Tuesday, December 31, 2013

U2 Pick Up Sonny Bono Visionary Award for 'Mandela' Track

KORY GROW/RollingStone

Samir Hussein/Getty Images
U2 will engage in some Bono-on-Bono action this weekend when all four members accept the Sonny Bono Visionary Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Saturday. Previous recipients include filmmakers Quentin Tarantino, Baz Luhrman, M. Night Shyamalan, Gus Van Sant and Danny Boyle, among others. The group's foray into cinema this year was the song "Ordinary Love," which they wrote for the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

"We normally present the Sonny Bono Visionary Award to a director, but for our 25th anniversary we wanted to take the occasion to celebrate U2, a visionary group and the world's premier rock band, for their unparalleled humanitarian work against extreme poverty, disease, and social injustice," festival chairman Harold Matzner said in a statement. "Their latest song 'Ordinary Love' . . . is an ode to Nelson Mandela, who had such a powerful impact on our world, and a man whom the band worked with in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa."

The song, which came out on a limited vinyl release, was recently nominated for a Golden Globe. It is also on the long-list of possible nominees for Best Original Song at next year's Academy Awards.

Other honorees at the Film Festival include Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, the cast of American Hustle and more.

In related news, U2 are reportedly returning to their longtime home, Island Records, according to new sources. The re-signing has yet to be officially confirmed, writes the Guardian, but a source told the newspaper that U2 "are going back to their spiritual home."

The newspaper reports that the band left Island seven years ago, claiming that they were dissatisfied with how they were being treated. When their label boss Jason Iley jumped ship to sister label Mercury, they followed him. That led to a deal with Interscope for the U.S. release of their most recent record, 2009's No Line on the Horizon. Now that the parent company for all of U2's labels, Universal, has shut down Mercury, it opened up the door for the group to return to Island.

U2 have spent most of 2013 working on a new album, which is rumored to be set for an April release. While recording in New York City with producer Danger Mouse, the group has been working on 12 songs, according to bassist Adam Clayton. "I think it's a bit of a return to U2 of old, but with the maturity, if you like, of the U2 of the last 10 years. It's a combination of those two things and it's a really interesting hybrid," Clayton said in October. "We're in the studio. We're trying to get these 12 songs absolutely right and get them finished by the end of November, and then we can kind of enjoy Christmas."

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