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WAR CHILD ‘HEROES’: New Vs. Old, Part 4: Elbow

Published: Thu February 12, 2009  News Feed

‘War Child: Heroes’ is the ultimate covers album: an unprecedented coming together of music’s greatest ever legends and today’s best artists in support of a great cause.


The album concept sees the biggest heroes in music history select a personal favourite track from their own back catalogue, and nominate an act from the next generation to create a modern reworking of that classic song.

Legends supporting the album include: Sir Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, The Clash and U2. Modern artists recording include: Duffy, Scissor Sisters, Elbow, Beck, Rufus Wainwright and Lily Allen.

The album will be released in February 16 2009 on Parlophone. All profits will aid the real heroes: children affected by the brutalities of war.
Preorder now: www.warchild.org.uk/heroes/buy

All this week we look at the key instruments used by the artists in both the original classic tracks and the modern reworkings put together by today’s acts. Plus we talk to the acts involved about the album.

Today: Elbow covers "Running To Stand Still"

Legend Credentials:
U2 have been the biggest music act in the world since the late 1980s. It’s a position that iconic lead singer Bono insists the band have to prove their credentials for with each new album and tour (as he said in 2000 “we are reapplying for the position of ‘best band in the world’.”). Such has been U2’s insistence on pushing themselves that they have had creative and commercial successes beyond any other.

U2 have won more Grammy Awards than any other band (22); they were only the fourth band to appear on the cover of "Time" magazine (after The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Who); their 2005 Vertigo tour was the biggest grossing ever ($389m) being seen by over 4.6 million people; U2 have sold over 140m albums; their most recent album 2004’s "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" debuted at number 1 in 32 countries, smashing their previous US record sales in the process.

Remarkably for a band with such longevity and profile, they have never changed line-up (Bono, lead singer and songwriter; The Edge, lead guitar, keyboards, vocals; Adam Clayton, bass guitar; Larry Mullen Jr., drums joined together at their Dublin school in 1976) or manager, they have worked with Paul McGuinness since 1978.

Equally remarkably, the band began with high ideals and firm principles. They decided to use the band's career to promote their belief in social justice from the very start – and they have stuck by it to amazing effect.

Their popular early song "Sunday Bloody Sunday", from 1983, commemorated the slaughter of innocent civilians during the Irish troubles and called for a renunciation of violence. Throughout the 1980s the band used this song to campaign against the IRA. This led to threats that if they continued they would be kidnapped. The band continued anyway.

U2 were major participants in the historic and seminal "Live Aid" concert of 1985, and Bono has become prominent in efforts to end poverty and seek relief from AIDS and promote trade for Africa, using his profile to meet personally with world leaders and business chiefs.

U2’s new audition for the biggest band in the world begins again with their first album in five years, No Line on the Horizon, due in March.

The Original Track:
This beautiful, soft, piano-based song is the fifth track from “The Joshua Tree”, U2’s landmark 1987 album. According to Bono in a BBC TV documentary, the track order for the album was devised by singer Kirsty MacColl. She put her favorite song first, then her second favorite, and so on… Bono has since rated the track much higher, naming it in interviews as among his favourite five all-time U2 tracks.

Elbow’s Guy Garvey
“The first song we ever covered together before we had enough of our own songs to do a performance was 'Running To Stand Still'. For ‘Heroes’ we've changed the order of things but kept every musical theme in the song. We wrote it with the members of U2 in mind.”

Elbow gear includes: Fender Twin Reverb, Vox AC-30 (just like The Edge...), Line 6 DL4 Delay, Roland VK-8 keyboard, Epiphone Jack Cassidy bass, Fender Jazz Bass.

Guitars include Fender Stratocaster, Gibson ES-335 and a Godin Montreal (it seems Elbow have joined the increasing number of artists who use one of those great Canadian guitars!)

Classic Clip:
Bono, The Edge and producer Daniel Lanois talk through the story behind the making of the original track, and making “music that takes you to a physical as well as an emotional place”.

Buy Album Now!


You can pre-order the album now, from HMV:

Buy Now

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