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"Beautiful Day" is the first song and lead single from U2's 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind. It was a commercial success, helping launch the album to multi-platinum status, and is one of U2's biggest hits to date. It was their fourth #1 single in the UKmarker and their first #1 in the Netherlands, while the single also was #1 for a week in Australia. The song peaked at #21 in the U.S., the band's highest position since "Discothèque" in 1997. The song won three Grammy Awards in 2001.


According to Bono, "Beautiful Day" is about "a man who has lost everything, but finds joy in what he still has." In recent interviews, Bono also mentioned that "Beautiful Day" could be seen as a modern Christmas song.

The song is an optimistic anthem that opens with a drum machine and a rhythm sequencer. The verses are relatively quiet before The Edge's guitar and the song's signature riff join in for the choruses. The Edge recorded this song on his Gibson Les Paul Standard and plays the song live with his Gibson Explorer, which helps add the distinctive shimmering, chiming sound that made the band unique when they first debuted in the early 1980s.

Bono wrote the song from his villa on Eze Beach in France.

In an episode of the Sundance Channel's Iconoclast, R.E.M. vocalist Michael Stipe said "I love that song. I wish I'd written it, and they know I wish I'd written it. It makes me dance, It makes me angry that I didn't write it." Beautiful Day also opens ITV's football show "The Championship", and previously ITV's "Premiership".


"Beautiful Day" is the most well-known track on the All That You Can't Leave Behind album, and has been regarded as one of U2's most famous songs. The song hit No.1 on charts in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland and also boosted sales of All That You Can't Leave Behind. "Beautiful Day" is included on The Best of 1990-2000 and U218 Singles.

The song won three Grammys in 2001: "Record of the Year", "Song of the Year", and "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal".

In 2008 the song was chosen to play over the end titles of the children's film Nim's Island, starring Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler.

The song was played at the conclusion of the 2008 Commencement Exercises of Columbia University.

Live history

Ever since its tour debut at the first date of the Elevation Tour on 24 March 2001 in Miamimarker, "Beautiful Day" has been played at every single full tour concert, as well as a number of promotional appearances and concerts not connected with a tour. On the Elevation Tour, "Beautiful Day" was normally the second song played, though it did open one show and was played late in the setlist at two concerts. During the Vertigo Tour, it has appeared in the first half of the main set. It is featured on the live films Elevation 2001: Live from Boston, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, and Vertigo 2005: Live From Chicago. The song was also performed on stage to open the Live 8 concerts, with slightly different lyrics that mentioned the different sites that Live 8 concerts took place in, along with "Vertigo" and "One", at Hyde Parkmarker in Londonmarker. It was performed live in New Orleansmarker for Super Bowl XXXVI and for the New Orleans Saints first game in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. During the band's five night stand on The Late Show with David Letterman (2 - 6 March 2009) to promote their most recent album No Line on the Horizon, "Beautiful Day" was the only song not from that album to be performed all week.

Music video

The song's video showed the band walking around in Parismarker' Charles de Gaulle International Airportmarker, with scenes of the band playing on a runway interspliced with large jets taking off and landing overhead. The only airline to be actually identified is that of MEA through the taking off and landing of the two MEA jets A310 and A300. The video is directed by Jonas √Ökerlund.

An alternative video for the song, shot in √ązemarker, Francemarker, was featured on the The Best of 1990-2000 bonus disc and the U218 Videos DVD. A month before the album release, a live version of the song was filmed in Dublin on the rooftop of The Clarence hotel. It is featured on the extra features of the Elevation 2001: Live from Boston DVD.

Track listings


Chart (2000) Peak
Australia Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 7
Austria Singles Chart 7
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Belgium Singles Chart 6
Dutch Top 40 1
Finland Singles Chart 1
French Singles Chart 17
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 1
Latvian Airplay Top 1
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
Swedish Singles Chart 27
Swiss Singles Chart 6
UK Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 21
U.S. Modern Rock Tracks 5
U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks 14
U.S. Top 40 Mainstream 19
U.S. Top 40 Tracks 15
U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play 1

See also


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