Salome Liner Notes

Internet by Sira Vista (1991-11-18)

U2 Salome: The Achtung Baby Working Tapes

In the early 1990s when working on “Achtung Baby” recordings from those sessions were stolen and released through bootlegged channels, what follows here are a list of notes pertaining to these recordings compiled by a fan who went by the name Sira Vista. These have been widely circulated on the internet and we reprint them here.

The Achtung Baby Working Tapes

In the winter of 1990, U2 were hard at work in Hansa Ton recording studios in Berlin, Germany. The ultimate result of this effort would be the November, 1991 release of their next album, “Achtung Baby.” However, in December, 1990, that album was a great ways off because U2 (unlike most other bands) entered the studio with very few lyric or song ideas. Instead, U2 came into the studio to create as well as record. Here they sought inspirations for songs from playing together. They would ‘etch’ out ideas while improvising around some basic idea, or riff. Since all this ‘jamming’ was taking place in a recording studio, even the simplest of ideas was captured on tape. The highlights of these tapes were then edited down and compiled into ‘working tapes’ recorded onto DAT (Digital Audio Tape) cassettes. Tapes of this nature were used to hold possible song ideas, as well as a means for Brian Eno (and others) to hear the band’s progress and make suggestions about the music.

In April of 1991, it was announced that such tapes had found their way into the hands of bootleggers. Since then, the U2 ‘working tapes’ have been pressed in a variety of forms:

The debut pressing of the sessions. Available on vinyl only, as two separate double album packages. The covers were identical except for the colors of the lettering. One cover featured silver lettering, while the
other had gold. In this pressing both LPs of the silver lettered album proved to be identical. This resulted in four LPs being released, but with only three LPs worth of material.

It was widely rumored that the set had been pressed again, but this time without any duplication between the LPs. If true, this meant that there were now four LPs worth of material available.

This time the pressings were released as a boxed set of 5 LPs. Surprisingly, there was no duplication within the set. All of these LPs were pressed on translucent vinyl, in either blue or green (pink pressings
have also been rumored). There were now 5 LPs worth of material available, which came to a staggering total of 3 hours, 27 minutes, and 28 seconds.

This was the release that had been deemed “too hot” to ever be pressed. The complete three-and-a-half hours worth of material were now available as a triple compact disc set. Since these CDs were mastered from the original DAT recordings, there’s no quality loss between the original working tapes and these CDs. Thus the sound quality is far superior to the LPs. The title, “Salome,” is believed to have been a working title used during the Achtung Baby sessions, but it’s not clear which song it was referring to.

With these releases U2 found themselves in the dubious position of being “the first major band to have studio sessions released before the finished product was either released, abandoned or the group broke up.”

U2’s manager, Paul McGuiness, reacted to the bootlegs by releasing a press statement accusing the bootleggers of cheating the fans by passing off inferior material. He also stated that the finished product had evolved by leaps and bounds from what was being illegally circulated.

Regardless of the superior polish of the finished material released as “Achtung Baby,” the material found on the bootlegs is fascinating in and of itself. The most compelling aspect about the bootlegged material is that, rather than offering slightly alternative versions of tracks found on the finished record, they instead reveal the song writing process itself. Familiar solos, bass lines, bridges and riffs abound, and there is also a host of interesting songs that didn’t find their way onto “Achtung Baby.”

What follows are pseudo “liner notes” for the Achtung Baby ‘working tapes’. For the purpose of these notes, the “Salome” triple CD set is used as the source of reference.

Due to the nature of the recordings, the actual TITLES of the songs are unknown. This makes discussions of the material very difficult unless you happen to have the CDs available for play at the moment of conversation, or are able to remember the running order of each disc. Therefore, “Fan Working Titles” (hereafter referred to as FWT) have been created. These are only meant as an aid when discussing and digesting this material, and do not represent what U2 might have actually called the songs. FWTs also help keep a lineage evident as a song evolves.

These “notes” attempt to describe the songs musically and provide an audible association with the FWTs. These are followed by one or more “sound bites” of lyrics from Bono. These “sound bytes” further aid in the identification of the track for conversational reference, and are labelled with the approximate time of their occurrence in brackets. The quoted material under “Bono -” is silly and/or amusing things Bono says (as opposed to sings). ENJOY!

Sira Vista
Version 1.00 on July 13th, 1992
© Copyright 1992

Disc 1, Track 1 (5:59)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: This song must have been the most painful to evolve, since there are more takes of it than any other on SALOME. You can virtually sing the words to Salome (from the CD single of “Even Better Than The Real Thing”) to this take. Perhaps it’s title here still should be Got To Get Together Now, but it’s Salome for identity purposes. The bass line leads one to believe this is an early form of ZOO STATION. Later also takes support this theory. words? “Love, baby please don’t go” “We got to get together now…break!”

Disc 1, Track 2 (4:11)
FWT: Where Did It All Go Wrong?
NOTES: Here, all 4 members of U2 keep up a frantic pace resulting in a fast, hard driving song that sounds GREAT! It’s very repetitive, but that’s the hook. It’s all 4 members of U2 moving pretty fast. The music “skips” at 2:21. words? “Did you want it? Did you get it?” “Did you feel it?”

Disc 1, Track 3 (3:44)
FWT: Where Did It All Go Wrong?
NOTES: A much more catchy version with a cool, albeit out of place, bridge. words? “did you get it? did you need it? did you really get what you wanted?”

Disc 1, Track 4 (6:48)
FWT: Heaven And Hell
NOTES: U2 playing the same instrumental backing as DOCTOR DOCTOR, but with
Bono singing completely different words. A great slow song with a nice “fat” organ sound. words?
“Nothing’s feels like this before now
Your heaven and hell
Baby, you’re heaven and hell
Heaven and hell”
“Oh, heaven and hell
I wanna chance to hold you
I wanna chance to kill you
I wanna chance to keep you awake at night
When the sunlight bursts through the room
But you can’t always get everything you want
You take cards from all under the table
You’re heaven
Heaven and hell
Baby you’re heaven
Heaven and hell
Yeah, you’re heaven
Heaven and hell”
Bono- “The organ, just organ”[4:24], The band stops, organ picks up, and
then band comes back in.
“Organ” [5:36], the organ cuts in beautifully.
“This time when we come in, I want it quietly. Not the drums but everyone
else.” [5:44]

Disc 1, Track 5 (2:36)
FWT: Doctor Doctor
NOTES: U2 playing the same instrumental backing as HEAVEN AND HELL, but Bono singing completely different words. The music “skips” at 1:47, fades out at 1:51, and back in at 1:55, and then back out again at 2:35.
“I can’t hold you back”
“Doctor, Doctor
Tell me what to do
I got heartbreak in my pocket
I got sunlight next to you
Doctor, doctor
Will the difference be adjourned?”

Disc 1, Track 6 (3:57)
FWT: Jitterbug Baby
NOTES: This song fades in with a bouncy guitar riff and Bono singing in a low voice. There’s plenty of reverb on Bono and plenty of Edge “cutting” to ensure this song being scrapped early on. The words are quite lost in the mix.
words? “Jitterbug Baby”
Jitterbug Baby”
Jitterbug, I got my high heeld shoes”
Ooohhhhoooooh, ya!”
“Jitterbug Baby
Our love is bad
When the sun is burning
And our love comes to
I got my high heel love
I am running to
My little Jitterbug Baby
Bono- “Ok, here we go!” [2:28]

Disc 1, Track 7 (9:16)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: A real bridge take. You can hear U2 take a song that wasn’t working for them and change it drastically to try and make something out of it. The change was for a slower “less crowded” sound which results in a bored sounding band. Towards the end of the take you can hear the familiar ZOO STATION-ish sounds coming forth in bursts. At 5:31 Bono sings something that prompts Larry to drum a little faster, this in turn has The Edge (around 6:40) changing his guitar melody. It changes the whole sound quite a bit! At 7:00 Bono reintroduces lyrics from the beginning of the song (why?), but soon calls out “We’re going into the F, going down to the F” which brings them into some place completely different. “E minor” from Bono changes the sound of things even further. It seems something happens on the
spur of the moment that changes the song more than the simple chord changes. At 7:37 things really start coming together, so much as to prompt Bono to say (at 7:55) “That’s really great stuff, Larry Mullen.” Further toying with the song ultimately wears them down, and at 9:10 the steam runs out very suddenly.
words? “We got to, got to get it together….”
“Oh, honey child, oh honey child, honey child.”
“I like when the hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-lights burnin’”
“I feel this love is getting higher. “
Bono- “Chorus! Ah, la la got to get to gether now.
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Ya got to get together now- stop! Two, three, four.”

Disc 1, Track 8 (5:37)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: The beginning sounds almost like a “remixed” version of the song. U2 seem to be taken by the idea of radically changing the songs in an effort to spur creativity. There’s a great deal of “production” on this take; plenty of assorted effects and sound loops. The vocals can be heard, but it is difficult to understand much of what is being said. This songs later evolution into ZOO STATION is most evident in this take, especially toward the end (i.e.- the fuzzy booming sound at 3:14). The familiar ZOO STATION loop of clanking bells can also be heard throughout the song.
words? “well, you’re high as a kite
burning with all your might”

Disc 1, Track 9 (8:49)
FWT: Sunset In Colors
NOTES: A loose melody, mostly instrumental with a very bright sound. A very good song consisting mainly of The Edge on lead guitar.
words? “Here comes the sunset, it comes in colors…
Don’t change it.”
“I’m lost and I’m wasting all your time.
Here comes changes, coming all the time.”
Bono- “I still can’t hear my voice. Can you turn it up? yeah, nice. A
little reverb?”

[Editors note: On the Salome CD, the following track is erroneously indexed as part of track 9 at 8:52. Therefore, what is discussed here as tracks 11 and 12, are indexed as tracks 10 and 11. For the purpose of these notes, the indexing error has been ignored in an effort to correspond with corrected pressings in the future.]

Disc 1, Track 10 (6:08)
FWT: Chances Away
NOTES: Demo sounding with only few words from Bono (though he seems to know the music!). Bono sings bits of TAKE YOU DOWN, another song from these sessions. This is an early form of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD. The familiar riff is heard at the end of the choruses (indexed: 4:14, non-indexed: 10:22)
words? “Don’t hide away…you’ve got to take your chances.”
Bono- “Adam go around until you can hear the drums. You know the chords by
now. It’s the same thing.” [indexed: 3:16, non-indexed: 12:08] “Okay, it’s
the verse. Okay, verse- one, two, three…” [indexed: 5:20, non-indexed:

Disc 1, Track 11 (1:40)
FWT: Chances Away
NOTES: Fades in for short while and then back out again. Odd. Perhaps there is something in this short clip that U2 wanted to keep for future reference.

Disc 1, Track 12 (6:35)
FWT: I Feel Free
NOTES: Both Bono and The Edge sing vocals on this track, making it sound more planned, rather than the brainstorming session we heard in CHANCES AWAY. Almost immediately we hear the familiar riff from CHANCES AWAY, only this time it is the basis of the song instead of the second half of the chorus. This is an early form of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD.
words? “We shadow down, shadow down by the water”
“Don’t lock me down, lock me down.
I feel free. I feel free.
And I Feel Free. I Feel Free.”
“Iiiieeeee feeeeeeeeeeeel freeeeeeeeeeee yeeaahh!” ————————————————————————————————————

Disc 2, Track 1 (4:31)
FWT: I Feel Free
NOTES: A fantastic shriek from Bono at beginning. The UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD guitar riff is the basis for the whole song. Vocals are mostly Bono, but Edge provides backup. This take is much more free-form than Disc 1, track 12. This is an early form of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD.
words? “Where did you go?
Where did you go?
I’d really like to know.”
“i.. i.. i.. feel free…”

Disc 2, Track 2 (2:02)
FWT: Sweet Baby Jane
NOTES: Bono sings the first verse a capella (and stammers on a word!) in a thick ‘Bongloese’. The Edge follows him with guitar, then they both join up. Adam comes in later. No Drums.
words? (This was only attempted because the first verse is just Bono with
no backing.)
“And I’ll come in to say goodbye
Took in seargant maims my b-bye
More than dreams and the bottom’ll come
When she would encumber writing well”
(Good luck on further figuring out what he’s singing.)
“And if you catch me I’ll take your time”
“Sweet baby Jane, sweet baby Jane.
Sweet baby Jane, sweet baby Jane.”
“And if you call, I’ll come running’
And if you ask, I will be given.
And if you need me, I will be here.”

Disc 2, Track 3 (5:35)
FWT: Morning Child / Don’t Turn Around
NOTES: This song is an early form of WHO’S GONNA RIDE YOUR WILD HORSES. Bono sings “sweet morning child” a few times then later sings “don’t turn around” to the same melody. Bono asks for lyrics! Bono tells Edge [4:17] “Say ‘don’t turn around’ over and over again” and The Edge creates instant backup vocals. The audio cuts to silence for about one second at 4:48. When it returns Bono says, “Try not to do that.” At the end of the take Bono says “That alright mates?,” someone replies, “Yeah, that was real perfect.”
words? “Baby sweet talking baby
Don’t turn around and see
Don’t turn around.
We’re suffering the same.
Don’t turn, we’ll break.”
“Don’t turn around, don’t turn around again”
“Don’t turn.. Caledonia,
Caledonia, Caledonia.. Don’t turn around”
Bono- “I don’t know too many words”
“Is this the chorus?”
“It’s the verse again?”
“This is the chorus, yeah…”
“Sing ‘don’t turn around’ over and again so I can keep singing” (And Edge
sings backup)

Disc 2, Track 4 (4:00)
FWT: Morning Child / Don’t Turn Around
NOTES: This song is an early form of WHO’S GONNA RIDE YOUR WILD HORSES. In this take you can really hear the acoustic guitar. The bridge here is similar to how it turns out on the album (only better in my opinion; Bono barely sings at all during this bridge). Bono starts singing “morning child” towards the end of the take.
words? “No, don’t…ask why. Oh, no don’t ask questions.”
“Morning morning morning morning child.
Oh, lonely child.”

Disc 2, Track 5 (5:09)
FWT: Morning Child / Don’t Turn Around
Notes: This song is an early form of WHO’S GONNA RIDE YOUR WILD HORSES. Bono sings “don’t say goodbye” several times in the same melody as he sings “morning child” and “don’t turn around.” Bono goes for some vocal calisthenics toward the end of the take.
words? “I’ve been down there, been down
I’ve been down, I’ve been down there…
I’ve been down there, oh, I’ve been down there.”
“Don’t you turn around, don’t turn around.”
“Oh, in your eyes an angel dies
Love in the shadows and in December rain”
“Oh, don’t say goodbye, don’t say goodbye…” etc.

Disc 2, Track 6 (6:29)
FWT: Take Today
NOTES: Nice instrumental song with harmonica and horns.

Disc 2, Track 7 (4:51)
FWT: Even Better Than The Real Thing
NOTES: This is pretty much an instrumental version of EVEN BETTER THAN THE REAL THING. You can practically sing along with this one. The crescendo ending is fantastic, much better than the commercial version.

Disc 2, Track 8 (7:44)
FWT: She’s Gonna Turn Your Head Around
NOTES: This “version” sounds very little like what it later evolves/changes into. The vocals have a heavy, plate sounding reverb. The audio is quieter than other tracks. It fades out early. Bono sings “she’s gonna take her chances, gonna take her chances” to what will be the melody of “She’s gonna turn your head around.” He also sings some other stuff to the same melody. Bono ad libs though much of the song. Doesn’t Larry ever get tired?
words? “How does it feel when you’re letting go?”
“How does it fell when you’re out of control?”
“Is anybody calling? Is anybody home? Is anybody Home?”
“I’m calling out for love. Is anybody home?”
“Sugar cane, sugar cane, sugar cane, sugar cane,“etc.
“Midnight is when the day begins. Midnight.”
Bono: Sounds like a lot of improvisation here.
“Just drums.”[2:55], the band cuts to just drums for a bit.)
“Edge- dooh dooh dooh”[7:11] (The Edge follows Bono’s vocals w/guitar.)
“Doo doo dooo dooo dooo”[7:37]

Disc 2, Track 9 (7:38)
FWT: She’s Gonna Turn Your Head Around
NOTES: There is now much less echo, more song structure, and a normal volume level. The chorus, “she’s gonna blow your house down, she’s gonna turn your head around, she’s gonna blow your house down,” is now consistent now. This take KICKS!
words? “She’s gonna blow your house down, she’s gonna take
your head off, she’s gonna take you down”
Bono: “Bridge! How does it feel when you’ve gone into the Bridge now? How
does it feel when you’re in the Bridge? Bridge, in the bridge, in the
bridge, and Chorus! She’s gonna blow your house down, take your head
around, she’s gonna blow your house down.”
“Let’s do the bridge again”
“Bridge. Dah, dah, dah, dah.. AND INTO THE CHORUS!”

Disc 2, Track 10 (5:33)
FWT: Back Mask U2
NOTES: This is an early form of SO CRUEL. The connection becomes more evident later on. There’s plenty of percussion playing backwards behind the band. The sound is slow and depressing. Bono mumbles through most of the song (a la ELVIS PRESLEY AND AMERICA). Toward the end it becomes mainly instrumental, although at x:xx we hear a line we know from SO CRUEL.
words? “And the day is dry.
And there’s no water.
And you can’t see the road ahead,
You can only see her.”
“Woman… Woman…”
“A promise comes to this house, Where no one can sleep.”

Disc 2, Track 11 (7:41)
FWT: She’s Gonna Turn Your Head Around
NOTES: Bono says “wake up!” a lot. The melody has changed a little bit. Bono sings, “better wake up, better wake up tonight, better find a new plan, better wake up tonight” to the melody of SHE’S GONNA TURN YOUR HEAD AROUND chorus. Bono sings in a very high pitched voice towards the end, “she’s gonna blow your house down, she’s gonna turn your head around, she’s gonna take you down.” It’s as if he finally figured out the chorus!
words? “How does it feel when your head is full of soul?”
“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”
Bono: “Here comes the chorus”[0:27]
“Better wake up, wake up tonight. Better sing a new song… so long.”[4:29]

Disc 2, Track 12 (6:32)
FWT: Take Today
NOTES: This version has Bono singing, and Edge doing backup. Sounds sort of “family” like. The audio cuts to silence for about 1/10th of a second at 5:14. Another drop out is heard at 6:28.
words? “And you know And you know that’s going to be alright
No one’s gonna tear
No one’s gonna tear us apart
Every summer
Every summer’s gonna be alright
I’ll come by
At July
Yeah, come by in July
Every summer.”
“If you want to take tomorrow,
Then you’ve got to take today.”
Bono: “You’re on the air… Okay, here we go…”[0:14]
“…then you’ve got to seize the day.”[4:23] ————————————————————————————————————

Disc 3, Track 1 (1:05)
FWT: Someone
NOTES: This is a short clip of a song that sounds like a jam session. Something must be in this clip that U2 wanted to save for later development.
words? “And you’re calling out to someone
You believe is in your heart”

Disc 3, Track 2 (3:11)
FWT: Back Mask U2
NOTES: This is an early form of SO CRUEL. This is evident not only in the percussion, but also in the general emotion of the song (specifically, the last two lines of the take). One can really understand what Bono is singing!
words? “When the night turns mean on you
And the day is dry
And there’s no water around
And you can’t see the road ahead
You can only see her…
White and alive
She’s laughing in the face of love
Your love is white and alive
This is your last chance in my dreams
In my dreams she stands over me
Surrounded on all sides
She has taken the higher ground
And I’m the willing victim of her love
And faith my favorite drug
And faith my favorite drug
I’m sick for love
Sick for her love
Sick foods you sell
Just the sight of you makes me wobble
I can’t see straight, walk or talk to anyone else
I can’t even talk to you
White and alive
I’m laughing in the face of your face
White and alive
Sick for love
Sick for love
So, between the horses of love and lust
I’m trampled underfoot.”

Disc 3, Track 3 (4:19)
FWT: Acrobat
NOTES: This song is ACROBAT with slightly different words. It is the only song that survived these sessions virtually unchanged. Bono sings “Don’t let (X) take you down,” where X seems to be assorted different things, people, etc. It’s hard to actually pick any but a few out. A GREAT guitar solo from The Edge.
words? “Don’t let them take you down.”
“Don’t let the teardrops grind you down.”
“Don’t let the tears take you down.”
“And you know that you try and you try
To make it right, to make it so,
To make it sweet, they make it hard”
“How does it feel to be burned by the sun.

Disc 3, Track 4 (5:56)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: The bass line (reminiscent of some Rolling Stones’ song) is the tell-tale clue that reveals this to be an early form of ZOO STATION. It’s very difficult to distinguish any lyrics.
words? “…and the shotgun”?
“We’ve got to get together now”

Disc 3, Track 5 (5:09)
FWT: Morning Child / Don’t Turn Around
NOTES: Same take as the Disc 2, Track 5, except here the beginning has been partially omitted.

Disc 3, Track 6 (5:16)
FWT: Take You Down
NOTES: This song is an early form of LADY WITH THE SPINNING HEAD, which later evolved into ULTRAVIOLET (Light My Way). The guitar solo was used again in THE FLY, and the bridge moved on to be used as the intro to ULTRAVIOLET (Light My Way). Edge is NOT signing backup, it’s Bono! The left and right channels are different takes of Bono singing to the same backing music. Each channel sounds quite different from the other, and the two only come together in one or two places. The vocals are not completely isolated to the left or right channels. In each channel you can faintly hear the other. During the guitar solo and bridge you can only hear one vocal track (in both channels). Hendrix-like solo, wow! A frantic ending. This song rips! Much, MUCH better than the LADY WITH THE SPINNING HEAD.
“Oh, wont you get it up and get
My heart in the sunlight”
“Going to the back light,
Going back to the way we were.
Ahh, hahh
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up dead man
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up dead man
“They’re trying to take you down”
“And out you call,
You want it so,
And out you call.”
Bono: “I was singing a bit late in here” (The band slows down for a bit.)
“I know sometimes you get it wrong, You got to get it wrong, Sometimes you
get it wrong, You take it anymore…”

Disc 3, Track 7 (5:24)
FWT: Going Down South
NOTES: Instrumental. Sounds like some ‘hillbilly’ rock band. All that’s missing is someone on washbasin and whiskey jug.

Disc 3, Track 8 (3:52)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: This is Bono screwing around with a 12-string guitar while the backing of ‘Salome’ (Disc 3, Track 4) is playing. He is presumably trying to work out something, but God only knows what. This take becomes truly annoying to the listener after a couple of minutes (then again it was never meant to be LISTENED to). The plucking of strings from the 12-string can be heard, while in later takes, you hear strumming and chord progressions.

Disc 3, Track 9 (13:08)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: More guitar overdubbing amounts to 13 minutes of an idea being pounded to death from an assortment of angles with plenty of reverb.

Disc 3, Track 10 (6:03)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: More guitar overdubbing, although this time it seems more idea-oriented. U2 should be given credit for being a great band, but the process of creating a song via this method is about as pleasant as giving yourself a root canal.

Disc 3, Track 11 (8:05)
FWT: Salome
NOTES: The take starts with someone announcing: “Bono, 12-string…take 2”. Not much progress here. It seems like someone is toying with the mix during this take. By the end of the track, the vocals and guitar are turned down so as to make the 12 string, percussion, and bass more prominent.

Disc 3, Track 12 (12:04)
FWT: Salome’
NOTES: This track begins with a few seconds from the previous track (with it’s percussion and bass biased mix). Then it’s onto more 12-string overdubbing. Fades in and out a couple of times. What they were trying to isolate is not apparent.

Special thanks to:
Wire (U2 mailing list)
and U2

“The only thing that can piss you off is if people are charging a lot of money for something that isn’t very good. It [the Achtung Baby working tapes] got bootlegged in Berlin and it was just like having your notebook read out. That’s the bit I didn’t like about it. There were no undiscovered works of genius, unfortunately, it was more just gobbledy-gook.” But he admits to going out and buying a copy of that bootleg anyway!

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