Writer(s): Bono/U2 (see lyrics here)
Released: September 9, 2000
First Charted: September 16, 2000
Peak: 21 US, 40 GR, 19 RR, 4 A40, 116 AA, 14 AR, 5 MR, 11 UK, 1 CN, 11 AU, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.6 UK, 1.35 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.5 radio, 151.0 video, 301.5 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
U2 started the ‘90s as the biggest band in the world, but by the end of the decade “seemed well on their way to irrelevance,” MX especially coming off the less-than-stellar 1997 Pop album. “Beautiful Day” and parent album All That You Can’t Leave Behind “re-established U2 as the world’s biggest band” RS’09 as they re-invented their sound yet again, but doing so in a way that also recalled “the skyscraping sound of their Eighties classics.” RS’09
“It’s lofty, sure, but it’s so catchy, it’s so touchy feely, and it’s so sweeping” CS that it makes one forget how U2 frontman “Bono’s become somewhat of a punchline to every rock ‘n’ roll joke this decade.” CS The song recalled 1985’s “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.” by long-forgotten Norwegian pop band A-ha with a similar melody and the lines “Touch me…take me to that place” and “Teach me…I know I’m not a hopeless case.” TB
Bono said the inspiration came from his experience with Jubilee 2000, a benefit which urged politicians to drop the Third World Debt. Musically, the song evolved from the more punk-oriented “Always,” which eventually became the B-side for “Beautiful Day.” SF The message about a man who realizes the true value of what he has after losing his material possessions took on particular poignance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when U2 performed the song live at the 2002 Super Bowl in New Orleans. AB’00 The song was also used by NBC television for nightly recaps of the 2000 Olympics in Australia. SF
The song became one of the first major releases available for download. Fans could go to U2.com and stream it before its release. SF It was the band’s 14th number one in their native Ireland and either topped the charts or hit the top ten in more than a dozen other countries. WK
Last updated 3/31/2023.