it myself - the rootsy, gutsy performances were just brilliant. Clearly Bono felt differently but then that's the beauty of being a fan - you can say what you like. ;)

I think the music is played with a passion, too. If you've watched the film performance, there's a definite urgency about the delivery of the music with Edge looking well into it and of course it was back in the day when Adam really moved around a stage!

And the lyrics are great. Yeah, yeah, I know it's the Beatles. I like this song because it has ambivalence in the words which is driven by the music. "Do you, don't you want me to love you?" It's a great moment when Bono sings it to Edge, it makes me smile. It's probably bad of me to say I didn't like Paul McCartney singing it at the Grammys, but there you go, I didn't, lol! I wanted U2 to get up on stage and do it properly. ;)

So there you go. Kick off R&H in style, listen to Helter Skelter and get immersed in the crazy road lifestyle of U2, baby.



his is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles. We're stealing it back.

When you get to the bottom
You go back to the top of the slide
And you stop and you turn
And you go for a ride
Then you get to the bottom
Then you see me again

Do you, don't you want me to love you / Yeah
Coming down fast I'm right here above you / Yeah
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
Ain't no lover but you ain't no dancer

Helter skelter
Helter skelter
Helter skelter

Do you, don't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast now don't let me break you / Yeah
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You ain't no lover but you ain't no dancer

Helter skelter
Helter skelter
Helter skelter

When you get to the bottom
You go back to the top of the slide
And you turn and you stop
And you go for a ride
Then you get to the bottom
Then you see me again
Hey hey hey

Do you, don't you want me to love you / Yeah
Coming down fast I'm right here above you / Yeah
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
Ain't no lover but you ain't no dancer

Helter skelter
Helter skelter
Helter skelter
(And again)

Helter skelter
Helter skelter
Helter skelter



Helter Skelter uploaded to SaveFile (which I'm finding better than YSI!).

Once uni is on a break, my SOTD will be so much better. Lol!
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