U2101 – Two Hearts Beat As One

Although the most recent show, the final show of the tour’s first leg, featured the tour debut of Party Girl, I chose to cover another song tonight, one which received it’s Innocence + Experience Tour premiere a couple of nights earlier, “Two Hearts Beat As One”. One of the earliest songs in U2’s catalog to be officially remixed, “Two Hearts Beat As One” was released as War‘s second single in March of 1983.


Lyrically, the song is a fairly standard love song, as befits the song’s title, although there are some fine relatable lines (like “You say I’m a fool, you say I’m nothing. But if I’m a fool for you, oh, that’s something”) that set the song apart from the most mundane radio fare of its day. What really makes the song noteworthy, from my perspective, is its rhythm. Early rock ‘n’ roll was dance music, pure and simple. In the sixties, as rock music became more political, sadly, that desire to make the people move became lost along the wayside. When the seventies rolled along, bringing disco with them, the gap between rock and dance music became even wider. What really makes “Two Hearts Beat As One” special is that it brings back some of that early danceable sound that was once so essential to rock ‘n’ roll.


It’s interesting that that danceable rhythm, something that has since become commonplace in U2’s music (from “Mysterious Ways” through almost all of Pop and up to, to a lesser extent, “Volcano” from the newest album) was, at the time that “Two Hearts Beat As One” came out, really out of step with everything that had preceded it from the band. Boy and October were more concerned with the spiritual side of rock, and it wasn’t until, funnily enough, the band’s first overtly political album that the band began to experiment with adding an element of danceable pop music to their potent brew of rock.


Before last Monday night “Two Hearts Beat As One” had only been played once since 1985, and that was in 1989 during a Lovetown show in Dublin, Ireland. I don’t expect the song to become a fixture on the remainder of this tour, nor do I think that the song will ever return to a regular spot on any future tours that the band undertakes. It sure was nice, though, to be swept back to earlier days with the band’s unexpected performance of this dance-rock classic.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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