U2’s Bono and The Edge, Depeche Mode and Cat Burns are announced on Monday 6th March as performing for BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room at Maida Vale studios, to be broadcast in March and April.
Also from Monday 6th March, Gary Davies presents Radio 2’s mid-morning show - ahead of Vernon Kay starting in May - and unveils the new weekday pop quiz, Ten to the Top, which launches at 10.30am (full details below).
For Radio 2’s Piano Room, each artist performs three tracks - a new song, one of their well-known tracks and a classic cover version from another artist - accompanied by an orchestra. These latest performances, which have already been recorded and filmed, will be broadcast during Gary Davies’ show in March and April (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-12pm) and on BBC Sounds. They will also be available to watch on BBC iPlayer and hear on BBC Sounds, available for 30 days afterwards.
Gary Davies says: “U2 are quite simply my favourite band ever so to interview Bono and The Edge and see their Piano Room performance was a dream come true for me. Follow that up with the legendary Depeche Mode, who have crafted some of the best loved songs in the world, and amazing new talent Cat Burns, and I can safely say that Radio 2’s Piano Room really has a treat in store for listeners.”
The Piano Room for U2’s Bono and The Edge will air on Thursday 16th March and their classic cover is a track by ABBA, with their session accompanied by an orchestra. Bono and The Edge are founding members of Irish rock band U2, formed in Dublin in 1978. Acknowledged as one of the best live acts in the world, U2 has toured the globe countless times, released 14 studio albums, sold over 170 million albums and won numerous awards, including 22 Grammys and Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and in December last year, Bono and The Edge, along with bandmates Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr., were awarded the 45th Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements at a ceremony in Washington D.C. In March, U2 will release Songs of Surrender, a new collection of 40 seminal U2 songs from across the band’s catalogue, re-recorded and re-imagined; as well as a new documentary titled Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman.
Talking about their Piano Room performance, The Edge said: "We’ve been seen wandering the corridors of BBC Maida Vale on more than one occasion. The first time we performed here was a radio session recording of Sunday Bloody Sunday and a song called Surrender, back in 1983…”
Bono added: "We have played music in this room many times over the years… In fact, it was 40 years ago - almost to the day - that we first met our longtime Creative Director Willie Williams right here… in the hallowed halls of the BBC Maida Vale… You have to be at your best here."
An hourlong special of Bono and The Edge’s Piano Room performance, including an extended interview with them, will be available on BBC Sounds later in March. Listeners will hear about their musical influences and inspirations, memories of recording previous U2 sessions at Maida Vale, their love of radio as a medium, the recent anniversary of their album War, the improvisation behind their song recordings and more. A BBC Audio production.
Depeche Mode’s Piano Room will be broadcast on Thursday 6th April and their classic cover is a track by Scott Walker, with their session accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. The recording was Dave Gahan and Martin Gore’s first ever time performing at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, but also their first UK performance since the sad death of keyboard player, Andy Fletcher, last year. Depeche Mode has had a huge influence within both the electronic and alternative music scenes since the 80s and which continues to this day, with 54 songs in the UK Singles Chart, 17 Top 10 albums in the UK chart and having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The Grammy nominated band has won numerous UK and international awards and accolades, and in 2020 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their 15th studio album, Memento Mori, is due to be released in March 2023.
Depeche Mode said: "We were honoured and privileged to be asked to perform for Radio 2’s Piano Room. It was an amazing experience to play live with a 21-piece orchestra and it will remain a vivid memory. What a fun day!"
Cat Burns’ Piano Room will air on Thursday 20th April. Her classic cover is a track by Ariana Grande, with their session accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Cat is a Brit Awards nominated singer-songwriter from Streatham, London. A former Brit school student, she went from busking on the Southbank to amassing more than one million followers on TikTok, singing a mix of covers and original songs. Her single, Go, was released in July 2020 and reached number two in the UK Singles Chart and is included in her latest EP, Emotionally Unavailable. She featured on the BBC Radio 1 Sound of 2023 shortlist and this summer, has supported Olly Alexander and Ed Sheeran on tour and will join Ed again this year on his North American tour.
U2’s Bono & The Edge, Depeche Mode and Cat Burns join the star-studded line-up of artists who have performed for the Radio 2’s Piano Room, including across February this year when Michael Ball, Lady Blackbird, Belinda Carlisle, Tom Chaplin, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Ellie Goulding, Haircut 100, Lemar, Louise, Richard Marx, P!nk, RAYE, Freya Ridings, Jake Shears, Simply Red, Stormzy, Suede, Sugababes, Suzanne Vega, and Jessie Ware performed, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra. The sessions are available on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer. Plus, P!nk filmed an extended set for BBC TWO, presented by Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, which is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer.