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HomeMusicNew Radicals’ Gregg Alexander Reacts to U2 Calling ‘You Get What You...

New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander Reacts to U2 Calling ‘You Get What You Give’ the Greatest Song They Didn’t Write: Exclusive

It’s not often that U2’s Bono and The Edge express envy over a song they wish they’d written, but on Tuesday’s The Hollywood Reporter Awards Chatter podcast, hosted by Scott Feinberg, the duo threw some love at The New Radicals’ 1998 pop classic “You Get What You Give,” written by frontman Gregg Alexander with Rick Nowels.

Bono and The Edge were on Feinberg’s podcast to talk about “Your Song Saved My Life” from Sing 2, which has been shortlisted by the Oscars for best original song (nominations will be announced Feb. 8 for the March 27 ceremony).

When Feinberg asked what they felt was the greatest song not by U2, Edge responded with “You Get What You Give.” “When I first heard that on the radio, we were in the studio working on something, and I was like ‘What?’” he says. “And I promptly went and wrote a song that I thought was mildly influenced by that tune. It turned out that like within an hour of playing it where everyone was going, ‘What are you doing? That’s the same as the New Radicals,’ so it never saw the light of day.”

Bono added of Alexander, “Yeah, stunning songwriter, stunning songwriter. He’s amazing.”

Understandably, Alexander is very flattered and a little shocked by the comments (although the pair have previously professed their love for the song over the years).

“Wow, it’s like being complimented by The Beatles,” Alexander exclusively tells Billboard. He then went on to repay the compliment and praise “Your Song Saved My Life”: “Their Sing 2 tune is brilliant not only because it’s a great song, but because they’ve probably already written about a dozen songs that saved everybody else’s life.” Alexander is familiar with the Oscar race, having been nominated for co-writing “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, which was nominated for best original song in 2015.

The praise for “You Get What You Give” comes almost exactly a year to the day after Alexander came out of semi-retirement to perform the song as part of President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The New Radicals broke up before their second single was even released, but “You Get What You Give” has only grown in popularity after peaking at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100; Biden even mentioned in his book Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose, that his late son Beau cranked up the song before his chemotherapy appointments, which led to Alexander performing the song for the Biden inauguration.

For Alexander, the continued love for the song is a blessing. “Our album Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed, Too had its true believers,” he says. “King of Critics, Robert Christgau, gave it an A and Todd Rundgren & Hall & Oates later covered our second single, ‘Someday We’ll Know,’ but as the new generations’ attention spans are all about ‘the song,’ I’m just thankful having one of the few that survived the ’90s!”

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