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"Last Night on Earth" is the third single from U2's 1997 album, Pop. The song features excerpts from "Trayra Boia," written by Naná Vasconcelos and Denise Milan.[2]

"Last Night on Earth"
U2 Last Night on Earth.png
Single by U2
from the album Pop
B-side
Released1 July 1997 (1997-07-01)[1]
FormatCD, cassette
GenreAlternative rock
Length4:46 (Album version)
4:14 (Single version)
LabelIsland
Songwriter(s)U2 (music), Bono and the Edge (lyrics)
Producer(s)Flood
U2 singles chronology
"Staring at the Sun"
(1997)
"Last Night on Earth"
(1997)
"Please"
(1997)
Music video
"Last Night on Earth" at U2.com

HistoryEdit

"Last Night on Earth" was first written during the Zooropa sessions as documented by rock DJ and journalist BP Fallon in his book U2 Faraway So Close.[3] It was put aside until a later date, and when the band started work on Pop between 1995 and early 1997 they dug it up again.[4] Assuming they had plenty of time to finish recording the songs for the album, the band told manager Paul McGuinness to go ahead and book their PopMart Tour, which was to begin in April 1997. As time got closer and closer to the start of the tour, the band began running out of time to finish recording the album, which was to be released that March. The band immediately regretted their decision to let McGuinness book the tour, and had to rush their recording sessions to release the album in time. "Last Night on Earth" was one of the last songs to be recorded for the album. As the band and their associates had been working up until the last minute to finish recording and mixing the album, lead vocalist Bono did not come up with the song's chorus until 4 a.m. during the last night in the studio. After being up all night, Bono began singing the line "You've got to give it away," and decided to use it as part of the song's chorus. Once the chorus has been written, it needed to be recorded immediately. However, Bono had completely lost his voice at the time, so echoes were added to his voice, as well as backing vocals by guitarist the Edge.[5]

Since the initial recording of the song was done at the last minute, the band went back into the recording studio during the tour to record the song for its single release. Out of Pop's five single releases, this was the first of three songs to be re-recorded for its single.[2] The single was released in July 1997, and its cover featured a pop art-like parody of The Scream featuring the Edge. Following the single's release, "Please" and "If God Will Send His Angels" were later also re-recorded and released as singles in October and December 1997, respectively.

Live performancesEdit

"Last Night on Earth" was one of 17 songs to be played at each of the 93 PopMart shows, where six of the 17 songs were from Pop.[6] With the exception of the first several shows of the tour, the song was played in the fifth spot of the set list, between "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Until the End of the World." Live performances typically lasted longer than the length of the song on the album, as they featured several additions that were not present in the studio recording. Before the first verse, Bono would start the song by saying something similar to the following:

I went looking...
I went looking for spirit... Found alcohol
I went looking for soul... And I bought some style
I wanted to meet God... But you sold me religion
[7]

During the middle of the song, the band would slow down their tempo, and Bono improvise lyrics beginning with "It's not the last night on earth" and would typically make references to the city or country in which the band was performing. The end of the song featured a guitar jam, featuring both Bono and the Edge playing electric guitar. Despite the changes made to the song during its live performances, it was one of two songs that retained its original album arrangement, along with "Please."[5] The other songs performed live from Pop were completely rearranged and restructured for their live performances by the time the band was halfway through their tour.

The giant vidi-walls behind the band would display a cartoon during "Last Night on Earth" that depicted the characters being bombarded with stimulants at malls and shops and also made reference to the growing gun issue in the United States.

The only officially released live performance was taken from the band's show in Mexico City. The video PopMart: Live from Mexico City features "Last Night on Earth," and the same performance was later released as an audio track on the "Elevation" single in 2001.[8] Despite this, "Last Night on Earth" has not been performed at all since the end of the PopMart Tour.

Music videoEdit

The video was filmed in Kansas City, Missouri, and directed by Richie Smyth. It features Sophie Dahl and William S. Burroughs in his final filmed performance.

The production of a portion of the video required the closure of Interstate 670, a major downtown Kansas City freeway, as well as several local streets.[9]

Formats and track listingsEdit

Cassette release
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Last Night on Earth" (Single version)U2 (music), Bono and the Edge (lyrics)4:14
2."Pop Muzik" (Pop Mart mix)Robin Scott8:50
CD version 1
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Last Night on Earth" (Single version)U2 (music), Bono and the Edge (lyrics)4:14
2."Pop Muzik" (Pop Mart mix)Robin Scott8:50
3."Happiness Is a Warm Gun" (Gun mix)Lennon–McCartney4:46
CD version 2
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Last Night on Earth" (First Night in Hell mix)U2 (music), Bono and the Edge (lyrics)5:50
2."Numb" (Soul Assassins mix)U2 (music), the Edge (lyrics)3:58
3."Happiness Is a Warm Gun" (Danny Saber mix)Lennon–McCartney4:51
4."Pop Muzik" (Pop Mart mix)Robin Scott8:50
Canadian and U.S. release
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Last Night on Earth" (Single version)U2 (music), Bono and the Edge (lyrics)4:14
2."Pop Muzik" (Pop Mart mix)Robin Scott8:50
3."Happiness Is a Warm Gun" (Gun mix)Lennon–McCartney4:46
4."Numb" (Soul Assassins mix)U2 (music), the Edge (lyrics)3:58

ChartsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sams, Aaron; Kantas, Harry. "U2 – "Last Night On Earth" Single". U2songs.com. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Last Night on Earth Single". U2 Wanderer. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-30. Retrieved 2010-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-07. Retrieved 2009-09-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b McCormick, Neil (editor) (2006). U2 by U2. New York City: HarperCollins. pp. 266–273. ISBN 0-00-719668-7.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "U2 PopMart Tour". U2-Vertigo-Tour.com. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  7. ^ "Last Night on Earth – Live 1997-12-03 Lyrics". U2 Wanderer. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  8. ^ "Elevation Single". U2 Wanderer. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  9. ^ Heider, Timothy (May 20, 1997). "Filming of Music Video Will Shut Down I-670 Downtown for Several Hours Tuesday". The Kansas City Star. Reproduced by @U2. Accessed November 23, 2013.
  10. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  11. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  12. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". ultratop.be. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  13. ^ "RPM Volume 65 No. 23, August 11, 1997". RPM. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  14. ^ "RPM Volume 65 No. 22, August 04 1997". RPM. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  15. ^ a b c d e f "U2 > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  16. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  17. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40". top40.nl. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  18. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – U2 – Last Night on Earth". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  20. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Retrieved 2009-11-23. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  21. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". charts.nz. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  22. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  23. ^ "U2 - Last Night On Earth". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  24. ^ "EveryHit.com search results: U2". Everyhit.com. Retrieved 2009-11-22. Note: U2 must be searched manually.

External linksEdit