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The Hands That Built America

"The Hands That Built America"
File:Gangs of ny soundtrack.jpg
"The Hands That Built America" cover
Song by U2 from the album Gangs of New York: Music from the Miramax Motion Picture
Released December 17, 2002
Genre Rock
Length 4:35 (Soundtrack Mix)
4:58 (Acoustic Version)
Label Interscope
Writer U2
Producer William Orbit

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"The Hands That Built America" is a song by U2, released on the soundtrack to the film Gangs of New York.[1] It was one of two new songs on their The Best of 1990–2000 compilation, with the other being "Electrical Storm".[2] It was nominated for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards,[3] but lost to Eminem's inspirational song "Lose Yourself."

Composition

"The Hands That Built America" is a song about the experience of nineteenth century Irish migrants to New York and their contribution to building America. The song was considered for single release and was announced as such for a 2003 release. The songs "The Playboy Mansion" (2003 Version - originally from Pop) and "That's Life" (a cover song by Bono and released on the soundtrack for The Good Thief) were announced as B-sides. The release was canceled, however.

Soundtrack and inspiration

The soundtrack mix of the song features Andrea Corr, who played the tin whistle, and Sharon Corr who played the violin.[4] The title of the song was inspired by Horslips title track to their album "The Man Who Built America" with the full blessing of Horslips singer and bass player Barry Devlin,[citation needed] who had also produced a number of U2 videos. In Gangs of New York the song is played with a long and grand intro and plays over the final sequence and the closing credits.

Live history

File:Hands.png
The music video features numerous transitions between band performance images and scenes from "Gangs of New York"

U2 have performed this song live in its entirety seven times, the first being at the premiere of Gangs of New York on December 9, 2002, and the last occurrence done solely by Bono and The Edge as an acoustic performance at the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas on November 18, 2004.[5]

Although "The Hands That Built America" has not been played live since 2004, it was included at every concert on the Vertigo Tour (2005–2006) as a snippet during performances of "Bullet the Blue Sky". This took place in conjunction with snippets of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and sometimes "Please".[5]

Music videos

File:The hands that built america studio video.jpg
The second version of the video shows black-and-white footage of the band playing an acoustic version of the song.

Two different music videos were created for "The Hands That Built America". The first uses a combination of black-and-white footage of the band playing the song, and scenes from Gangs of New York. This video uses the version of the song found on The Best of 1990–2000 CD. The second video is composed solely of black-and-white footage of U2 playing the song, and it was filmed on May 9 2002. This video uses an acoustic version of the song, and is the version found on The Best of 1990–2000 DVD.

Personnel

See also

References

External links