Silver And Gold

Yes, this is technically being listed as Rattle And Hum, because my slightly autistic tendencies don’t allow for multiple categorisation or for Rattle and Hum to be short of a track. All that said, however, I’d avoid the pointlessly longer live album track, because it adds little to what is already an effective studio-recorded b-side. Essentially, the extra 75 seconds or so is an Edge solo of moderate quality and Bono explaining the song – twas a relatively old one at that stage of their career, having been written in 1984, and it addresses apartheid with some striking lyrics (Broken back to the ceiling/Broken nose to the floor) and, naturally, very colour-orientated imagery. The “silver and gold” of the title seems to refer to the economic dominance of the whites in South Africa, which means that the song still retains a relevancy today.

On the studio version, the song begins with a low rattle, in a manner reminiscent of “Still Haven’t Found”, but this time there’s a much darker tone. The bass throbs in a vaguely “Exit” manner, the guitar seems to be pure “Desire” in the way it rips through its riffs, and the drumming, very jazz-like at times with its use of hi-hat and cymbal, at other times simply pummels. Given U2’s style of songwriting, it’s possible that this is, essentially, the Joshua Tree-era “Salome”, a song that span off several others. It’s not quite a classic song, and I can’t think where this would have gone on the Tree, but at least a version went on Rattle and Hum, because it’s an easily good enough song for it.

As for the Sun City version, recorded by Bono and a couple of the Rolling Stones, it has to be emphasised that it’s an early version, which is probably why is sounds a bit too cheesily bluesy. It also has half the Rolling Stones on it, which doesn’t work in its favour either.

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~ by 4trak on May 16, 2008.

2 Responses to “Silver And Gold”

  1. Technically speaking Silver and Gold is not really a U2 song. It was written by Bono after spending and evening being introduced to real blues music by Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. It was truly born out of Bono’s embarrassment at not having any songs he could sing when they were sitting around jamming because U2 songs require all of U2 and he didn’t have any songs of his own. It was during the creation of Little Steven’s Sun City record and when Bono sang the song for Stevie, Keith and Ronnie they all insisted it be recorded and added it to the album at the last minute which is why it is not listed in the original artwork for the release but had a sticker slapped on the packaging to announce it. U2 later did their own version for a b-side but you could really consider that a cover rather than a continuing development of the song.

  2. The problem for me with the R and H version is Bono’s rant: not that I disagree with his basic point but simply because, even if I agree, there’s only a certain number of times you can listen to the same speech before it starts to grate a bit…

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