She's A Mystery To Me

Not sure if I can cover this one, not a U2 song although it was written by Bono and Edge for Roy Orbison, who sang it and made it famous around the time of his death. Most of the songs I’ve reviewed have been either strictly U2 songs, or songs that U2 have covered somewhat regularly. Since this one some of them wrote, and they have performed it live a surprising number of times (36 in full or part), I’m going to count it.

There are a variety of explanations for why Bono wrote it for Roy Orbison, and I don’t know which one is the true reason. Perhaps he was listening to Orbison, fell asleep and when he woke up had this song in his head. Perhaps he was writing something when Orbison walked in and he gave it to him. Perhaps, well, who knows. Perhaps he’s just really inspired at times and comes up with all sorts of stuff when he wants to.

I don’t know much of anything about Roy Orbison. Watching the videos of his stuff, I was struck by how much I thought he looked like Lou Reed, although that may just be me. I did wonder if he had a speech impediment, he seemed a couple of times to be slurring the words in the song, especially the “mystery girl” part at the end of the song. Again, may just be me. I do remember he sang “Crying” with Kate Bush, and a quick google tells me his other famous songs were “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “Only The Lonely” which I also remember now that I’m reminded of them. And he worked in the Traveling Wilburys, which is one of those great bands that I don’t think ever got as much credit as maybe they should.

The song is obviously dominated by the guitar, it is that and his voice that make the song together. I don’t know if it could exist without either one of them. Interestingly Bono plays it in the live performance under the Brooklyn Bridge, and sings, and I guess that means they won’t be playing it any more, since he can’t play with his injured hand. Another note from the Brooklyn Bridge is that I was struck by Adam’s bass playing, it seemed both out of whack with the song, but also amazingly in place. I mean, the song itself is quiet and slow, and to hear that boom of the bass surprised me (I don’t know why either), and then to realize it was actually fitting in just right. A different take on the song.

Supposedly they recorded it at Sun Studios during the Rattle And Hum time there, but they’ve never released it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it released in some future fan club thing, or maybe on the Rattle And Hum 25th Anniversary disc, or 30th or whenever they do it. 

And I haven’t even talked about the lyrics, you know, the actual part that Bono and Edge did. They are interesting, haunting if you like, you do actually see Bono shining through. Maybe I should go back through them and do something about them. Nah, it’s late.

Not sure I should give the song a rating since it’s not a U2 song. Would maybe be something like a 5 if I did.