Vertigo (U2 song)
|Single by U2|
|from the album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb|
|B-side||"Are You Gonna Wait Forever?"
|Released||8 November 2004|
|Recorded||2003-2004 at HQ in Dublin, Ireland, and South of France|
|Writer(s)||U2 (music), Bono and The Edge (lyrics)|
|U2 singles chronology|
"Vertigo" is the opening track and first single from U2's 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The single was released for airplay on 24 September 2004; upon release the song received extensive airplay and was an international hit, being featured in a popular iPod television advertisement. It won "Best Rock Song", "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" and "Best Short Form Music Video" at the 2005 Grammy Awards. The song lent its namesake to the band's Vertigo Tour. The song ranked No. 64 on Rolling Stone's list of the '100 Best Songs of the Decade' and scored U2 their sixth UK No.1.
In the case of 'Vertigo,' I was thinking about this awful nightclub we've all been to. You're supposed to be having a great time and everything's extraordinary around you and the drinks are the price of buying a bar in a Third World country. ...you're just looking around and you see big, fat Capitalism at the top of its mountain, just about to topple. It's that woozy, sick feeling of realizing that here we are, drinking, eating, polluting, robbing ourselves to death. And in the middle of the club, there's this girl. She has crimson nails. I don't even know if she's beautiful, it doesn't matter but she has a cross around her neck, and the character in this stares at the cross just to steady himself.
-Bono, U2 by U2
During the Atomic Bomb recording sessions, "Vertigo" was originally recorded as a song called "Full Metal Jacket". The Edge had told Planet Sound Magazine that the song was "The mother of all rock tunes" and "A reason alone for making a new record". The title was later changed to "Native Son". The lyrics in this iteration are about a native man who was against his country due to his lack of freedoms, an idea originally inspired by Leonard Peltier. The song went through several different musical and lyrical arrangements, but the band struggled to find a version they liked. Steve Lillywhite was brought in to try to find a mix that worked while Bono took a break from the album sessions; on his return, Lillywhite asked him if he would be able to sing the "Native Son" lyrics in front of an audience, and Bono found the experience too uncomfortable. New lyrics were written and Lillywhite helped the band rearrange the song. It was at this point that the song was rewritten into "Vertigo". At 3:08 long, "Native Son" is just a few seconds short of the run time of "Vertigo." The track has since been released on the digital album Unreleased and Rare, which was only available through purchasing the entire digital box set, The Complete U2, as well as the album Medium, Rare & Remastered.
U2 performed "Vertigo" in a television commercial for the Apple iPod as part of a cross-marketing plan to promote both the album and Apple's music products (especially the U2 Special Edition iPod and the iTunes Music Store's exclusive digital box set for U2, The Complete U2).
At the beginning of the song Bono counts off in Spanish "Unos, dos, tres, catorce!" In English, this translates to "one, two, three, fourteen!" When asked about this oddity in an interview for Rolling Stone, Bono replied "there may have been some alcohol involved." In the live version on Vertigo 2005: Live from Chicago, Bono jokingly announces the language as Gaelic. Some sources have suggested that as the first words spoken on the album, the lyrical choice was a deliberate nod to Exodus 3:14 (the first testament of the Christian bible, second book, third chapter, fourteenth verse), whereby after Moses asks God's name, God responds "I AM THAT I AM." This theory is supported by the fact the final track on the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album is titled Yahweh, another name for the Christian and Hebrew god.
A Spanish reply of "¡Hola!" is also heard behind the "Hello, hello" of the refrain, as well as "¿Dónde está?" ("Where is it?" or "Where is he?" depending upon if this is intended as a question to the location of Vertigo or Bono himself) after the line "I'm at a place called Vertigo". The "Hello, hello" line itself is reminiscent of similar lyrics in the song "Stories for Boys" from U2's debut album Boy; in Vertigo Tour concerts, the band frequently included a section of the latter song in their performances of "Vertigo". These concerts have also sometimes featured "Vertigo" played twice, once early in the show and again as a final encore; this also looks back to U2's early days, when they did not have enough songs to fill out an entire performance and had to repeat some at the end.
The video for the song features U2 performing in a featureless desert as black jet streams emit from behind each band member; on the ground is a huge white bulls-eye symbol used as a motif for the album graphics. The circular platform that the band performs on constantly elevates up and down in a spiral pattern, as the wind blows the band's face. It was directed by the team of Alex & Martin. It was recorded in Punta Del Fangar (Ebro Delta), in Spain.
7" and 12" vinyl singles
|U.S. 7" (Interscope B0003580-21)|
|UK 12" (Island 12 IS 878 / 986 856-7)|
|1.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 12")||5:36|
|2.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 7")||3:08|
|3.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 10")||4:13|
|4.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 12" instrumental)||5:36|
|UK 12" (Island 12 IS 886 / 987 025-2)|
|1.||"Vertigo" (Redanka Power Mix)||7:32|
|2.||"Vertigo" (Trent Reznor Remix)||3:38|
CD and DVD singles
|CD 1 / Mini CD|
|2.||"Are You Gonna Wait Forever?"||3:48|
|2.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 10")||4:13|
|2.||"Are You Gonna Wait Forever?"||3:48|
|3.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 10")||4:13|
|5.||"Vertigo" (Live at HQ video)||3:11|
|1.||"Vertigo" (HQ video)||3:11|
|2.||"Vertigo" (audio with photo gallery)|
|3.||"Are You Gonna Wait Forever?" (audio only)|
|4.||"Vertigo" (Jacknife Lee 10" - lisbon video)|
Upon release, "Vertigo" debuted at No. 18 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100; in the following weeks the track jumped to No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and also moved from No. 27 to No. 3 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and from No. 35 to No. 9 on the Adult Top 40. It also debuted at No. 1 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart and, after falling to No. 4, returned to the top position. The track later moved into the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 31; it spent 20 weeks on the chart.
In the United Kingdom, the song moved from BBC Radio 1's B-list on the first week of its airplay release to the A-list in the second week. The song was released commercially on 15 November; it debuted at No. 1 and remained there for one week; it spent 9 weeks in the top 40.
In Brazil, the single went gold with more than 50,000 downloads.
The digital single holds a 2× Platinum status in the United States, selling over 400,000 downloads (in 2005 Platinum status for downloads was obtained at 200,000 sold).
- Grammy.com[dead link]
- [dead link]
- McCormick, Neil (2006). U2 by U2 : Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. (1. US ed., 1. UK ed. ed.). London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-077675-6.
- Carl Uebelhart. ":: Native Son - HTDAAB Outtake Lyrics by U2 Wanderer.Org ::". U2wanderer.org. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Cross: The Ongoing History of New Music - "Demo Versions: How Song Are Born"". Edge102.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21.[dead link]
- Cross, Alan (18 September 2009). "U2's "Vertigo"". ExploreMusic. Retrieved 2009-09-22.[dead link]
- McCormick, Neil (ed), (2006). U2 by U2. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-00-719668-7
- "Lyrics: Vertigo". U2.com. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- U2 Dissect "Bomb", David Fricke, Rolling Stone, December 2004[dead link]
- Walk on: The Spiritual Journey of U2, Second Edition, Relevant Books, 2005.
- (7" single). "Vertigo". U2. B0003580-21.
- (12" single). "Vertigo". U2. 12IS878 / 986 856-7.
- (12" single). "Vertigo". U2. 12IS886 / 987 025-2.
- "U2 Vertigo @ Top40-Charts.com - Songs & Videos from 49 Top 20 & Top 40 Music Charts from 30 Countries". Top40-charts.com. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- Vertigo (U2 song) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "Associaусo Brasileira de Produtores de Disco". ABPD. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
- "U2 – Vertigo". Hung Median. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Retrieved 2009-11-23. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
- "EveryHit.com search results: U2". Everyhit.com. Retrieved 2009-11-17. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
- "U2: Charts & Awards - Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-01-16.
- "Certified Awards - Search by parameters". BPI. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013. Note: "Vertigo" has to be searched manually.
- "SEARCHABLE DATABASE". RIAA. 6 January 2005. Retrieved 16 September 2013. Note: "Vertigo" has to be searched manually.
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