Lemon (U2 song)

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U2 Lemon.jpg
Single by U2
from the album Zooropa
ReleasedSeptember 1993
GenreDisco, alternative rock
Length4:39 (edit)
6:58 (album version)
Songwriter(s)U2 (music), Bono (lyrics)
Producer(s)Flood, Brian Eno and the Edge
U2 singles chronology
"Stay (Faraway, So Close!)"
Music video
"Lemon" at Yahoo! Music
Audio sample

"Lemon" is a song by Irish rock band U2, and the fourth track from their 1993 album, Zooropa. It was released as the album's second single in September 1993. Inspired by old video footage of Bono's late mother, the lyrics describe an attempt to preserve memory through film. More than any previous U2 song, "Lemon" showcases Bono's falsetto skills, aided by atmospheric vocals from the Edge and Brian Eno. The song has been described as futuristic German disco.[1] The album version is one of U2's longest songs.

Recording and composition[edit]

"Lemon" was written late during the Zooropa sessions between March–May 1993 during the band's break in the Zoo TV Tour.[2] Guitarist the Edge said the song originated from something he "worked up with a drum machine and bass, very rhythmic." He explained that he found it difficult to compose a guitar part to the song until he utilized an "unusual gated guitar effect which worked with the rhythm."[2]

Lead vocalist Bono wrote the lyrics with his late mother in mind. He explains that it was a "strange experience to receive, in the post, from a very distant relative, early Super 8 footage of my mother, aged 24, younger than me, playing a game of rounders in slow motion."[2] The footage showed Bono's mother at a wedding as the maid of honour, wearing a lemon-coloured dress.[2] The film footage inspired Bono to write lyrics about using film to recreate and preserve memory.

Remixes and alternative versions[edit]

The single and promo releases were complete with different dance remixes, as well as a shortened edit of the title track (the album version was almost 7 minutes long). Paul Oakenfold's "Perfecto Mix" of the song was used on the PopMart Tour, being played as the band walked out of their Spinal Tap-like rock prop, a 40-foot mirrorball lemon, onto the B-stage for an encore.

The Perfecto Mix was later reworked into "Skin on Skin" by Oakenfold's band Grace.

Live performances[edit]

The song was played live at 10 different Zoo TV shows in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, during the show's encore. During each performance, Bono would perform the song dressed as Zoo TV character "MacPhisto," a former cabaret performer with devilish horns. Each performance was immediately followed by the band's "With or Without You".[3] As with most of Zooropa’s material, "Lemon" has never been performed live by U2 since the close of the Zoo TV tour.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Lemon", directed by Mark Neale, was filmed in black and white with a grid-like background as a tribute to Eadweard Muybridge.[5] Muybridge was a photographer who was the first person to successfully capture fast motion on film, using his device, coincidentally named the Zoopraxiscope, a reference to the lyrics ("A man makes a picture – a moving picture/Through light projected he can see himself up close").

The video primarily features a sequence of clips of the band members playing their instruments and performing a series of distinct actions, with captions for each one (e.g. "man walking up incline", "man running", "man playing pool"). In the background of the video, a pendulum can be seen swinging, a clock can be seen ticking, as well as dollars falling from the sky, various scientific objects (DNA, satellite feeds, etc.), and a cross.

All of these symbols seem to be representing man's attempt to preserve time, via money ("He turns his money into light to look for her"), religion, or technology. The video also featured Bono dressed as both "The Fly" and "MacPhisto".

Formats and track listings[edit]

12-inch single[edit]

Side A
1."Lemon" (Bad Yard club mix)10:13
2."Lemon" (Version dub)6:35
3."Lemon" (Momo's reprise)4:08
Side B
1."Lemon" (Perfecto mix)8:56
2."Lemon" (Jeep mix)5:30

CD and cassette single[edit]

1."Lemon" (Edited version)4:39
2."Lemon" (Oakenfold Jeep mix)5:30
3."Lemon" (Album version)6:56
4."Lemon" (Morales BYC version dub)6:35


Chart (1993) Peak
Australian ARIA Chart[6] 6
Canada RPM Top 100[7] 20
Iceland (Íslenski Listinn Topp 40)[8] 1
New Zealand Singles Chart[6] 4
US Modern Rock Tracks[citation needed] 3
US Hot Dance Music/Club Play[citation needed] 1
US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[citation needed] 16
Chart (1994) Peak
Canada RPM Dance Top 10[9] 3



  1. ^ "Review". Retrieved 2008-08-15.
  2. ^ a b c d McCormick (2006), p. 248.
  3. ^ "U2 Melbourne, 1993-11-12, Cricket Ground, ZOO TV Tour - U2 on tour". Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  4. ^ ‘Lemon’ by U2 Concert statistics
  5. ^ "U2faqs.com - Videography FAQ". Archived from the original on 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
  6. ^ a b "U2 – Lemon". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2009-11-26.
  7. ^ "Search Results: Lemon U2". RPM. 1993-11-20. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  8. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (16.09.1993 - 23.09.1993)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  9. ^ "Search Results: Lemon U2". RPM. 1994-02-07. Retrieved 2009-11-25.


External links[edit]