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U2 releases two songs under 'Spotify Singles' feature

@U2, December 12, 2017
By: Matt McGee



U2 has joined a long list of major artists in releasing never-before-heard versions of songs under the "Spotify Singles" feature on the Spotify streaming service. The pair of songs just went online at midnight ET (Wednesday morning) in North America, and should be available on all other international Spotify platforms, too. Since it began last year, Spotify Singles has invited artists big and small to re-record one original song and one cover song just for Spotify. U2's songs are:

  • "The Little Things That Give You Away" (recorded at Neptune Valley, LA)
  • "What's Going On" (recorded at Neptune Valley, LA)

(The recording location is included with these tracks because many/most artists record their Spotify Singles at Spotify's New York City studios.)

The new version of "The Little Things..." runs 12 seconds longer than the album version (5:07 versus 4:55) and -- after a quick listen -- sounds more like the piano-heavy version that U2 played during the Joshua Tree 2017 Tour. (There may be other differences I haven't sussed out yet.)

"What's Going On" is a cover of the popular Marvin Gaye hit and the first time U2 has released a full-band version of the song. In 2001, Bono led an all-star group that called itself Artists Against AIDS Worldwide and recorded the song just days before the September 11 attacks as a fund raiser in the fight against AIDS. That plan changed and proceeds from the single were earmarked both for AIDS victims and victims of the 9/11 attacks. U2 also performed the song live throughout the third leg of the Elevation tour with No Doubt's Gwen Stefani trading vocals with Bono.

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