Last Night on Earth

Last Night on Earth

Single infobox
Name = Last Night on Earth

Artist = U2
from Album = Pop
B-side = "Pop Muzik" / "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"
Released = July 14, 1997
Format = CD, cassette
Recorded =
Genre = Rock
Length = 4:14
Label = Island
Producer = Flood
Chart position =

  • #32 (Australia)
  • #10 (UK Singles Chart)
  • #57 (US Billboard Hot 100)
  • #11 (US Modern Rock Tracks)
  • #18 (US Mainstream Rock Tracks)
  • #9 (Canada)

  • Last single = "Staring at the Sun" (1997)
    This single = "Last Night on Earth" (1997)
    Next single = "Please" (1997)
    Misc = Extra tracklisting
    Album = Pop
    Type = studio
    prev_track = "Staring at the Sun"
    prev_no = 5
    this_track = "Last Night on Earth"
    track_no = 6
    next_track = "Gone"
    next_no = 7
    "Last Night on Earth" is the third single from U2's 1997 album, "Pop". The song features excerpts from "Trayra Boia," written by Naná Vasconcelos and Denise Milan.cite web | url= | title=Last Night on Earth Single | | accessdate=2007-08-10]


    "Last Night on Earth" was written during the "Pop" sessions, which took place from late 1996 to early 1997. Assuming they had plenty of time to finish recording the songs for the album, the band told manager Paul McGuinness to go ahead and book their PopMart Tour, which was to begin in later April 1997. As time got closer and closer to the start of the tour, the band began running out of time to finish recording the album, which was to be released that March. The band immediately regretted their decision to let McGuinness book the tour, and had to rush their recording sessions to release the album in time. "Last Night on Earth" was one of the last songs to be recorded for the album. As the band and their associates had been working up until the last minute to finish recording and mixing the album, Bono did not come up with the song's chorus until four o'clock in the morning during the last night in the studio. After being up all night long, Bono began singing the line "You've got to give it away," and decided to use it as part of the song's chorus. Once the chorus has been written, it needed to be recorded immediately, however Bono had completely lost his voice at the time, so echos were added to his voice, as well as backing vocals by The Edge.cite book
    title=U2 by U2
    location=New York City
    first=Neil (editor)
    pages=pp. 266-273

    Since the initial recording of the song was done at the last minute, the band went back into the recording studio during the tour to record the song for its single release. Out of "Pop"'s five single releases, this was the first of three songs to be re-recorded for its single. The single was released in July 1997, and its cover featured a pop art-like parody of "The Scream" featuring The Edge. Following the single's release, "Please" and "If God Will Send His Angels" were later also re-recorded and released as singles in October and December 1997, respectively.

    Live performances

    "Last Night on Earth" was one of 17 songs to be played at each of the 93 PopMart shows, where six of the 17 songs were from "Pop". [cite web | url= | title=U2 PopMart Tour | | accessdate=2007-08-10] With the exception of the first several shows of the tour, the song was played in the fifth spot of the setlist, between "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Until the End of the World." Live performances typically lasted longer than the length of the song on the album, as they featured several additions that were not present in the studio recording. Before the first verse, Bono would start the song by saying something similar to the following: quote|"I went looking...
    I went looking for spirit... Found alcohol
    I went looking for soul... And I bought some style
    I wanted to meet God... But you sold me religion" [cite web| url= | title=Last Night on Earth – Live 1997-12-03 Lyrics | | accessdate=2007-08-10 ]
    During the middle of the song, the band would slow down their tempo, and Bono improvise lyrics beginning with "It's not the last night on earth" and would typically make references to the city or country in which the band was performing. The end of the song featured a guitar jam, featuring both Bono and The Edge playing electric guitar. Despite the changes made to the song during its live performances, it was one of two songs that retained its original album arrangement, along with "Please." The other songs performed live from "Pop" were completely rearranged and restructured for their live performances by the time the band was half way through their tour.

    The only officially released live performance was taken from the band's show in Mexico City. The video "" features "Last Night on Earth," and the same performance was later released as an audio track on the "Elevation" single in 2001. [cite web | url= | title=Elevation Single | | accessdate=2007-08-10 ]

    Music video

    The video was filmed in Kansas City, Missouri, and directed by Richie Smyth. It features Sophie Dahl and the late William Burroughs in his final filmed performance.

    Track listings

    Version 1

    collapsed =
    headline =

    writing_credits = yes

    title1 = Last Night on Earth
    note1 = single version
    writer1 = U2 (music), Bono and The Edge (lyrics)
    length1 = 4:14

    title2 = Pop Muzik
    note2 = Pop Mart Mix
    writer2 = Robin Scott
    length2 = 8:50

    title3 = Happiness Is a Warm Gun
    note3 = The Gun Mix
    writer3 = Lennon/McCartney
    length3 = 4:46

    This was the most common CD release. The American and Canadian released also had "Numb" (The Soul Assassins Mix). The cassette release had only the first two tracks.

    Version 2

    collapsed =
    headline =

    writing_credits = yes

    title1 = Last Night on Earth
    note1 = First Night in Hell Mix
    writer1 = U2 (music), Bono and The Edge (lyrics)
    length1 = 5:50

    title2 = Numb
    note2 = The Soul Assassins Mix
    writer2 = U2 (music), The Edge (lyrics)
    length2 = 3:58

    title3 = Happiness Is a Warm Gun
    note3 = The Danny Saber Mix
    writer3 = Lennon/McCartney
    length3 = 4:51

    title4 = Pop Muzik
    note4 = Pop Mart Mix
    writer4 = Robin Scott
    length4 = 8:50

    This was the second CD release. The only version of "Last Night on Earth" present in this release was an instrumental remix.


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