Bono turned down the chance to collaborate with Haim on their latest album because his voice sounded like a “blowhorn”.
In the latest episode of the long-running podcast Song Exploder, Haim, Rostam and producer Ariel Rechtshaid broke down the making of the track ‘Summer Girl’, which featured on the band’s third album ‘Women In Music Pt. III’.
Speaking about the line “And I can see the angels coming down”, Danielle Haim said it was Rostam, who co-produced and co-wrote the track, who came up with the lyric.
“In my head, I was like, ‘That’s such a Bono line’, Rostam explained. “I could picture Bono. I was like, ‘Maybe we should ask him if he could sing that section of the song and Danielle was kind of like, ‘Well, you know I know him’.”
Danielle Haim had been in contact with the U2 frontman when she lost her voice on tour in Ireland. At the time, Bono had sent her a care package and recommended a doctor to help her.
“So I have his number and Rostam was like, ‘You’ve gotta text Bono!’,” she explained. “I was like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about? You wanna text Bono?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I hear him!’ I think we got super drunk and he finally convinced me like, ‘Just send it!’ I was like, ‘Ahh OK!’ So I sent Bono the song.”
Of Bono’s reaction to ‘Summer Girl’, Haim said he was “so nice” and up for working with the band. Ultimately, though, it didn’t work out. “Finally, he texted me back like, ‘I’m so sick, I’m so sorry, unless you want a blowhorn on this song, my voice is just so shot. I don’t think I can come up with anything in time,’” she said. “And that was that.”
Elsewhere in the Song Exploder episode, Haim, Rostam and Rechtshaid detailed how ‘Summer Girl’ is a love letter to Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ and how Rechsthaid’s cancer diagnosis influenced the song. Listen to it above now.