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"Magnificent" is a song by U2. It is the second track on the band's 2009 album No Line on the Horizon and was released as the album's second single.[1] The song was originally titled "French Disco", but was renamed later in the recording sessions.[3] It is played before the start of every New York Rangers home game at Madison Square Garden.

U2 Magnificent promo.jpg
Single by U2
from the album No Line on the Horizon
ReleasedMay 4, 2009 (CD, UK iTunes)[1]
May 18, 2009 (US/CAN iTunes)[2]
Format7", CD
Length5:24 (Album version)
4:21 (Radio edit)
LabelInterscope, Mercury
Songwriter(s)U2, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois (music); Bono, the Edge (lyrics)
Producer(s)Eno, Lanois, Steve Lillywhite
U2 singles chronology
"Get On Your Boots"
"I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight"
Music video
"Magnificent" on YouTube

The single was released on 4 May 2009 and reached number 42 on the UK Singles Chart. While well received by critics, it was the first domestically-released U2 single not to make the UK Top 40 since "A Celebration" in 1982. It did, however, reach number one on the Scottish Singles Chart, their second single from No Line on the Horizon to do so.

Writing and recordingEdit

"Magnificent" originated from the band's improvised recording sessions with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in Fez, Morocco in June 2007.[4] The track was created out of a series of chord changes in the midst of a jam. The Edge noted that "The basic chord progression had a power that got everyone inspired. I think we all knew that it was inherently joyful, which is rare."[5] A group of Moroccan percussionists played along with the band, and the result quickly became a band favourite during the sessions.[5]

Bono noted that the lyrics were influenced by both Cole Porter and Bach, and that the song is about "two lovers holding on to each other and trying to turn their life into worship".[5] Lanois described the song's origins: "We wanted to have something euphoric and Bono came up with that little melody. And he loved that melody, and stuck with it. Almost like a fanfare. And then I was involved in the lyrical process on that, because we wanted to talk about sacrifice that one makes for one's medium or one's art. I thought it had for a setting New York in the 1950s; looking out a small bedroom window. Maybe a Charlie Parker kind of figure."[4]


The song has been remixed numerous times, including versions by Dave Audé, Pete Tong, Redanka, Fred Falke, and Adam K & Soha. The remixes were made available simultaneously with the single release for the song. In the UK the Magnificent Remixes were the highest climber in the Upfront Club Chart at No. 3, and are at No. 4 in the Cool Cuts Chart.[6] participated in the creation of an as-yet unreleased remix.[7]

The synthetized baseline of Redanka's 180 Version Remix is similar to Donna Summer's 1977 hit song "I Feel Love".

The radio edit and UK edit are slightly different versions of the song, with the most prominent difference being an alteration in the first lyric.[8]

Music videoEdit

The music video was filmed in Fez, Morocco.[9] It was directed by Alex Courtes, who previously worked with the band on the video for "Get On Your Boots". The video premiered online via Yahoo! Music[10] on May 6, 2009.[11]


Upon the release of No Line on the Horizon, many critics called "Magnificent" one of the album's highlights. Q wrote that it "echoes The Unforgettable Fire's opening track "A Sort of Homecoming" in its atmospheric sweep", also labelling it as a "slow-building anthem with the ambience of "The Unforgettable Fire' and a re-boot of 'Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses.'"[1][12][13] In Allmusic's review of the album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that on "Magnificent", U2 "strike that unmistakable blend of soaring, widescreen sonics and unflinching openhearted emotion that's been their trademark, turning the intimate into something hauntingly universal".[14] Mojo praised the song, noting the song's "martial snare drums ratchet the Edge's vertiginous delayed guitar figures across a rock landscape that this band realised to near perfection c. The Unforgettable Fire and which they've now updated with no loss of awe".[15] Blender called the song a "rocker" and "yet another hymn to the powers of love" in which the band "achieve liftoff".[16] NME was critical of the song, calling it "astonishingly uninteresting", adding that it "sounds like [it was] reconstituted from the ...Atomic Bomb sessions".[17]

"Magnificent" debuted at number 42 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming U2's first domestically-released single to completely miss the UK Top 40 since 1982's "A Celebration" peaked at number 47 (The import-only "In God's Country" charted in 1988, but missed the top 40). In Scotland, the song debuted at number one Scottish Singles Chart, becoming the second single from No Line on the Horizon to top that chart, after "Get On Your Boots",[18] as well as becoming the band's eight number one overall.

The single was pulled during the second week of release, as some record stores refused to stock it.[citation needed] The song also made a one-week appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 upon No Line on the Horizon's release, peaking at number 79. It was added to A-Lists of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2, along with being added to XFM's playlist and the B-List of BBC 6 Music.

"Magnificent" did much better in continental Europe, entering the Top 20 in several countries: number six in the Netherlands, number 11 in Italy, number 15 in France, number 16 in Sweden. The song also reached the Top 5 in Ireland.

Coldplay have regularly played the song prior to the band taking the stage at their concerts on the Viva la Vida Tour.[1]

Live performancesEdit

"Magnificent" was debuted on the promotional tour for No Line on the Horizon, being played on the BBC Rooftop, on the Late Show with David Letterman, and at a mini-concert at Fordham University taped for Good Morning America.[19] The song then became a regular on the U2 360° Tour, played within a block of new songs to start the shows. The song made its Innocence + Experience Tour debut on the tour's second leg during the last of four shows in Amsterdam.

Formats and track listingsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "It's 'Magnificent'". 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
  2. ^ iTunes release date and tracklist
  3. ^ "U2 play on Le Grand Journal and talk on French radio". 2009-02-23. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  4. ^ a b Frenette, Brad (10 March 2009). "U2's No Line On The Horizon: A track-by-track exclusive with producer/co-writer Daniel Lanois". National Post. Archived from the original on 20 October 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Owens, Catherine (2009-02-27). "No Line on the Horizon". No Line on the Horizon magazine (included with some versions of the album).
  6. ^ Remixes Coming Up - Published April 28, 2009 (retrieved April 29, 2009)
  7. ^ Hiatt, Brian (2009-01-22). "U2 Break Down 'No Line on the Horizon'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  8. ^ "Magnificent Single". U2 Wanderer. Retrieved 2009-08-23.
  9. ^ (2009-03-20) The Gerry Ryan Show. RTÉ 2fm. Bono spoke to Gerry Ryan on location in Fez.
  10. ^ "Watch the new video from U2 for "Magnificent" now debuting on Yahoo Music!". Interscope. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  11. ^ "Magnificent Morocco". 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
  12. ^ "U2 Preview New Album to 'Q'". Q. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  13. ^ Rees, Paul (2009-02-25). "No Line on the Horizon is just possibly their best" (reprint). Q. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
  14. ^ Erlewine, Stephen. "No Line on the Horizon - U2". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
  15. ^ Cameron, Keith (25 February 2009). "Blue Sky Thinking" (reprint). Mojo. Retrieved 2009-02-25.
  16. ^ Sheffield, Rob (28 February 2009). "U2: No Line on the Horizon". Blender. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  17. ^ "No Line on the Horizon". NME. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100 22 February 2009 - 28 February 2009". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Magnificent". Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  20. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  21. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  22. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  23. ^ "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  24. ^ "U2 Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Single: Top 20 (for the week ending 19 November 2009)". Nielsen SoundScan. 15 November 2009. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009.
  26. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – RADIO – TOP 100 and insert 200926 into search. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  27. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  28. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Chart Track: Week 19, 2009". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  30. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent". Top Digital Download. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  31. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 15, 2009" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  32. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  34. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200919 into search. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  35. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent" Canciones Top 50. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  36. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  37. ^ " – U2 – Magnificent". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  38. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  39. ^ "U2 Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  40. ^ "U2 Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  41. ^ "U2 Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  42. ^ "FIMI - Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana - Ricerche e dati di mercato". 2010-01-19. Archived from the original on 2010-01-23. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
  43. ^ "Dance Club Songs". 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-26.

External linksEdit