U2 front man Bono recently disavowed the band's current greatest hits compilation, U218 Singles, as "a joke, really, because we've never been much of a singles band." However, the set has been a boon for local video archivists Reelin' in the Years Productions. The U2 album's current single, "Window in the Skies," uses vintage footage of music legends synched to the song. Reelin' in the Years provided 34 clips for the project and served as consultants with the video's producers.
Located in El Cajon, Reelin' in the Years is considered the largest music-video archive. They've provided clips for numerous DVD compilations, including sets by the Jam, Led Zeppelin, and Elvis Costello. The company's footage can be seen in the film Vanilla Sky and at the annual Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies; this is the first time they have worked on a current chart contender.
"Our mouths just dropped when we saw the final footage," says Reelin' in the Years president David Peck. "The last thing to affect me like this during a screening was Johnny Cash's incredible video for 'Hurt,' but this isn't sad like that was."
Though they didn't work directly with U2, the company provided more than 24 hours of potential footage for the video, including material from Zappa, Beck, and Black Sabbath.
"Initially, we were asked to contribute in the research phase of the production," Peck remarks. "But that soon turned into major involvement.... We had to obtain permission from every artist, or their estates, that was included. That's over 100 in less than a month. Some artists didn't want to do it, but most were thrilled to be a part of it...."
This is the fourth track released by U2 with a San Diego connection. In 1994, a live version of "Until the End of the World" (recorded during a 1992 stop at then--Jack Murphy Stadium) was released on the Alternative NRG compilation. The band also worked at Signature Sound Studios in 1997, taping vocals for the single "Last Night on Earth" and mixing a duet with Sinéad O'Connor, "I'm Not Your Baby."