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Column: off the record..., vol. 14-610

@U2, March 16, 2014
By: Aaron Govern


off the record, from @U2

What a week for the Irish!

On a sporting theme, in Paris yesterday, Ireland held on to the bitter end in a nail-biting finish to beat France 22-20 and win its first Rugby Six Nations since 2009, giving legendary Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll the perfect send-off in his last test for Ireland before retiring. In BOD we trust. And earlier in the week, the renowned horse racing event, The Cheltenham Festival, had over 200,000 punters in attendance betting on the races, with the biggest race over the four days won by the Irish-trained Lord Windermere in the Gold Cup. With St. Patricks Day weekend already underway, culminating in St. Patrick's Day on Monday, there will be plenty of Irish folk in Ireland and around the world ensuring that plenty of Guinness is being consumed, just like this chap …. who clearly is enjoying a drop of the black stuff in Kerry over the weekend. As the slogan goes, "Guinness Is Good For You." Let's hope it inspires some super songs for the new album, and preferably before the end of this year!

By now I am sure you may be familiar with the photobomb phenomena, which even U2 have been involved with, via the brilliant Sherlock actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, who made the headlines at the Oscars red carpet with what is becoming one of the most famous photobombs of all time. But even better known is the discovery of video footage of Cumberbatch clearly thinking about and subsequently taking the opportunity to do so … to unsuspecting and bemused band members and wives … and all to a backdrop of the Jaws theme. Great stuff!

Another revelation in the news this week has been the discovery of a rejection letter by RSO Records to a young wannabe rock star by the name of Mr. P. Hewson. It appears that in the spring of 1979, Bono had sent a demo tape to London-based RSO Records -- part of the Robert Stigwood Organisation, who in the late 1970s had tremendous success with the Bee Gees, and also released multimillion-selling soundtracks for huge films such as Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars. However, it does seem that despite “careful consideration,” it certainly wasn't good enough for RSO. Wouldn't it be great if someone could find RSO A&R man Alexander Sinclair to comment almost 35 years later? Note also that the letter was written on Bono's 19th birthday. 

There has been so much speculation about the new album. The latest news is that U2 are on track for a 2014 fall release, and touring plans haven't been confirmed yet. Well, that makes sense to me, as I really would be surprised to see an album release by U2 that is in any month but November. No Line On The Horizon was released in February 2009, and that month is a notoriously quiet month for album releases. I can't see U2 or their respective record company (and new manager) making that mistake again. It might be a situation similar to Pop, when U2 scheduled a tour before the album was released. As a result, both the album and the tour were compromised and felt -- certainly early on -- underrehearsed. One thing for sure, we will have to be patient. Me? I'm looking forward to Arcade Fire touring in June in the U.K. and the new Coldplay album Ghost Stories that will be released in May.


And finally, in honor of St. Patricks Day, here is a wonderful clip of U2 on MTV in 1982 in celebration of the Docklands area of Dublin. You can tell by watching the video that this is where the album sleeve for October was shot. Also, at the 45-second mark, the video clearly shows the building where U2's own studio, Hanover Quay, is based.


(c) @U2/Govern, 2014.



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