Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses (5:17)

Cover of Achtung Baby

From Achtung Baby and 70 other releases

“Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” is the fifth track on U2’s 1991 album, Achtung Baby. It was released as the album’s fifth and final single in 1992.
“Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” began as a rough demo that the band recorded at STS Studios in 1990.[1] The band attempted to improve it during the formal Achtung Baby sessions, including several failed attempts at Hansa Studios in Berlin. [2] This produced several incarnations of the song and about a dozen mixes, each of which had its pros and cons weighed.[3] Still, they continually found themselves revisiting the original demo.[1] Producer Jimmy Iovine, in particular, expressed his preference for the demo version when lead vocalist Bono played it for him.[1] During the group’s time recording in Dublin in 1991, producer Steve Lillywhite was brought on to provide a “fresh pair of ears” and mix the song.[3] The album version most closely resembles the original demo.

Still, the band was dissatisfied with the album version. Lillywhite recalls that, “They hated that song. I spent a month on it and I still don’t think it was as realised as it could’ve been. The Americans had heard it and said, ‘That’s your radio song there’, because they were having trouble with some of the more industrial elements . It’s almost like a covers band doing a U2 moment. Maybe we tried too hard.”[2] Bono said, “It’s a song I feel we didn’t quite nail on the record because there was another whole set of lyrics that were dumped and I wrote those quickly and off we went.

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