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  • Writer's pictureBridget Buckley

13 Days of U2: Day 3

War (1983)

"Sunday Bloody Sunday": (click to listen)

A full on anti-terrorism song, it references January 30, 1972, when 26 protesters were shot by British paratroopers in Derry, Northern Ireland. My kids know a bit about the Troubles of Northern Ireland due to the fact that I am of the Irish American persuasion (understatement), but this song is more important because it shows how music can be political without being obnoxious.

Another history lesson, but this one about Poland’s solidarity movement of the early 1980s and martial law being lifted on New Years Day. I don’t know that much about Polish history (remember, Irish American here), but Adam’s bass is strong and clear and the whole song would fall apart without him….which tends to be true on many U2 songs…

Good Lord Adam Clayton….killing it on the bass. Seriously, what a great song to teach kids how to separate sounds on one track. The base line jumps up and down like a speeding roller-coaster. It actually sounds happy…can a bass do that? Adam Clayton's bass can do that.

Unfortunately the last time they allegedly played it live in concert was in 1989. I’ve heard that version, and it can' t stand up to the Red Rocks version from 1983. Red Rocks had cow bell. Maybe they want less cow bell now and not more cow bell. Who knows…but it will always have Adam Clayton’s happy bass. Happy, happy, happy.


Another church song, this one literally ripped from the Bible. The story goes they were running out of studio time but needed one more song for the album. There were a few melodic skeletons, so with a few nips and tucks they had a song, but no lyrics. Bono opened up the Bible to Psalm 40 and used the words. Done.

One of the most moving pieces of concert footage is from the Vertigo tour when the concert ends with the audience singing “How long to sing this song?” Thousands upon thousands of people singing Psalm 40, some not even realizing they are in a communal church praising God.

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