Helter Skelter (live)

In many critics’ damnings of Rattle And Hum, I’ve often seen this song cited as evidence against the album, in particular Bono’s opening remarks of “Charles Manson stole this song from the Beatles…we’re stealing it back!”. To be fair, those (slightly hubristic) words do damn the song; like a new artist sending a demo to a label with “Warning! Potentially classic songs inside!” stamped on the envelope, it suggests that what’s coming up will be stunning. And it isn’t.

It isn’t a disaster, either – to a novice who hasn’t heard the original (that’d be me, first time out) it’s a competent performance, and to someone who has (that’d be me, now) it’s a somewhat faithful and sturdy cover. The problem, though, lies there – “sturdy” should not be an adjective for a song as unhinged as this was meant to be – it’s a song that inspired killings, damnit. The U2 version of “Helter Skelter” isn’t a bad song, but it’s an odd choice of album opener, and it’s not as hard and furious as it should have been, instead quite possibly coming across as nervously reverent to the Beatles. They shoulda done “Revolution 9″…

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~ by 4trak on April 27, 2008.

One Response to “Helter Skelter (live)”

  1. […] naturally fairly low-key, easily picks up the album quality from the not-bad but not-great “Helter Skelter” effort. There’s something slightly anthemic about the song, though, probably in the […]

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