I love this cover of “I Believe in Father Christmas” orignially written by Greg Lake of “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” fame. What is especially interesting about U2’s rendering is a very subtle yet thoughtful change in lyrics. What was originally:
“They sold me a dream of Christmas, They sold me a silent night, They told me a fairy story, Till I believed in the Israelite.” Becomes; “But I believed in the Israelite.”
About this cover, @U2.com writes:
Like pretty much all of their other Christmas references, this is not a happy song. It’s about how our modern world has corrupted the simple beauty that a Christmas tree can offer. Edge’s chiming guitars sound completely in their element as a delicate, Christmassy effect. Lake used part of the Prokofiev composition “Troika” in between the verses, and Edge’s guitar version of it is utterly amazing. Adam and Larry chose to go with simple, sparse, deep rhythms that help drive home the gravity of the song. When I’m watching the video they made, with the cold-looking steam and the blinking, flickering lights all over the floor, and Bono shoots up an octave to cry out, “I wish you a hopeful Christmas. I wish you a brave new year. All anguish, pain, and sadness leave your heart. Let your road be clear,” it gives me goose bumps.