1001 Songs Challenge #830: Miss Sarajevo (1995)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Passengers – Miss Sarajevo (1995)
Miss Sarajevo – Wikipedia
” Miss Sarajevo” is a song by U2 and Brian Eno, credited to the pseudonym “Passengers”. It was released on 20 November 1995 as the only single from their album Original Soundtracks 1 . Luciano Pavarotti makes a guest vocal appearance, singing the opera solo.
We’re leaving the US today and making our way to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. We’re checking back in with U2 although what we have in mind is technically a side project, a collaboration between the band and producer – Brian Eno – to form Passengers. Working on an album by the name of Original Soundtracks I the collaboration aimed to write songs based on imaginary films but a handful were concerned with real films as well. 1001 Songs have gone with a track by the name of Miss Sarajevo.
The song is based on a documentary of the same name from journalist, Bill Carter, which looked at underground movements in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bono helped to fund the project which looked at a beauty contest held in the city while it was being besieged. Bono then wrote a song of the same name based around this. The lyrics themselves are said to come from the Sarajevans and speculate about such niceties and wonders as Christmas trees, high street shopping and even basic self-grooming while surrounded by so much devastation. Amidst this turmoil the beauty queen appears and wows the crowd, the juxtaposition of violence and peace beneath the same city’s fiery skyline.
I remember Miss Sarajevo playing a lot on MTV back during my secondary school days. It is a haunting song to this day with gentle vocals from Bono. It really comes to life though with the guest vocals of the majestic Luciano Pavarotti whose voice simply soars in as the track progresses. I had never delved deep into the meaning of the track but its gestation was fascinating to unearth.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car (1988)