Despite our polar opposite political views, my friend, John, and I share a common love for random trivia facts. In any given conversation, we can offer a lesser-known bit of knowledge related to the topic at hand, like the time when John gave a brief history lesson behind the music of U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love).
Like many starched conservatives, John is a huge Ronald Reagan fan and prides himself with all historical facts related to President Reagan. Remarkably, John is a walking World Book Encyclopedia when it comes to anything historical, American or World. Wikipedia has nothing on him. Therefore, I rarely ever challenge him on anything historical, particularly after I’ve had a few drinks.
But this one night about a month ago, I called bullshit balderdash to his Bono story. According to John, Bono originally wrote Pride (In the Name of Love) about Ronald Reagan’s love for America.
Being a huge U2 fan and having always admired Bono’s humanitarian efforts, this information struck me as odd and I gave him a glance reflecting my disbelief since it sounded like an urban legend. And just to annoy him, I told him I would consult Wikipedia and Snopes later.
After extensive research, John was somewhat right much to my chagrin. I hate it when that happens.
Upon my research, I discovered that Bono indeed write Pride (In the Name of Love) about Ronald Reagan’s desire for America to become a nuclear power. However after reading, Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Stephen B. Oates, Bono decided to dedicate the song to Dr. King.
“I originally wrote Pride about Ronald Reagan,” Bono explained. “Reagan and the ambivalent attitude in America. It was originally meant as the sort of pride that won’t back down, that wants to build nuclear arsenals. But that wasn’t working. I remember a wise old man said to me, “Don’t try and fight darkness with light, just make the light shine brighter.” I was giving Reagan too much importance. Then I thought of Martin Luther King; there’s a man. We build the positive rather than fighting with the finger.” (1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time, the Artists, Stories and Secrets Behind Them, Tony Creswell 2006)
With pressure from the producers to finish the album The Unforgettable Fire, the lyrics for Pride were overlooked and one historical fact left uncorrected. In Pride, Bono sings “early morning, April 4,” but Dr. King was assassinated in the evening. When U2 performs the song live, Bono acknowledges the mistake and sings it as “early evening, April 4.”
Despite being one of U2’s most popular and acclaimed hits, Bono felt the song never truly developed to its potential in his mind.
“I looked at how glorious that song was and thought: ‘What the fuck is that all about?’ It’s just a load of vowel sounds ganging up on a great man. It is emotionally very articulate – if you didn’t speak English. – Bono
With Bono’s guttural sounds and a brief history lesson, I had been schooled.
Visit Amanda, Xmas Dolly and Hairbows & Guitar Picks for more Music Monday fun.
I’ve been schooled more time that I care to admit by hubs. I just don’t let him know so his head won’t swell up,lol.
Great song no matter who he wrote it for, but now I know something my hubs probably doesn’t.
My hubby is like John – I get ‘schooled’ by him more often than not. 😉
Great song choice! And I loved hearing all that history! 🙂
My husband is the same way and he usually turns out to be right. Grrr
Thanks for the music history facts, I love to hear them.
I do love Bono, he praises both sides of the aisle. Credit where credit is due type of thing. He also puts his money where his mouth goes. I like that.
Nice tribute to MLK.
I appreciate the plug my friend, but feel the need to correct something. It is not true that the song was intended to be about Reagan’s “desire for America to become a nuclear power” – it was intended to be about the pride he felt for the American military defending the country he loved, hence “pride in the name of love.” America was already a nuclear power 35 years before Reagan was elected, and in fact it became a nuclear power because that was what liberal icon FDR demanded it become.
But I will quibble no more today. The song is a fine tribute to MLK, even if Bono thinks it didn’t reach its potential, and today we should appreciate MLK. Thank you for posting about the song’s interesting background!
I appreciate the history lesson of nuclear arsenal in America, but Bono did indeed originally intend the song to be about Reagan’s pride in building a nuclear defense. Due to your reply, I have edited the post to include a quote from Bono about the artist’s intention behind the song.
I love this song. Great choice, sista! x
Well I like your spunk and you should not stop challenging your dear friend because I do believe he likes fact that you think and challenges him. why take his word for it?
And thanks for sharing this video of Martin. *HUGS*
Have a lovely week!
I’m new with Music Monday and I’m baffled by your post. I don’t get it. Sorry. Doylene
Sorry you feel that way. I felt this brief history behind U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love) seemed only fitting for today’s Music Monday as we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and his work. I’m sorry my presentation was lost on you.
Thanks for playing along today, and hope to see you next week too! Mr. Bono was always dippin’ into political stuff too, and when he jumps into a crusade he uses BOTH FEET! Personally, I’ll stick with the music that makes me feel good, and want to shake my booty!!! I’ve had enough of schooling, and trying to figure things out. I just want to enjoy life now!
What a great post about this beautiful song! Yes, sometimes best things come out from some very strange inspiration. I learned something new here, thank you!
I love U2 and the song Pride and had no idea of the history behind it. I completely understand the reason you chose it today, thank you for the explanation, I only wish I could have heard the whole song. 🙂
Have a great week… can’t wait to see what you post next Monday.
Your wish is my command! I’ve added edited this post to include another video that features the entire song with photos of Dr. King, however, like many of the videos I found, it is only viewable on YouTube. The video is really well done, so be sure you follow the link to YouTube to view it. I love how the creator of the video ends with a smiling photo of Dr. King and the line “They took your life. They could not take your pride”.
And while I was hunting around, I also found this version by John Legend which is truly outstanding. If you notice, John Legend sings “late afternoon April 4th”.
Thanks for both videos… and you’re right, that last photo and quote on the U2 video is beautiful!
You’re the sweetest. 🙂
LOVE the song and LOVE Bono! I personally like a little debate after all a wise man once said “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein
This i a great reminder for all of us and a perfect choice for this week! Have a wonderful week !
Love that song!
I love a healthy discussion between friends, and enjoyed reading the facts around the song. Thanks for sharing. Good to see you back on track. Have a wonderful week :).
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