Miss Sarajevo

Album: Miss Sarajevo (1995)
Charted: 6

Songfacts®:

  • The Passengers were a collaboration between U2 and Brian Eno. U2 considered it a side project, so they used a different name.
  • Italian Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti sang on this with Bono. Pavarotti enters this song at two minutes and 53 seconds singing an Italian language libretto written by Bono. The Irishman claimed that he was impersonating his opera buff father singing in the bath impersonating Pavarotti.
  • The song is about how the people of Sarajevo deal with war. Proceeds from the single went to the War Child charity.
  • On U2's Zoo TV tour, Bono would often phone people from the stage and have a chat while the audience listened in. On one stop, he called Pavarotti. After that, the opera singer bugged Bono to include him in a song. Bono recalled in Q Magazine August 2008: "A great emotional arm-twister, a hard man to turn down. He'd call our housekeeper Theresa in Dublin once a week and say, 'Is the song finished yet?' She would say I was away and he would say, 'Tell God to give me a phone call,' and put down the phone with a big laugh."
  • U2 performed this for the first time on September 5, 1995 in Modena, Italy, at the Pavarotti and Friends concert. It was broadcast live on Italian TV.
  • This song was inspired by film-maker Bill Carter's 1994 documentary Miss Sarajevo, about a beauty pageant staged in the Bosnian capital at a time when it was under siege from Serbian forces.
  • Brian Eno played an unusual keyed instrument called an Omnichord on this track.
  • This was one of the "list songs" that Bono had taken to writing during the period, built around a single place such as "The Fly" ("It's no secret…"). In this instance the lyric was centered around the line "Is there a time…"
  • U2 released a new live version from their 2005 tour on the single of "All Because Of You."

Comments: 9

  • Daniel from Sydney, AustraliaI assume you're joking, Frank of Brampton with your comments about Pavarotti. His contribution to this song is incredible. it would not be the same song without him. The hairs on my neck stand on end when his powerful voice erupts into the song.
  • Frank from Brampton, Ontario, CanadaThis is such a mesmerizing tune. I just love it! But I will say that opera had no place at all in a song like this and that Pavarotti literally ruined it! I blame him for trying to ruin the song and I blame U2 for allowing him to sing in it!

    But.... ANYWAYS.....this one's about ppl trying to hold a fashion show right in the middle of a war, and even during the show, the organizers still contemplate whether they can finish the show without getting hurt or killed.

    For example.. "Is there a time to run for cover,
    A time for kiss and tell,
    Is there a time for different
    colours,
    Different names you find it hard
    to spell"
  • Przemek from Warsaw, PolandEast 17 (for those too young to remember) was a popular boyband of the early 1990s
  • Dawson from Draper, UtI saw this song performed in Salt Lake and Milan, and I think Bono sounds terrific! At the Salt Lake concert, before the song began, Bono said that he had been taking Italian lessons, and understood the words very well. He also said that the song was about a place where it was always happy (Sarajevo) and then war began. As they were being bombed, they began sending out women in bikinis for a contest called Miss Sarajevo, similar to our Miss America. They used the pretty women to comicly say "How can you hurt us with such pretty ladies?" It was a great song and a great show.
  • Brad from Magalia, CaI was in my English class after coming back from an extended Germany trip and My teacher plops this movie into the dvd player. The movie has the same name. She said that her friend from college went to Europe for some reason and ended up in Bosnia while this civil war was happening. He lived with the people for a long time and learned that Bono was performing in Italy or France. He left the city of Sarajevo to go talk with Bono and finally he convinced him to enlighten the world about what was happening in Bosnia. Bono wrote this song apparently as a wake-up call to the Bosnian civil war.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtI saw U2 in concert December 7th (2005), and they played this...I cannot believe Bono attempted to do Pavarotti's part! And he did it amazingly well!
  • Racine from Truro, MaI saw them play "Miss Sarajevo" last night in Boston! Shame that Pavarotti wasn't there (I kind of knew he wouldn't be) but Bono's voice was amazing! That song brought me to tears.
  • Jim from Lakeland, FlTo whom it may concern: Last night I saw U2 in Tampa, Fla. for the third time in my life. I heard people talking about how they performed "Miss Sarajevo" in Miami the night before. It was much to my pleasure that they performed in Tampa. And when they performed it I was in tears as well as the dude sitting next to me. What an awesome story and song. Thank you, Jim Hasenzahl
  • Ishhod from Colorado Springs, CoDuring the Bosnian conflict the people of Sarajevo put on an underground fashion show(thus the name "Miss Sarajevo". This show was happening while buildings in the surrounding area were being bombed. Later during the Popmart tour, U2 came to Sarajevo to play a benifit concert they had promised to play during the Zoo TV era.
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