"The Sun, The Moon and The Stars" (1996)

Demo Song

Background Information

“The Sun, The Moon and the Stars” was a song developed for 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind which may have originated back in the 1997 sessions for Pop.

During the All That You Can’t Leave Behind release period, two song titles were announced as B-sides, but later did not appear on the singles on which they were announced. On December 5, 2000, youtwo.net announced the track listings for “Stuck in A Moment” and the list included “Novelty Act”. On April 6, 2001, u2wanderer.org announced the track listing for “Elevation” and the list included a song called “The Sun, The Moon and the Stars”. In both cases, the track listings proved to be correct with the exception of these two songs. And the song names were provided by insiders at the record label. Listings on online sales sites including CD Universe and Buy.Com would also list these alternate tracks. Both songs were leftovers from the Pop sessions.

“Novelty Act” was eventually replaced with “Big Girls Are Best”. In the case of “The Sun, The Moon and the Stars” the track was replaced with “Elevation (The Biffco Mix)”.

Both tracks however did crop up again. In the Four5One book “Stealing Hearts from a Traveling Show” a series of photos of alternate covers for the Pop album show both of these songs existed as possible titles for the album at one point. “The Sun, The Moon and the Stars” can also be heard as a lyric in one of the remixes of “Discotheque”, perhaps sampled from this song they were working on.

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 “The Sun, The Moon and the Stars” 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.

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