I Will Follow

“I don’t remember that much about my mother. I forget what she looks like. I was fourteen or fifteen when she died, but I don’t remember. I wasn’t close to my mother or father. And that’s why, when it all went wrong – when my mother died – I felt a real resentment, because I actually had never got a chance…to feel that unconditional love that a mother has for a child. That’s what “I Will Follow” is about. It’s a little sketch about that unconditional love a mother has for a child.”Bono (559)

Wake Up Dead Man

“I’ve realized that anger with God is very valid. We wrote a song about that on the Pop album – people were confused by it – ‘Wake Up Dead Man’.”Bono (560)

Where The Streets Have No Name

“[After Live Aid, Bono worked in an orphanage in a camp in Ethopia with his wife, Ali – Ed]. It’s a sort of odd, unfinished lyric and outside of the context of Africa it doesn’t make any sense. But it contains a very powerful idea. In the desert we meet God. In parched times, in fire and flood, we discover who we are. That’s my prayer, by the way, for the United States in 2005. Do you want to go to that other place…where the streets have no name. You can call it “soul” or “imagination,” the place where you glimpse God, your potential, whatever.”Bono (560)

Sunday Bloody Sunday

“That was supposed to contrast Easter Sunday with the death of thirteen protestors in Derry on Bloody Sunday but it didn’t quite come off. And yet melodically and the suggestion of the lyrics stood up to the test of time. I’ve changed the lyrics when I sing it now just to make it more believable for myself.”Bono (560)


“People are always forcing you to make decisions between flesh and spirit. Whereas I want to dance myself in the direction of God. I go out drinking with God. I am flirtatious in the company of God. I am not a person who has to put God out of his mind to go out on the town. It’s a key point. The divided soul of Marvin Gaye, Elvis – these conflicts tore them apart. And they don’t tear me apart. I reckon God loves all of me. This is the central conceit of the song “One.” I hate – just so you know – the concept of oneness. It’s so hippie-shtick. I tried to stop it being called “The One Campaign.” The reason a lot of the religious groups liked it is because they like that hippie-shtick. But I wrote the opposite song – I wrote, “We’re one and we’re not the same.” It was a bitter pill of a song. It’s a father-and-son story. I tried to write about someone I knew who was coming out and was afraid to tell his father. It’s a religious father and son. “You say love is a temple/Love’s a higher law/You ask me to enter/But then you make me crawl.” I have a lot of gay friends, and I’ve seen them screwed up from unloving family situations, which just are completely anti-Christian. If we know anything about God, it’s that God is love. That’s part of the song. And then it’s also about people struggling to be together, and how difficult it is to stay together in this world, whether you’re in a band or in a relationship.”Bono (560)

The Wanderer

“”The Wanderer” is based on the old Jewish Books of Wisdom. There’s one called Ecclesiastes, or “The Preacher.” We wrote it for Johnny Cash [to record – Ed.]”Bono (560)


“Right in the middle of it, I speak to my mother. And it goes right back to listening to John Lennon when she departed [died – Ed.] I’ve just realized that. I’m fourteen, and my mother is no longer around for that conversation. And of course, I’m listening to that Plastic Ono Band – listening to that song, “Mother.” It’s almost the same language. I go, “Mother, am I still your son? I’ve waited for so long to hear you say so”.”Bono (560)

Original Of The Species

“This started out as a song written for Edge’s daughter Hollie, who’s my godchild. But it’s not sentimental – I eroticized it a bit. It’s a lovers song, finally, for most people.”Bono (560)

Bullet The Blue Sky

“It’s a song about Central America and the bullying of the left by the right in the 1980s.”Bono (560)
“I wrote the song out of the fear I felt there. San Salvador looks like an ordinary city. You see McDonald’s, you see children with schoolbooks, you see what looks like a middle-class environment until you go 25 miles out of the city and see the peasant farmers. I was on my way to a village when troops opened fire above our heads. They were just flexing their muscles. It scared the shit out of me. I literally felt quite sick.”Bono (875)

Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

“It became about Michael Hutchence. Sometime after Michael died, I must have written a few lines. He got himself into a terrible hole. If he’d just hung on ten minutes more…I felt I had let Michael down because I was lost to my own busyness and hadn’t called as much as I would have liked.”Bono (560)


“It’s essentially about fundamentalism, political or religious. Religious fundamentalism is where you get to shrink God; you remake God in your own image, as opposed to the other way around.”Bono (564)


“I realized that exactly what I was talking about was the morning of her [his mother’s – Ed] funeral, not wanting to go out to that waiting black car and be a part of it.”Bono (876)

Out Of Control

“[On rising from a troubled sleep on his eighteenth birthday – Ed]… I said, ‘Well, here we are. I’m eighteen, and the two most important things in my life – being born and dying – are completely out of my hands. What’s the point?’ At that point in my life I had a lot of anger and discontent when I couldn’t find answers. It was violent, but mentally violent.”Bono (876)