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A Recording Engineer Wrestled Brian Eno To Save U2's 'Where The Streets Have No Name'

Sometimes history isn't just written but also sung by the victors - at least that's the case with U2 history, which took a decisive turn one day when their recording team literally wrestled over the fate of 'Where the Streets Have No Name'. And if the scrap had gone the other way, you never would've heard Bono - who turns 57 today - belt out the band's anthemic hit.

The musical melee began when 'The Joshua Tree' producer (and former Roxy Music keyboardist) Brian Eno decided that the track - which thousands of fans know and love today - just wasn't good enough for the album. Eno wanted to scrap what the band had and start from scratch. And he came within a couple inches of erasing the song as we know it, but one of his crew declared mutiny.

"Our assistant engineer Pat McCarthy actually physically restrained Brian Eno," The Edge recalled in a March 2017 Q & A with the band. "[Pat] had to come behind him and put him in a giant bear hug and talk him down. Pat was coming into the room apparently with a fried breakfast for Brian...And when he came in, [Brian's] hand was literally inches away from the record button, which would've erased the multi-track."

But the fight didn't end there. After being subdued, Eno pleaded with McCarthy to let him erase the track - for the band's sake. "Brian said, 'But Pat, don't you realize if we have to start again, we'll save so much time. They're just laboring over this backing track that will never make the grade,'" The Edge recalled. "Anyway, it turned out Brian was totally wrong."

Rock fans agree. Since its release in 1987, the song has been featured on lists like Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time and Q magazine's 1001 Best Songs Ever.

The band also opened up about the song's origins during the Q & A. Bono said that he came up with the idea while on a humanitarian trip to Ethiopia. But while Bono daydreamed of a place where roads went unnamed, he was surrounded by locals who had a special nickname for him. "I was known as the girl with the beard," Bono confessed.

Banner Image: LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 12, 2014: U2 with Bono & The Edge in the press room at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards (Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock)


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