Sweetest Thing
by U2

Album: Where The Streets Have No Name (1987)
Charted: 3 63
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • Bono wrote this as a birthday present to his wife, Ali. On her birthday, he was working on recording The Joshua Tree, so he was trying to make up for it.
  • U2 recorded this for The Joshua Tree, but left it off because they felt it did not fit in on the album. It was originally released as the B-side to a 7" single that also included "Where The Streets Have No Name" and "Silver And Gold."
  • This was rerecorded and released on U2 The Best Of 1980-1990 in 1998.
  • In 1998, this was released as a single with proceeds going to Children Of Chernobyl, the favorite charity of Bono's wife, Ali.
  • The video shows Bono orchestrating an elaborate apology to Ali, who appears at the beginning of the clip getting into a horse-drawn carriage. The camera then cuts to Bono, who is facing her, and stays on him as they go for a ride down a street in Dublin. Along the way, Bono makes various outlandish offerings to win her favor, starting with the Irish group Boyzone, who climb on board. Next comes a marching band, a fire engine (with firemen), a string section, Irish step dancers from Riverdance, and an elephant. It's not clear if the apology works, but he sure made an effort.

    It looks like the Bono section is all one shot, but there are actually several edits made where the light flares come in. Kevin Godley, who directed it, did something similar on U2's video for "Numb," where the camera stays on The Edge for almost the entire time.
  • U2 didn't play this live until March 17, 2000, when they played it a ceremony in Dublin where they were being honored. The following year, it made the setlist for their Elevation tour, then was mothballed until 2015 for their Innocence + Experience tour.
  • Boyzone star Ronan Keating revealed to co-host Harriet Scott on the Magic Radio Breakfast Show that Bono initially offered the song to him, but he insisted that U2 take it instead. Keating said: "It was U2's, they had to sing it, I knew they had to sing it."
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Comments: 25

  • Ernesto Ponce from Monterrey, MexicoActually they performed this song in Manchester (2001)
  • Tony from Boston, MaI'm just curious as to where people get their information from? There are at least three theories on the "blue eyed boy meets a brown eyed girl" line. I mean, unless Bono has stated all of these theories at one time, where is this info coming from?
  • Chaosz from Amsterdam, NetherlandsBono forgot Ali's Birthday and wrote this song as an apology. She demanded to have Boyzone in the video (probably because he didn't like them too much back then)

    Blue eyed boy meets brown eyed girl; yeah that's obvious!
  • Bob_sada from Monterrey, MexicoThe song was written as an apology because Bono forgot Ali's birthday
  • Bob_sada from Monterrey, MexicoThe verse "Blue-eyed boy and this brown-eyed girl" actually refers to Bono and Ali's musical preferences: Sinatra (one of Bono's favorites singers) was known as Blue Eyes, and Van Morrison (one of Ali's favorte) wrote Brown-eyed Girl
  • Hannah from Bedford , United KingdomNow I'd heard the song was written as an apology for being away on Bono and Ali's wedding anniversary which is why he says sorry at the beginning of the video and there are the banners all the way through.

    Also the video is taken in one shot, and you can see the top of Stephen Gateley's head near the beginning as the band are perched on a platform behind Bono.
  • Brian from Vancouver, Canadathis is what Id call a good song. real lyrics, great video. real song.
  • Joel from Corinth, TxActually, on the "All that you can't leave behind" tour, they played this song live in Dallas.
  • John from Grimsby, EnglandAs I recall (thanks to Pop-Up Video) the video for this was done in just two takes, the join being near the beginning where the sun blanks out the screen for a brief second; not bad when you consider the amount of guests and their roles in the film. Cracking song anyway.
  • Bean from Wayne, NjTo correct someone's above comment, they did perform this live. I know because I was there. It was done when they opened the Elevation Tour in Miami Fl in March of 2001. Me and my husband attended the show and Bono actually played the keyboard as well as sing the song. An absolute wonderful memory that will never leave my heart. I have seem them several times since and they never perform it.
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, Australia"blue eyed boy meets a brown eyed girl" actually, I believe this line is a little more simple. Bono has amazing blue eyes, Ali's are a deep brown...
  • Roger from Los Angeles, CaProbably the most annoying U2 song. Very glad it didnt make it onto the Joshua Tree. It would have ruined that album.
  • Dawson from Draper, UtMr.Deeds Erin. You know, with an S. But i love this song. I listen to it a lot, and U2 is coming to my home town, Salt Lake City in the Delta Center, you know,where the Utah Jazz play basketball. but anyway, they are all sold out, and every concert they have from now 10/4/05 to 12/17/05 are also. so, all you U2 fans, good luck getting your greedy hands on U2 tickets. :)
  • Travis from The Colony, TxU2 played this song live in Dallas in 2001
  • Peter from Hamilton, Canadai fell in love with "the joshua tree" when it first came out. it is the only recording i ever like enough to buy singles. when i heard "the sweetest thing", i couldn't believe they didn't include it. i was happy when the song got some airplay in the late 90's and was included on the Best of. interesting to learn it was re-recorded and with a change from the original.
  • Erin from Louisville, KyThis song is also featured in the film "Mr. Deed" starring Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder.
  • Rob from Santa Monica, CaThe remake for the Best Of disc included a lame new bridge section that diminished the song. The original B-side is better.
  • Kaleigh from Vancouver, WaTheir spiritual and romantic sound is so refreshing...hail U2!
  • Kaleigh from Vancouver, WaNobody understands good music anymore. They are obsessed with Britney Spears(cringe, evil). So number 63 on the Us charts is stupid...it is a great song and a great video. Hail U2!
  • Jack Lee from Nottingham, EnglandThe line "blue eyed boy meets a brown eyed girl" refers to a Protestant falling for a Catholic.
  • Melania from Moscow, Europewow, i LOVE the video to this song....it's so sweet and adorable to see a rock star act so sweet and cute to win his wife's forgiveness!!!
    AWESOME video, love it!!!
  • Brittany from Superior, Co
    Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale did a cover of this song in NYC 2003. It's pretty good, but nothing tops the original
  • Kei from Salem, OrThe video for this song is one of the most entertaining - and touching - videos I've ever seen. The entire video is Bono attempting to win his wife's forgiveness during a horse carriage ride, with everything from flowers, to serenades, to parades, to periodic huge banners reading "I'm sorry". Bono had a real Elvis Costello-esque look going in the video, too....
    I have to agree with Erik; I'm very surprised it didn't do better in the States. I'm also surprised that the song is as old as it is; I remember '98, '99, and the song was on the radio all the time. Made working at McDonald's a bit easier.
  • Amy from Baton Rouge, LaU2 performed The Sweetest Thing live on their Elevation tour his wife Ali was in the crowd for the Atlanta concert and he dedicated this song to her
  • Erik from Davis, CaNot a bad song. I'm surprised it didn't do better here in the states.
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