"Mercy" is a song that first surfaced in late 2004, when it was apparently one of the last songs cut from the "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" album. Although how the song was thrust into the public is debatable, the a popular story is that a fan was given a copy of HTDAAB by Bono, a copy containing the extra track. Anywho, the song was uploaded to the Internet and shared on the Interference forums, and from there saw a grand reception from the U2 fan community (download the original song here). Fans speculated as to whether it would appear on the next album (we now know it did not appear on 2009's "No Line on The Horizon"), and now they suspect it might appear on the upcoming record, reportedly titled "Songs of Ascent."
These suspicions were pushed along when the song was performed in a soundcheck before a Zurich show, and bolstered when the song was actually played in the show yesterday evening. Have a listen:
If you've listened to the original, you'll immediately notice that the lyrics, structure, and length have been slightly altered, but it is definitely still recognizable as "Mercy" as early on as the first few notes.
I have always been a fan of the original track, and I'm a fan of its new incarnation for sure. It sounds more refined and better-written: although the rough and raw feel of the original was part of its charm, the new version is still tops, and the original will always be a great demo.
I tried working this into a post, but I couldn't find a way, and it's been in my bookmarks for too long now... this is a strange picture.