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U2 Preview New Version of ‘Red Hill Mining Town’

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U2 have previewed their 2017 version of their track “Red Hill Mining Town,” which is to be released as a picture disc for this year’s Record Store Day, April 22. You can listen to it above.

The retake — which will also appear on the 30th anniversary edition of The Joshua Tree — was mixed by Steve Lillywhite and features all-new vocals by Bono, along with greater focus on brass instrumentation by the Arklow Shipping Silver Band. It was premiered by Irish radio station RTE. An audio comparison of the two versions can be heard below.

“Red Hill Mining Town” was devised as a literal illustration of the controversial and divisive British miners’ strike of 1984-85, placed within the terms of a marriage that’s breaking down under the stresses of the times. Bono admitted that some people would “beat me with a stick” for his take on a classic American protest song.

But he added: “What I’m interested in is seeing that another thousand people have lost their jobs. What you don’t read about is that those people go home, and they have families and they’re trying to bring up children.” In another interview he said: “A cold statistic about a pit closure and redundancies that follow is drastic enough – but it never tells the full human story. I wanted to follow the miner home and write about that situation.”

U2 reported in an announcement that “’Red Hill Mining Town,’ originally inspired by Bono’s reading of Red Hill: A Mining Community by Tony Parker, is known as the single that never was. It was going to be the second single from The Joshua Tree, but at the last minute was put to one side in favor of ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.’ The rest is history…”

Exclusive releases for the 10th annual Record Store Day include titles from David Bowie, the Cure, Iggy Pop, Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, the Smiths and many more.

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