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I just don't want to go through what I call the Interesting Music Phase. That really means 'We just don't get it.'-- Bono, 2004

Column: off the record..., vol. 13-585


off the record, from @U2

No Album On The Horizon ... pun intended. Despite what seemed to be an active summer of recording for the new album, it has become clear that there will not be any new material this year. The disappointment for fans worldwide that there will not have been any new material for almost five years is tangible. The next album will be U2's 13th studio release and the gaps between releases have been getting more noteworthy. It's incredible given the amount of touring that was completed in the early part of U2's career that anything ever got recorded! For the first six albums from Boy to Rattle And Hum, these were released in a mere eight years whilst their next six albums from Achtung Baby to No Line On The Horizon have taken over twenty years.

Earlier this week our very own Matt McGee reported this site's planned activity to recognise the 25th anniversary of the Rattle And Hum album and film. I am mildly surprised there has been no record company announcement concerning plans for remasters and re-issues celebrating this significant date, as previously there has been a very good track record of celebrating anniversaries.

Since 2007 and the 20th anniversary re-issue of The Joshua Tree, there has been a string of extensive campaigns for the re-issues of all the albums from Boy to Zooropa. It seems strange that, in the case of Rattle And Hum, nothing has been planned or announced, and I wonder if the band themselves may not have the appetite or the affection to celebrate it? Are U2 wary of criticism resurfacing? Probably no other U2 album has divided fans and critics alike, both at the time it was released and subsequently with the benefit of hindsight.

Whilst the album sold very well, the latter part of 1988 was most definitely the start of the U2 backlash. At the time the band was suffering from overexposure so soon after the release and phenomenal success of The Joshua Tree, and the whole aspect of the dual-release album and film made the band seem over-serious, pompous, grandiose, and self-righteous. But you know what -- thank goodness for that, as without Rattle And Hum there would be no Achtung Baby, Zoo TV, Zooropa … makes you think doesn't it?

Speaking of anniversaries, the month of September also sees the anniversary of the band forming in 1976, and September 26th is when their first commercial single "U2: Three" was released as a 12" limited hand-numbered edition of 1000. For many collectors this is the holy grail and undoubtedly has become rarer and rarer to buy on the market as time goes by. Even when it does pop up on eBay, it is only on a fairly infrequent basis and even then will generally sell for in excess of $3000 -- quite an increase on an original investment of $2 way back in 1979! If you have been fortunate to own a copy, keep good care of it! In this age of intangible digital downloads, this is one tangible investment that will hold its value.

And there's more…. Lo and behold, what other band would have a website dedicated to its first single? It's amazing where numerous copies of this veritable treasure currently reside around the world. Even better, if you own the single, why not take some photos and put it up? There are still only 150 copies registered, so it would be good to see more added!

Last week, Reeve Carney played his final performance as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. Incredibly, Carney has been playing this exhausting and technically demanding dual-role since the previews started way back in November 2010, having appeared in over 800 performances. After many protracted delays in which the musical looked like it would never open, Carney has been the ever-present unsung hero keeping the whole company together, and making this show one of the most successful in box-office history, where it holds the current record for best box office takings in a single week. My family and I were fortunate to see Carney perform earlier in the year, and his is an incredible talent.

And finally, Steve Coogan has recently brought his successful comedy alter-ego to the big screen in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. But were you aware that Alan is quite the U2 fan. Watch and hear his thoughts about "Sunday Bloody Sunday" … not sure that this is what Bono had in mind when he wrote the lyrics, though?

(c) @U2, 2013.