Monday night's New Orleans Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons was the second most-watched cable television broadcast ever, averaging nearly 15 million viewers.
That ratings success was due in no small part to an emotionally charged pre-game performance by U2 and Green Day, who took the stage at the Superdome to debut their charity single, "The Saints Are Coming" (see "Green Day, U2 Take Historic Collabo One Step Further By Re-Enacting Beatles' Abbey Road LP Cover").
Following the historic performance, "Saints" was made available for download on Rhapsody.com, with all proceeds going to Music Rising, an organization that helps replace instruments lost by musicians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. And given that U2 guitarist the Edge is a founding member of the organization, he's understandably looking to keep all the momentum going.
"It was one of those moments where the heart and the soul of the occasion was just so amazing," he told MTV News on Tuesday. "And the reaction from the crowd — who were there to see a football game — they went nuts. They got it. They knew what we were trying to do and the spirit of the event. It was very moving. And now everything is happening so quickly. We're scrambling to get it all together, but we're going to try and get the studio version [of 'Saints'] to radio and then see what happens."
That version was recorded by Rick Rubin at London's famed Abbey Road Studios — in Studio 2, where the Beatles worked almost exclusively. In fact, former Beatle Paul McCartney and producer George Martin stopped by to check in on the sessions. Also joining the bands and Rubin in the studio was photographer/director Chris Milk (Kanye West's "Touch the Sky"), who documented the making of the song for a music video.
"He shot the performance [at the Superdome] and the recording in Abbey Road Studios, and we re-created the Abbey Road cover [with photographer Anton Corbijn], and it was pretty surreal," Edge said. "He also shot footage in New Orleans' Ninth Ward, which is still very devastated. And now he's going to combine it all into a proper music video, which we hope will see the light of day."
A spokesperson for U2's label, Interscope Records, confirmed that a video for "Saints" was being made, though it was unclear just when — and where — it would debut. In the meantime, the Edge said Music Rising will continue to supply instruments to Katrina victims and in the coming weeks will also begin donating instruments to churches in the Gulf Coast region.
And U2 will continue working on their new record, the follow-up to 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, with Rubin. There is no clear date for the album's release.
"We've been doing a lot of work with Rick, and at this point, it seems to be going very well, so my guess would be yes, he's going to be producing our new record," Edge said. "We're still in the early stages, so it's difficult to say what will happen or what it will be like, but we've really been enjoying the sessions, and I don't see any reason why they should stop."