“Silver and Gold”
Rattle and Hum
There are, of course, tracks that didn’t make it onto The End of the Eighties that should have. They are songs that didn’t fit the flow of the playlist or are by an artist I felt was already/better represented by another track.
When it comes to live tracks off Rattle and Hum with Bono monologues, it’s a tough call between “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Silver and Gold”. As difficult as it is to tell the difference between ABC News, Hill Street Blues, and a preacher on The Old Time Gospel Hour, and regardless of whether or not your god is short of cash, I went with “Silver and Gold”.
Written, according to Bono, “in a hotel room in New York City,” the song originally saw life on the Sun City album. That version, recorded with Bono, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood, was eventually released as a promotional single. A couple of years later, rerecorded by U2 proper, the song showed up on the b-side of the Joshua Tree single “Where the Streets Have No Name”, which eventually gets us to the Joshua Tree Tour and Rattle and Hum.
Here, by way of Bono’s “This song is not a rebel song, this song is ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’” intro on Under a Blood Red Sky, the anti-apartheid speech in the middle of “Silver and Gold” is just too ripe with awesome affectations to be ignored, making it infinitely quotable. To this day, any phrase I come across that begins with “’round about...” is completed in my head with “...the time a friend of ours, Little Steven, was putting together a record of arTists aGainst aPart-Tide!” John and I used to quote both “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Silver and Gold” incessantly, which has carried over to this day both between us and spread out among the rest of my everyday life. Tracy knows any incarnation of “Am Ah buggin’ you?” will always be followed by “Don’t meant ta bug ya.”
“Silver and Gold” is one of those songs that deserves a place on The End of the Eighties, but there simply wasn’t a place where I felt comfortable inserting it. I never found the right song-to-song flow that worked with it. Even though it’s not a proper track on the playlist, it’s still worthy of the recognition.
“Ok, Edge, play the blues...”