U2's 50 Greatest Songs

A definitive guide to 35 years of music that changed the world

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49. "Numb"

This unique U2 single began as a discarded track from Achtung Baby called "Down All the Days." "It's this quite unhinged electronic backing track with a very traditional melody and lyrics," said the Edge when "Down" reappeared on Achtung Baby's 20th-anniversary reissue. "It almost worked." What made it work as "Numb" was replacing Bono's melody with the Edge's deadpan rapping and lots of errant noises and samples. "What we're trying to do is re-create that feeling of sensory overload," said Bono. "So you hear a football crowd, a line of 'don't's, kitsch soul singing and Larry singing [background vocals] for the first time in that context."

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