If you don’t believe in evolution then you ought to listen to Lady With The Spinning Head. It’s not just the head that’s spinning, it’s a whole bunch of hits spun out from this one song. This was one of the early songs recorded during the Achtung Baby sessions, and later different parts of it were taken and evolved into The Fly, Ultraviolet, Zoo Station and even some No Line On The Horizon. This is a great song that was eventually dropped as a B side to the One single, probably because it ended up sounding too similar to all those other songs on Achtung Baby.
So, where are all these parts? Listen at about 3:05 and you’ll hear Edge’s guitar jamming out the signature sound of The Fly. Listen to the whole of the song and you can hear Ultraviolet, I think they took much of the music for that. At the start, 0.08, I think I can hear the opening to No Line On The Horizon. Maybe? Maybe not. Sure sounds like it to me for just a few seconds. They certainly could have gone back and played around with some old bits for the new album. They do that still, just look at Songs Of Innocence, a lot of sounds that could have come off the early U2 stuff. And some people say Zoo Station is in there too but I don’t know where that is. Too buried or too obvious for me. I’ll keep listening, maybe I’ll hear it some day.
I’ve never heard the Salome tapes, which were stolen demos of some of the early stuff off Achtung Baby. I’ve read about them though, and they sound like my kind of thing. Many hours of U2 sitting in a studio playing bits and pieces while they work on songs? Yep, I’d love that. I will have to figure out where I can get it from. I’ve never been much into the various bootlegs that are out there, but maybe I should be. Who knows what little gems might poke up? Of course in theory if it was a big gem it got onto an album, a little gem might have gotten onto a B side, and the rest is possibly worthless. Although it is probably very much like looking at the notes for an author on how they wrote their book, the pieces that were scratched out, ideas added in etc. Very much what I like to look at, figuring out the whole process and where ideas come from.
Now if you came here trying to figure who the heck is the Lady With The Spinning Head, I haven’t really given you an answer, have I? It’s actually quite easy once you read the lyrics (and remember this is early stuff in the process, for a song that wasn’t released on the album). “Here she comes, Lady Luck again”, “She’s got the rent, she put me in the black”, “I’m on top, when she’s around, she’s my ticket, out of town” are all references to gambling, so the spinning head is the flip of a coin, the roulette wheel, and most obviously Lady Luck. Maybe Bono had been to a casino the night before he was writing these lyrics.
My rating for Lady With The Spinning Head: 4 / 10