"Magnificent" is a song by U2. It is the second track on the band's 2009 album No Line on the Horizon and was released as the album's second single. The song was originally titled "French Disco", but was renamed later in the recording sessions. It is played before the start of every New York Rangers home game at Madison Square Garden.
The single was released on 4 May 2009 and reached #42 on the UK Singles Chart. While well received by critics, it was the first domestically-released U2 single not to make the UK Top 40 since "A Celebration" in 1982.
"Magnificent" originated from the band's improvised recording sessions with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in Fez, Morocco in June 2007. The track was created out of a series of chord changes in the midst of a jam. The Edge noted that "The basic chord progression had a power that got everyone inspired. I think we all knew that it was inherently joyful, which is rare." A group of Moroccan percussionists played along with the band, and the result quickly became a band favourite during the sessions.
Bono noted that the lyrics were influenced by both Cole Porter and Bach, and that the song is about "two lovers holding on to each other and trying to turn their life into worship". Lanois described the song's origins: "We wanted to have something euphoric and Bono came up with that little melody. And he loved that melody, and stuck with it. Almost like a fanfare. And then I was involved in the lyrical process on that, because we wanted to talk about sacrifice that one makes for one's medium or one's art. I thought it had for a setting New York in the 1950s; looking out a small bedroom window. Maybe a Charlie Parker kind of figure."
The song has been remixed numerous times, including versions by Dave Audé, Pete Tong, Redanka, Fred Falke, and Adam K & Soha. The remixes were made available simultaneously with the single release for the song. In the UK the Magnificent Remixes were the highest climber in the Upfront Club Chart at No. 3, and are at No. 4 in the Cool Cuts Chart.will.i.am participated in the creation of an as-yet unreleased remix.
Upon the release of No Line on the Horizon, many critics called "Magnificent" one of the album's highlights. Q wrote that it "echoes The Unforgettable Fire's opening track "A Sort of Homecoming" in its atmospheric sweep", also labelling it as a "slow-building anthem with the ambience of "The Unforgettable Fire' and a re-boot of 'Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses.'" In Allmusic's review of the album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine said that on "Magnificent", U2 "strike that unmistakable blend of soaring, widescreen sonics and unflinching openhearted emotion that's been their trademark, turning the intimate into something hauntingly universal".Mojo praised the song, noting the song's "martial snare drums ratchet the Edge's vertiginous delayed guitar figures across a rock landscape that this band realised to near perfection c. The Unforgettable Fire and which they've now updated with no loss of awe".Blender called the song a "rocker" and "yet another hymn to the powers of love" in which the band "achieve liftoff".NME was critical of the song, calling it "astonishingly uninteresting", adding that it "sounds like [it was] reconstituted from the ...Atomic Bomb sessions".
"Magnificent" debuted at #42 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming U2's first domestically-released single to completely miss the UK Top 40 since 1982's "A Celebration" peaked at #47 (The import-only "In God's Country" charted in 1988, but missed the top 40).
The single was pulled during the second week of release, as some record stores refused to stock it. The song also made a one-week appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 upon No Line on the Horizon's release, peaking at #79. It was added to A-Lists of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 2, along with being added to XFM's playlist and the B-List of BBC 6 Music.