“One” – U2 / Johnny Cash

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I’m not a huge fan of U2, but “One” from 1992′s “Achtung Baby” is one for the ages. An almost perfect song / performance and easily one of my top 20 favorite songs of all-time. The song was ostensibly written about the band’s struggles during a particularly down period, but it’s far more universal than that. It’s so expertly written, it speaks for any number of troubled relationships where all sides have reached a point where breaking up is the only option given all the past hurt that has been aired … yet … there’s also a chance of redemption … though it’s difficult to see through all the past drama. An incredibly complex song that still continues to blow me away.

As great as U2′s version is, Johnny Cash’s cover tops it. It may even be better than his legendary cover of Nine Inch Nail’s “Hurt.” Breathtaking, emotional, brilliant stuff.

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“The Letter U and the Numeral 2” – Negativland

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Negativland’s legendary “cover” of U2′s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with the centerpiece being legendary DJ Casey Kasem’s angry, profanity-laden rants at his staff. This bit of audio “fun” resulted in years and millions of dollars in lawsuits. Lots of bad language on this one. However, if there’s one thing you need to remember, “These guys are from England and who gives a s–t?!?”