Sweetest Thing

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For other uses, see Sweetest Thing (disambiguation).
"Sweetest Thing"
Single by U2
from the album The Best of 1980–1990
Released 20 October 1998
Format CD, cassette
Recorded 1987, 1998
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:03 (Single mix)
3:06 (Original version)
Label Island
Producer(s) Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno
U2 singles chronology
"Sweetest Thing"
"Beautiful Day"
Music video
"Sweetest Thing" on YouTube

"Sweetest Thing" is a song by Irish group U2. It was originally released in 1987 as a B-side on the "Where the Streets Have No Name" single. The song was later re-recorded and re-released, as a single in October 1998 for the U2 compilation album, The Best of 1980-1990.


The song was reportedly written by Bono as an apology to his wife Ali Hewson[1] for having to work in the studio on her birthday during The Joshua Tree sessions.[2] At Alison's request, profits from the single went to her favoured charity, Chernobyl Children's Project International.[2]


A version by New York gospel choir, The New Voices of Freedom, appears on the soundtrack to the 1988 Bill Murray film Scrooged. It was recorded following U2's performance of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" with the choir at Madison Square Garden, which appears on the band's 1988 album Rattle and Hum.[3]

To promote the release of the single in 1998, Island Records distributed "Sweetest Thing" chocolate bars, wrapped to look like the single, throughout Europe. They have become a very valuable collectors item among U2 fans during the 2000s.[4] The song reached #1 in both Canada and Ireland, #3 in the UK,[5] #6 in Australia, #63 on the Billboard Hot 100, #9 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and #31 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the United States.

Live Performances[edit]

The song made its live debut on the opening night of the Elevation Tour, and was played occasionally over the first and second legs.[6] It was then not played again until the Innocence + Experience Tour, where once again it only made occasional appearances over the course of the tour.

Performances on the Elevation Tour featured Bono playing the piano parts whilst The Edge played electric guitar. On the Innocence + Experience tour, it was played on the e-stage in a stripped down version, with The Edge playing acoustic guitar and Bono joining in on the piano about half way through the song.

Music video[edit]

Ali Hewson makes an appearance at the beginning of the video.

The video, directed by Kevin Godley, features Bono taking his wife Ali Hewson on a carriage ride along Fitzwilliam Place, and on to Upper Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin,[7] enlisting various performers along the way in an effort to apologize to her. The performers featured include Riverdance, Boyzone, Steve Collins, the Artane Boys Band, and the Chippendales. The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Norman Hewson (Bono's brother), Dik Evans (The Edge's brother), and Ali herself appear in the video as well.[8]

Track listings[edit]

Cassette release
No. Title Length
1. "Sweetest Thing" (Single mix) 3:00
2. "Twilight" (Live in Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado, 5 June 1983) 4:29
CD version 1
No. Title Length
1. "Sweetest Thing" (Single mix) 3:00
2. "Twilight" (Live in Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado, 5 June 1983) 4:29
3. "An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart" (Live in Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison, Colorado, 5 June 1983) 7:14

The back cover listed the third track simply as a live version of "An Cat Dubh".

CD version 2
No. Title Length
1. "Sweetest Thing" (Single mix) 3:00
2. "Stories for Boys" (Live in Boston, Massachusetts, 6 March 1981) 3:02
3. "Out of Control" (Live in Boston, March 6, 1981) 4:25
Japan 3" CD
No. Title Length
1. "Sweetest Thing" (Single mix) 3:00
2. "With or Without You"   4:56