U2’s The Edge Explains The Band’s Miraculous Plan When They Struggle To Finish A Song

U2 lead guitarist The Edge reflected on the band’s monumental album, ‘Achtung Baby’ on its 30th anniversary during a recent interview with Rolling Stone. According to the musician, the band divides their original song into numerous sections to create new tracks whenever they struggle to finish a song. 

Many U2 fans consider their seventh studio album ‘Achtung Baby’ which was released on November 18, 1991, as the band’s best album. The dark, introspective, and flippant record is one of U2’s most successful records as it received favorable reviews both from fans and music criticism.

The album also debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 Top Albums as well as topping the charts in many other countries. It has sold 18 million copies worldwide and has since been acclaimed by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. 

‘Achtung Baby’ was reissued in October 2011 for its 20th anniversary, and again in November 2021 for its 30th anniversary. The Edge recently looked back on the time when the band made the record during a recent interview. The rocker broke down nine of the lesser-known songs that didn’t end up on the album’s original release including, ‘Lady With the Spinning Head.’

Apparently, the song was a struggle to finish for U2 which made them use their common method called ‘cell division.‘ It’s a way to use a song whenever they are too stuck with it to finish it completely. What they do by applying this method is to divide the song into sections in order to use them in different songs.

In the case of ‘Lady With the Spinning Head,’ they couldn’t finish it, therefore, they turned it into three other songs, ‘Zoo Station,’ ‘The Fly,’ and ‘Ultraviolet (Light My Way).’ The song was later released with the 20th-anniversary reissue and fans liked it as it has over 100k views on the band’s official YouTube channel.

In the interview, The Edge said:

“’Lady With the Spinning Head’ was somewhat of an homage to that scene, but we couldn’t really get that song in the boat. It took forever, and in the end kind of never quite arrived. But what happened was this thing that often occurs with U2 when we’re struggling to finish a song.

We ended up doing what we describe as ‘cell division,‘ where you end up with songs B, C, and D. And in the case with ‘Lady With the Spinning Head,’ it brought us ‘Zoo Station,’ ‘The Fly,’ and ‘Ultraviolet (Light My Way).’ So although it ended up kind of firmly on the list of B sides, it was an incredibly valuable inspiration and source for other songs.”

You can listen to ‘Lady With the Spinning Head’ below.