U2101 – Homeward Bound

It is no secret that Bono has a charity-minded disposition. Over the years, he and the band that he fronts have dedicated their talents to no shortage of philanthropic causes, from several iterations of Band-Aid’s “Do They Know it’s Christmas,” right up to Street Lights’ cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound,” a new release this week that Bono lends his considerable gifts to. Several other Irish artists also appear on the single, including Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol and Roisin O, with backing vocals by the High Hopes Choir, the members of which are former homeless people. This single is taken from a forthcoming album, also titled Street Lights, of songs by Irish artists. Several of these tunes, just based on the track-listing that I have read, look to revolve around the subject of home or shelter, which is appropriate, since proceeds from the album (and the single that Bono appears on) go to benefit homeless people in Ireland. The tune should be familiar to any fans of popular music, and Bono , of course, sounds great, coming in near the end to bring the production home (pun totally intended).

Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar as I should be with most of the artists on this project, so I’m not able to pick out who sings what in the Simon and Garfunkel cover. I believe that the first couple of lines sung are by the lead singer from Snow Patrol, and I’m positive that Bono has a sizable contribution with the entire final verse and chorus (accompanied by some others). The whole thing is very pretty and comforting, with many voices that I find becoming and beautiful, even though they are not familiar to me. If you are reading this but you don’t know the song, I will tell you that it was written from the perspective of an artist who has been out on the road for a long time and is missing home. The chorus, “I wish I was homeward bound. Home, where my thought’s escaping, home, where my music’s playing, home, where my love lies waiting, silently for me.” surely portrays a sentiment that Bono and these other world-traveling artists can relate to. I have been homeless before, and I can confirm that it is definitely something you think about when you are out there with no place to go.

An article from the Irish Times (see here) that I read indicated that the new cover, released just this past Friday, is enjoying great success on the charts in Ireland. At the time of that article’s writing, the single was already at number 2 on iTunes in that country. Hopefully we all can purchase this collection of songs, or at least the single, to help out such a worthy cause. ‘Tis the season for giving, after all, and these people need our help.

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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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