"Original of the Species" (2000)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Original of the Species” is a song that was released on 2004’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, but was initially developed for All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

In the summer of 2000, in an issue of Propaganda, there is an interview with The Edge and Danny Lanois as they work on the album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and during that interview the song “Original of the Species” is mentioned:

There’s a large whiteboard hung on the studio wall. On the left-hand side, the band have listed twelve tracks, followed by boxes with ticks inside them — big or small — indicating the progress of lyric, arrangement, recording and so on. On the right hand side of the board is another list, with another eight songs. Surely not a double album? “The songs on the left are those that are favourites for the album,” explains Edge “The songs on the right are those that are fighting for a place on the album.” As he says this he suddenly remembers another track presumably from another list that is fighting to be remembered to get on a whiteboard to get on the album. “Peace on Earth,” he says to Lanois. “Danny, we’ve forgotten to put up Peace on Earth.” “That’s true,” says Lanois. “But you know, we might only need nine great songs to make a great album.”

The names of the songs are working titles and may well be entirely different by the autumn, but for the record, the column on the right reads: “Original of the Species”; “Stuck in a Moment”; “Elevation”; “Kite”; “Yesterday and Tomorrow”; “Sometime”; “Home”; “In a Little While”; “The Sun, The Moon and The Stars”, and “Wild Honey”. The column on the left features “When I Look at the World”; “Beautiful Day”; “Jubilee”; “Bulldozer”; “Love and Peace (Soul)”, “Stranded and Grace”. “Wow!” says Lanois, scribbling in his notebook as the tape rolls again. “‘Lonely Soul’.” “No that wasn’t ‘Lonely Soul’,” says the guitarist, “That’s ‘Morning’ he’s singing.”

In the same article it is also mentioned that Edge suggests ways of musically re-editing “Home” to the engineer. At the end of the article they move “In a Little While” from the left side of the board, moving it to the right, and then adds “Peace on Earth” on the board.

In the alternate video for “Beautiful Day” filmed in Eze and Dublin’s Hanover Quay studio, that appears on the 18 Videos release, we get to see a bit of a white board listing some songs worked on during the All That You Can’t Leave Behind sessions. On that white board we see “Home” (an early version of “Walk On”), above that is “Beautiful Day (Always)” with notes saying to “add shine gtr” and “fix tamb.”, and above that is “NY / Snow is Falling” (perhaps “New York” had an alternate set of lyrics?)

But that is all we see in the commercially released video. However on U2.com in the lead up to the release of the album, a short EPK video for the album was located on the site which shows the same whiteboard, however we get to see more of it. Above “NY / Snow is Falling” is “Kite (Stuck)”, above that is “Elevation (Busy Bee)”, above that is “Stuck in a Moment”, and the last title we see before the camera pans away is “Original of the Species (Everywhere I Go)”.

In the October 2002 issue of Q Magazine, reporter Tom Doyle speaks with U2 in studio, and listens to some new songs:

It’s affecting stuff. And there’s more to come. Edge buries his navy blue skull-capped head into a bulging slip-case of CD-Rs and locates his favourite mix of “Original of the Species,” a slinky pop song built around a primitive riff, with shades of Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane.” Bono is on his feet in an instant and monkey-stepping to the loping groove, singing away and proudly declaring, “This one’s about Edge’s daughter.”

In 2006, when U2 published the book U2 by U2, the book provided a glimpse into some working titles and demo tracks. One of the images shown was from a piece of equipment with notes labeling different songs. We see notes about “Xanax” (listed twice as Xanax 1 and Xanax 2), “Spiderman Slide Solo,” “Treason,” “Original,” “Neanderthal,” “All Because” and “Shark Soup.” We know that many of these songs went on to become tracks on How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and this photo was taken during the development of that album.

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