U2 Songs where Bono sings about his wife Ali Hewson

Bono, the iconic frontman of U2, and his wife, Ali Hewson, have shared a relationship that stands as a testament to enduring love and partnership in the world of music and fame. Their love story began in their teenage years at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland, where they met and started dating.

This early connection, formed in the midst of their formative years, laid the foundation for a relationship that has thrived through the extraordinary journey of U2's rise to global stardom. Their marriage in 1982 marked the beginning of a life together that has not only witnessed the evolution of one of the world's most successful rock bands but also the growth of a family, as they have raised four children together.

What sets Bono and Ali's relationship apart is not just its longevity but the depth of partnership that extends beyond their personal life into their philanthropic endeavors. Ali, an activist in her own right, has been a significant influence on Bono's humanitarian work.

Together, they have engaged in numerous initiatives and campaigns, particularly focusing on issues in Africa, advocating for human rights, and fighting against poverty and disease. This shared commitment to making a positive impact in the world reflects the alignment in their values and the strength of their partnership.

ali hewson bono u2 lyrics references

Here are some songs where Bono has been singing about Ali.
  • "Sweetest Thing": Originally a B-side to "Where the Streets Have No Name," this song was later re-released as a single for the Greatest Hits album. Bono wrote it as an apology to Ali for having to work in the studio during her birthday.
  • "All I Want Is You": This song from the album "Rattle and Hum" is a sweeping ballad that's widely interpreted as a love song to Ali, reflecting the depth and commitment of their relationship.
  • "The First Time": From the album "Zooropa," this song features lyrics that are interpreted as a reflection on Bono's relationship with Ali and the purity and innocence of their early love.
  • "Landlady": From "Songs of Experience," this song is a tribute to Ali, acknowledging her role in Bono's life and the support she has provided over the years.
  • "Out of Control": While not explicitly about Ali, this song from U2's debut album "Boy" was written on Bono's 18th birthday, around the time he started dating Ali, and reflects the tumultuous energy of youth that framed the beginning of their relationship.
  • Song for Someone": From "Songs of Innocence," this is a tender, introspective song that many believe is written for Ali, reflecting on their long-standing relationship.
Bono's admiration and love for Ali have often found expression in his music, with several U2 songs being attributed to her influence or serving as tributes to her. This intertwining of their personal and professional lives showcases a relationship that is deeply rooted in mutual respect, shared passions, and an unbreakable bond. In an industry where relationships are often challenged by the pressures of fame and public scrutiny, Bono and Ali's enduring union stands as a rare and inspiring example of lasting love and companionship.

Check out the video for the sweetest thing which features Ali:

 


U2's lyrics often possess layers of interpretation, making it challenging to conclusively attribute Ali Hewson's influence. However, music writer Niall Stokes suggests her impact is evident in the band's 1997 album "Pop," especially in "Staring at the Sun." He interprets this song as reflecting Ali's involvement with the Chernobyl Children's Project, mirroring the danger and hope it inspired in Bono. Stokes also posits that "When I Look at the World," from the 2000 album, explicitly acknowledges Ali's strength and commitment, particularly through her work with Chernobyl, although some interpret the song as referencing Jesus or God. Bono himself has provided a different perspective, indicating that the song partly represents a critical self-reflection seen through the eyes of someone losing faith.

It's therefore quite important to note that while these songs are widely believed to be about Bono's relationship with Ali, the nature of songwriting often blends personal experience with artistic expression, leaving room for interpretation. Bono's lyrics frequently transcend personal narratives, allowing listeners to find their own meaning and connections within the songs.

How many number ones has U2 had?



How many number one songs have U2 had?


The short version: United Kingdon 7 and United States 2

The long version:

U2 have had all kinds of hits on the music charts but at the end of the day it’s the songs that made number one on those charts that are often the ones asked about as questions in pub quizzes.

So to help you out, here’s a list or two of U2 songs that have made number one.

U2 live - number one songs

There are various kinds of charts that track song popularity and they often revolve around rock, country and blues and are used to allow music that would never be mainstream get some air time. There’s even the itunes charts which for some unexplained reason people seem to think matters… but the truth is digital sales are the the only way sales of singles occur these days.

When was the last time you physically purchased a U2 single?

Two my mind there are only two charts that really count. Being ‘Top of the Pops’ in the UK means you are number one and crowning the Billboard 200 means you have the most popular song for the week in America.

And we’ll use those charts to show how many number on hits U2 have had.

First up is the America Billboard chart which shows the U2 have had two number one hits. Both hits were from The Joshua Tree and were With or Without You and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Desire from Rattle and Hum made it as high as 3 and a couple of singles from Achtung Baby and Pop made the top 10 and that’s it.

So, U2 have only had 2 number one American hits.

It’s a better story for the UK chart where U2 have had a bit more success in terms of chart toppers.

Nothing from The Joshua Tree went to number one despite the album’s massive success so it was Desire that became U2’s first UK number one hit. It came from Rattle and Hum. In 1991 when The Fly flew off as the lead single from Achtung Baby it landed at number 1.

It was a long time between drinks when Discotheque dropped in 1997.

U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind had a string of popular singles but only Beautiful Day in 2000 managed the top spot.

A debatable number one is Take Me to the Clouds Above" by LMC vs. U2. Debatable as it was a song featuring samples from U2's With or Without You with a health splash of Whitney Houston thrown in. At the end of the day, the song has U2’s name in the space where the artist’s name goes so it counts as a number one.

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb offered a notable double with both Vertigo and Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own grabbing their time in the top position.

'No Line on the Horizon' suffered from a lack of hit singles. Such a shame, the album had some good songs.

This means U2 have had seven number one hits in the UK and two in the United States. Unsurprisingly, U2 are even more popular in their home country of Ireland and owned the number one place an awesome 21 times.

That's right in Ireland, U2 have had 21 number one singles.

U2 also seems to do fairly well in Canada.

A really interesting number one is The Joshua Tree's song, One Tree Hill. It was written in memory of Greg Carrol, a friend of U2 who died while working for them. Carrol was a New Zealander so U2 decided to release the single only in New Zealand where it went to one, become U2's first number one there.

When U2 play NZ, they play that song every time and rarely play it outside of NZ but they did for the 30th Anniversary of the The Joshua Tree.

List of U2’s UK number one songs:
And if you're still with us, here's a list of U2's number one albums.

U2 - October Album Lyrics + Themes

October was U2's follow up to their debut album Boy. Produced again by Steve Lillywhite, it was a more polished effort but did not win over as many critics as the first album. The track Gloria has proved to be a song that has stood the test of time and as the title of that song suggests, October's lyrics were of a heavily spiritual nature and they were all written by Bono.

October album cover U2

This album stands out for its exploration of spirituality, a stark contrast to the more secular themes prevalent in much of early 1980s rock music. 

The title track, "October," and songs like "Gloria" and "Tomorrow" are imbued with references to faith and spiritual struggle, resonating with a sense of seeking and yearning for something beyond the tangible. 

The spiritual introspection in "October" is often intertwined with themes of doubt and uncertainty, as the band members grappled with their religious beliefs amidst the pressures of rising fame and the tumultuous landscape of the music industry. Additionally, the album touches on themes of loss and transition, evident in the poignant lyricism of "With a Shout (Jerusalem)" and "Fire." 

These themes are reflective of the band's own experiences during the album's production, marked by personal challenges and a sense of artistic evolution. 

The raw, somewhat unpolished sound of "October," distinct from their later work, mirrors the vulnerability and authenticity of its themes, presenting a candid, introspective snapshot of a band in the midst of both personal and artistic growth.

October Lyrics:

1. Gloria
2. I Fall Down
3. I Threw A Brick Through A Window
4. Rejoice
5. Fire
6. Tomorrow
7. October
8. With A Shout
9. Stranger In A Strange Land
10. Scarlet
11. Is That All?

Fun Fact: October is the least selling of all the U2 albums. Even Pop sold more! We jest, it was their 2nd album, Irish grown from humble roots. Can't win em all. 

Atomic City lyrics U2

 Atomic City song lyrics by U2

"Where you are is where I'll be," Bono declares, echoing the sentiment that in the realm of music and luck, "you just have to be right one more time than you're wrong…"

Imagine the Sphere in Las Vegas, a state-of-the-art multimedia coliseum, pulsating with the energy of U2's upcoming U2:UV shows. It's here that "Atomic City" was unleashed upon the world, just hours before the curtain lifted, setting the stage for a monumental celebration of the band's 1991 magnum opus, "Achtung Baby."

At the mixing desk, you'd find Jacknife Lee and Steve Lillywhite (Boy et al), the architects of U2's sonic landscape. Recorded in the hallowed halls of Sound City in Los Angeles, these long-standing collaborators have once again helped the band strike a balance between the nostalgic and the groundbreaking.

The track itself is a time machine, a three-and-a-half-minute journey back to the magnetic spirit of the '70s post-punk era. It's as if Blondie and Giorgio Moroder are in the room, their pioneering spirits channeled through U2's modern sensibilities.

Las Vegas, often dubbed 'Sin City,' once wore the crown of 'Atomic City' in the 1950s. The song's title is a historical nod to a time when the city was a hotspot for atomic tourism, its skyline occasionally punctuated by the distant mushroom clouds from the Nevada Test Site. It's a complex backdrop that adds layers of meaning to the song and its accompanying visuals.

Directed by Ben Kutchins and orchestrated by Tarik Mikou of Moment Factory Music, the music video is a love letter to Las Vegas' Fremont Street. It's a place that holds a special place in the band's heart, echoing their iconic video for "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," shot over three decades ago.

But at its core, "Atomic City" is more than just a song; it's a love song to U2's audience. It's a testament to a relationship that has spanned decades, a connection that is both intimate and universal.

So as you tune into "Atomic City," know that you're not just listening to a track—you're part of a narrative, a story that transcends time and space, a sonic experience that only a band like U2 could deliver. It's as if Bono himself has mixed this experience just for you, blending history, love, and music into a single, unforgettable moment.

atomic city song lyrics U2

[Verse 1]
Come all you stars falling out of the sky
Come all you angels forgetting to fly
Come all who feel we're not on our own
All UFOs come on your way home
Alone, that's no way to be carrying on
Come on, we're betting on a future that's long
Gone, in look of a song
You just have to be right one more time then you're wrong

[Refrain]
Atomic City (Atomic)
Oh, oh
Atomic City (Atomic)
Oh, oh

[Chorus]
I'm free
Where you are is where I'll be
I'm free
So unexpectedly

[Verse 2]
Come all who serve above and below
Come all believers and all who don't know
Come quick, come soon, comme ci, comme ├ža
Then you dive into your eyes and blah blah blah
Guitars, she pulls the strings et cetera
Sinatra swings, a choir sings
Love is god and god is love
And if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough

{Chorus Refrain]

Atomic City (Atomic)
Oh, oh
Atomic City
Atomic Sun for everyone
For everyone

[Bridge]

Roll the dice
That's roulette
The beat has not stopped
Speeding yet

[Chorus]
I'm free
Where you are is where I'll be
I'm free
So unexpectedly

[Outro]
I'm free
I see what's in front of me
And your freedom is contagious
What you've got I wanna be
I'm free
It took me my whole life
I got the keys to the cages
I'm ready for bright lights
I'm free
I came here for the fight
I'm front row in Las Vegas
And there's a big one on tonight

Atomic City can only remind us of How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb

The answer of course is with love. 

Why did Bono change the 'Early Morning' Lyric of Pride

Pride from U2's The Unforgettable Fire was arguably U2's first proper hit single. The song honours Baptist Minister and black rights activist Martin Luther King.

The original version of Pride features the lyric: "Early morning, April four" as the time that MLK was shot.

In reality, this was not the case, MLK was killed much later that day.

The Songs of Surrender version of Pride updates the incorrect 'early morning' lyric to "In the evening April 4" to reflect the actual time of MLK's assassination.

MLK Pride u2 lyrics

U2 'Songs of Surrender' album track list and lyrics

U2 have announced Songs of Surrender, an album which revisits and reworked and recorded songs both older and more recent - covering the entire rage of their catalogue. 

Some of the songs feature reworked lyrics by Bono. He said while promoting his Stories of Surrender novel "I have sometimes been rewriting some of the lyrics. During lockdown, we were able to reimagine forty U2 tracks for the Songs of Surrender collection, which gave me a chance to live inside those songs again as I wrote this memoir. It also meant I could deal with something that’s been nagging me for some time. The lyrics on a few songs that I’ve always felt were never quite written. They are now. (I think.)"

songs of surrender lyrics

Track List for Songs of Surrender by U2


“Out of Control” – U2 (From Boy)
“Stories for Boys” – U2 (From Boy)
“I Will Follow” – U2 (From Boy)
“11 O’Clock Tick Tock” – U2 (Non-Album Single)
“Two Hearts Beat as One” – U2 (From War)
“Sunday Bloody Sunday” – U2 (From War)
“40” – U2 (From War)
“Bad” – U2 (From The Unforgettable Fire)
“Pride (In the Name of Love)” – U2 (From The Unforgettable Fire)
“Where the Streets Have No Name” – U2 (From The Joshua Tree)
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” – U2 (From The Joshua Tree)
“With or Without You” – U2 (From The Joshua Tree)
“Red Hill Mining Town” – U2 (From The Joshua Tree)
“Desire” – U2 (From Rattle and Hum)
“All I Want is You” – U2 (From Rattle and Hum)
“One” – U2 (From Achtung Baby)
“Until the End of the World” – U2 (From Achtung Baby)
“The Fly” – U2 (From Achtung Baby)
Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” – U2 (From Achtung Baby)
“Stay (Faraway, So Close!)” – U2 (From Zooropa)
“Dirty Day” – U2 (From Zooropa)
“If God Will Send His Angels” – U2 (From Pop)
“Beautiful Day” – U2 (From All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
“Walk On” – U2 (From All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
“Peace on Earth” – U2 (From All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
Electrical Storm” – U2 (Non-Album Single)
“Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” – U2 (From All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
“Vertigo” – U2 (From How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
“Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” – U2 (From How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
“Crumbs from Your Table” – U2 (From How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
“Miracle Drug” – U2 (From How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Invisible” – U2 (Non-Album Single)
“Ordinary Love” – U2 (Non-Album Single)
“The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” – U2 (From Songs of Innocence)
Song for Someone” – U2 (From Songs of Innocence)
Every Breaking Wave” – U2 (From Songs of Innocence)
“Cedarwood Road” – U2 (From Songs of Innocence)
“The Little Things that Give You Away” – U2 (From Songs of Experience)
“Lights of Home” – U2 (From Songs of Experience)
Get Out of Your Own Way” – U2 (From Songs of Experience)

In a moment of keeping it real for the U2 fans, guitarist The Edge sent out letters - a key paragraph describes U2's intent with this album:

"Music allows you to time travel and so we started to imagine what it would be like to bring these songs back with us to the present day and give them the benefit or otherwise, of a 21st century re-imagining. What started as an experiment quickly became a personal obsession as so many early U2 songs yielded to a new interpretation. Intimacy replaced post-punk urgency. New keys. New chords. New tempos and new lyrics arrived. It turns out that a great song is kind of indestructible. Once we surrendered our reverence for the original version each song started to open up to a new authentic voice of this time, of the people we are, and particularly the singer Bono has become. … I hope you like our new direction.”

What U2 songs does The Edge sing on?

What U2 lyrics does The Edge sing?

What U2 songs does The Edge sing lead vocals on?



In the expansive discography of U2, a band renowned for its distinct sound and profound impact on the music industry, the contributions of the guitarist David Howell Evans, better known as The Edge, extend beyond his innovative guitar techniques and backing vocals. The Edge's role as a vocalist, although less prominent than that of the lead singer Bono, offers a unique and compelling dimension to U2's music. T

The Edge's vocal contributions, characterized by their clarity and emotive resonance, provide a contrast to Bono's more dominant and robust singing style. His voice, often described as introspective and ethereal, adds a layer of subtlety and depth to the songs he leads. The exploration begins with "Seconds" from the 1983 album "War," where The Edge's vocals punctuate the song's anti-nuclear message with a sense of urgency and starkness. This track stands as an early example of his ability to convey powerful themes through a more restrained vocal delivery.

Numb


"Numb" was released as Grammy Winner, Zooropa's first single. 

Numb is a repeating, monotonous mantra spoken by The Edge with a drumbeat sampled from the Leni Riefenstahl film Olympia. 

"Numb" also features backing vocals by Bono and Larry Mullen, Jr i.e. while The Edge sings in a slow monotone while Bono sings around it in his 'opera' voice. Bono did the same on Zooropa, the Johnny Cash track. 

Here's the video of Numb as it's a classic!

Van Dieman's Land was the original name used by Europeans for the island of Tasmania, Australia. The lyrics were written and sung by U2's one and only The Edge. 

The song is dedicated to a Fenian poet named John Boyle O'Reilly, who was deported to Australia because of his poetry and Fenian leanings. 

The track itself is from Rattle and Hum.


Sunday Bloody Sunday


During the Pop Mart tour, The Edge took lead vocal duties live on stage for this song. Edge sang alone and without accompaniment from the rest of the U2 band, save for his own guitar.


You're The Best Thing About Me


From Songs of Experience, The Edge sings a full verse near the end of the song:

"I can see it all so clearly
I can see what you can’t see
I can see you lover her loudly
When she needs you quietly"

The Edge is also noted as singing the first half of the song "Seconds" from War, dual vocals with Bono in "Discotheque" from the Pop album, and the bridge in the song "Miracle Drug" (though there's some debate about that).

U2 lyrics that explore religion, Jesus, Yahweh and The Good Book

Lyrics from the Bible that U2 use

U2 religious lyrics that explore Jesus, Yahweh and the Bible


It seems almost obligatory to do a post on U2's spiritual side. They are perhaps the world's most popular Christian band after all!

 I say Christian very loosely though as for some people that kind of connotation can turn them right off  but U2's is most definitely a band that is not shy of exploring their spiritual lyrical side.

Bono, U2's main lyric writer, is a noted musical magpie that steals lines from the Bible to help with his song crafting. Indeed, here's a whole page of bible references Bono has made across the U2 song catalogue.

You could almost put U2's song lyrics into two distinct camps - songs about spirituality and songs about politics (such as nuclear war). 

You could throw in a third camp about of U2's love songs if you wanted but since when has 'love' not ever been spiritual or a matter of politics?

Jesus is a popular man in U2 songs, along with mentions of Yahweh, the references to the Koran and a few other Saints - so I thought  I'd feature a few U2 song lyrics that show case Bono's spiritual side and give a little insight into what I think the lyrics mean and perhaps give a little context on the genesis of some of them...

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For


Many people suddenly found themselves to be U2 fans in the late 80s when The Joshua Tree album started topping charts around the world.

Helping lead the charge was I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For which is the gold standard if you are looking for a U2 song that focuses on a spiritual yearning. 

Stealing the line from the Bible's 1 Corinthians 13:1: "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

Bono sung  "I have spoken with the tongue of angels" thus heralding to the world where he was coming from yet he then signalled his mischievous side with the following lyric that he had also 'held the hand of the Devil'.

Wake Up Dead Man from the Pop album


In tough times people often turn to their spiritual advisor for support - Wake Up Dead Man is Bono trying to get a direct line with Jesus to come and fix "the fucked up world'.

Originally written during the Zooropa recording sessions, the final version ended up on Pop as an effective album closer.

Fun aside, Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me also came from the Zooropa recording sessions and asks a question of Jesus.

Yahweh


A beautiful track from U2's How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, Yahweh's lyrics are a reflection of Bono's faith (as the son of a Catholic father and an Anglican mother) and points to the differences in the power that he believes between God and mankind. 

The word 'yahweh' has traditionally been by transliterated from the word Jehovah. Jehovah is often described as "the proper name of God in the Old Testament".

Larry, Bono, Edge and Adam, hold the bike while I get on?

Sunday Bloody Sunday


Ostensibly a song about the political troubles that have face the people of Ireland, its inspiration was a couple of events where soldiers shot civilians in Northern Ireland - the lyrics capture the moment crisply by invoking a cross fire between religion and the military (and by extension the State) and the sad consequences when both collide. 

Until the End of the World


This has proved to be an incredibly popular song from U2's Achtung Baby and has been played on just about every tour U2 have done since that album was released in 1991.

It is semi-legendary in U2 fan circles for being a fictional conversation between Jesus and Judas following the betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane. The lyrics hint that Judas regretted his actions and committed suicide.

Tomorrow


A classic earnest lyric from Bono. The October album was definitely Bono on 'God Watch' -  exploring his thoughts around his mother's death and the spectre of meeting Jesus.

Stranger in a Strange Land


The entire lyrics of the song appear to be making an allusion to the Emmaus story from the Bible's Luke 24, where the newly risen from the dead Jesus appears to two disciples as a complete stranger, but miraculously cannot be recognized until he offers bread to the two disciples who have invited him into their abode.


It's hard to discern the actual message of this song. The lyrics possibly suggest the character is living in a world where they need some help and they need some angels to come and sort things out.

The line "where is the hope, and where is the faith, and the love?" hints at a lost soul that needs some guidance in light of a world they are concerned about such one where the cartoon network leads into the news and the blind lead the blondes.

The song featured on the City of Angels soundtrack and was a fairly popular single from the Pop album.

Salome


Salome is inspired by the story of the death of John the Baptist which was from the gospel of Mark.

Supposedly a seductive dancer (in the modern-day vernacular, she'd be known as a stripper) Salome's super gyrations convinced the King to grant her a wish to which she asked for the head of John.

Pretty random story and sounds like something that got lost in translation when the Bible got rewritten. It's either that or Oscar Wilde had an overactive imagination. 

These eight songs were only a taste of the many songs that Bono has imbued with lyrics that refer to the Bible or have looked into an 'ecumenical' matter of sorts - Gloria, for example, could probably have a whole essay written about it.

What other songs do you think show U2's spiritual side? What do they mean for you?