" is the only single from the 1995 album Original Soundtracks 1
and Brian Eno
, under the pseudonym
Passengers. Luciano Pavarotti
makes a guest vocal appearance, singing the opera solo. It also appears on U2's compilation, The Best of 1990-2000
, and was covered by George Michael
on his album, Songs from the Last Century
. While the song did not reach the Billboard Hot 100
, it reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart
and was a top-ten hit in many other European countries.
Original Soundtracks 1
is an album of songs based mostly on non-existent films; however, "Miss Sarajevo" is one of four tracks from the album that are based on real films. The film Miss Sarajevo
is a documentary
by Bill Carter
about a beauty pageant
held in the midst of war-torn Yugoslavia
. The winner was a 17 year old blonde girl called Inela Nogić
. Carter traveled to Sarajevo
in the winter of 1993 to offer humanitarian
aid and quickly found himself in the heart of the conflict. He lived for six months in a burnt out office building, subsisting on baby food and whatever water he could find in the rivers and sewers and delivering food and medicine to those in need.
Carter originally contacted U2 while they were on their Zoo TV Tour to show audiences the real people involved, feeling that the western media was ignoring the human aspect of the war. The band arranged for several satellite link-ups where Carter gave the locals — who had been cut off from communication with the rest of Europe for about a year and a half at this point — an opportunity to be heard before stadiums of thousands. The link-ups were brief and unedited.
Carter had his camera sent to him from his home in California so he could film the documentary (which was produced by Bono) with the same goal of exposing people to the individuals living through the war. "The war is just a backdrop, it could be any war, the point is the vitality of the human spirit to survive, [to] laugh, to love, and to move on, that is something we will be addressing always."
The song protests the war in Bosnia, criticizing the international community for its inability to stop the war or help those affected by it. It was the only single released from the album. Its video combines clips from Bill Carter's documentary with footage from the Passengers' first performance of the song at the 1995 "Pavarotti and Friends" concert in Modena. Clips from the documentary contain striking imagery, such as a shot of beauty pageant contestants holding up a banner with the words "DON'T LET THEM KILL US," as seen on the single's artwork.
Sarajevo PopMart Tour performance
In addition to the "Pavarotti and Friends
" performance, the song was played once on U2's 1997 PopMart Tour
in Sarajevo with Brian Eno. U2 was the first band able to host a concert in the city since the end of the war, and the band was very pleased to be present there at the time. As per the Sarajevans' request, the show was not a benefit concert
, and the band performed just as they did in any other city on the tour. The actual winner of the Miss Sarajevo pageant, Inela Nogic, was present at that show, and was escorted to the concert with the band themselves. Bono
lost his voice during the concert, and unfortunately messed up during the performance of "Miss Sarajevo," and said afterwards, "Sarajevo, this song was written for you. I hope you like it, because we can't fucking play it. In reference to the performance, Larry Mullen Jr.
said, "That [was] an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. And if I had to spend 20 years in the band just to play that show, and have done that, I think it would have been worthwhile.
Vertigo Tour performances
After its only live performance by U2 from 1997, the song has since been played live many times on the band's Vertigo Tour
. On the tour's second leg in Amsterdam
, "Miss Sarajevo" was played for the first time during the tour, replacing the usual nightly performance of "Running to Stand Still
," and was played each night for the remaining 86 shows in the tour. During the performances, Bono sang opera solo part and The Edge played the song on the piano instead of the guitar. At the end of the performance each night, a video was shown with a woman reciting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
. Versions of performances from the Vertigo Tour concerts in Milan
can be found on the album U2.COMmunication
, in the video Vertigo: Live from Milan
, and the concert film U23D
|| Peak Position |
|| #1 |
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|| #5 |
|| #5 |
| United Kingdom
|| #5 |
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| New Zealand
|| #23 |
|| #35 |
The "Miss Sarajevo" single was backed with the following B-Sides
- "One" – This is a performance from the "Pavarotti and Friends" concert held in Modena, Italy, featuring Bono, The Edge, Brian Eno and Pavarotti, himself, all performing the song with a full orchestra..
- "Bottoms (Watashitachi no Ookina Yume)" (Zoo Station Remix) – This track is simply an instrumental version of "Zoo Station" from the Achtung Baby album, hence the "Zoo Station Remix" denomination. The Japanese subtitle, "Watashitachi no Ookina Yume," translates to "our big dream." The track was also featured as a bonus track on the Japanese release of Original Soundtracks 1.
- "Viva Davidoff" – This is an Eno-like atmospheric instrumental track, much like the Original Soundtracks 1 song "Theme from The Swan." The song title is an exultation to the Davidoff tobacco company.
There are six different versions of this song available:
- Studio versions
- Album version – featured on the Original Soundtracks 1 album
- Single edit – about 20 seconds shorter; featured on the single and on a compilation album dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales
- Radio edit – slightly more than a minute shorter than the album version; featured on the compilation The Best of 1990-2000
- Live versions
- Pavarotti and Friends – live from the "Pavarotti and Friends" concert; featured on the album Pavarotti and Friends: Together for the Children of Bosnia
- Vertigo Tour – live from Milan July 20th 2005 with Bono singing Pavarotti's solo; featured on the "All Because of You" single and on the album U2.COMmunication
- Vertigo Tour – live from Milan July 21st 2005, comparable to the version from the day before; featured in the video Vertigo: Live from Milan
The music video
for this song, directed by Maurice Linnane
, is a montage of three different events: the beauty contest described in the song, the original performance from the "Pavarotti and Friends" concert, and a tour through the streets of war-torn Sarajevo, under gunfire from the nearby troops. The video is featured on The Best of 1990-2000
DVD with a director's commentary, and a documentary entitled Missing Sarajevo
Another version of this video exists, featuring only the footage from the Modena concert.