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Inside the Recording of Bono and Jay-Z's Haiti Single "Stranded"

January 21, 2010 12:00 AM ET

Bono wrote the hook for "Stranded" — his new Haiti benefit single with Jay-Z and Rihanna, which is subtitled either "Haiti Mon Amour" or "Haiti Mi Amore" — while on the phone with producer Swizz Beatz. "The idea of the song is 'We're not gonna leave you stranded' and that's what the chorus is," Swizz Beatz tells Rolling Stone. "So me and Bono started going back and forth with ideas, and he was like, 'You know this word stranded keeps standing out to me' and I asked him to sing it, and he put me on hold 'cause he's recording the ideas on a Dictaphone — so he did it there and then on the phone."

Swizz Beatz got the song started by sending simultaneous texts to Jay-Z and Bono — but when they both called, he accidentally hung up on Jay while trying to conference them. After three hours of phone tag, they all agreed to the project, which came together in geographically scattered sessions, with extra production work by the Edge. "I knew that Jay would be able to tell a story, and that Bono would be able to sing and bring it home. The last component that I added was Rihanna, and she's kinda like the angel that's on the track, softening it up and giving it that caring feeling, because this hook is so powerful."

The song will debut with a live performance on Friday night's multi-network telethon for Haiti, and will soon be released as a single on iTunes, according to Swizz Beatz.

Stick with RS for full coverage of tomorrow night's Hope for Haiti concert, including a live blog here on RollingStone.com.

Related Stories:
Jay-Z and U2, Plus Springsteen and 100-Plus Stars Join MTV’s Haiti Benefit
Dave Matthews Band, Lady Gaga and More Stars Rock to Aid Haiti

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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