'These are some of the songs that saved my life,' writes Bono, as he shares a special birthday playlist titled '60 Songs That Saved My Life'. 'The ones I couldn't have lived without… the ones that got me from there to here, zero to 60… through all the scrapes, all manner of nuisance, from the serious to the silly… and the joy, mostly joy.'
The four hour plus playlist stretches from the formative 45s of his teenage years to later collaborations with some of his heroes, as well as tracks by younger artists like Billie Eilish, the same age now, 18, as Bono when he wrote his first song.
Long before he was making music, he was a music fan and along with these 60 songs he's penning a series of letters to their creators and family members.
'I wanted to thank the artists and everyone who helped make them… They were doing the same for me… I am writing a fan letter to accompany each song to try and explain my fascination…'
Bono is sharing the first six letters today, with more coming in the week ahead.
Writing about ‘Miserere' to Alice, daughter of Luciano Pavarotti he says, 'I can hardly remember what it was about... other than forgiveness that is… and a toast to being alive.’
To Billie Eilish (and Finneas) he says, of ‘everything i wanted’, ‘I step inside your song and it’s a black beauty, achingly awesomely vulnerable and terrifying, fearliess and worrisome… but you are not worried by all that.’
Writing to Duncan, son of David Bowie, he recalls, 'When I heard your Dad's song LIFE ON MARS? on the radio in 1973, I was hiding under the covers of my bed in 10 Cedarwood Roadlistening to a pirate radio station called Radio Caroline. I wasn't thinking about the question mark in the title… I wasn't bothered about the dramatic inquiry “is there life on Mars?”… The song was answering a much more important question when I was 13… Is there intelligent life on earth? It was proof as far as I'm concerned.'
To the members of Kraftwerk, who lost Florian this week, Bono recounts how 'The Man Machine' stole his heart and mind as a teenager. 'I gave Ali a copy to romance her on her 17th birthday in 1978… NEON LIGHTS is a song that brought into being a future that has now become so familiar, it is easy to forget just how strange it was.'
'You wrote songs so you could be in them,' he writes to Nile Rodgers. 'And that light touch is never better than on this one', referring to Daft Punk's Get Lucky featuring Rodgers and Pharrell. 'You are a reason to believe in what's possible,' he writes to Pharrell, 'You are a reason to believe in THE IMPOSSIBLE.'
And to Shara Nelson and Massive Attack, he sends gratitude for Safe From Harm, 'Thanks for giving me permission to not fully let go of the rage behind all vulnerability… it can propel.'
Read each letter in full in our gallery above - we'll be adding to it over the next few days.
60 Songs That Saved My Life 1. Luciano Pavarotti, Bono & Zucchero - Miserere 2. Sex Pistols - Anarchy In the UK 3. Kanye West - Black Skinhead 4. Billie Eilish - everything i wanted 5. David Bowie - Life on Mars? 6. The Beatles - I Want to Hold your Hand 7. Ramones - Swallow My Pride 8. The Clash - Safe European Home 9. Public Enemy - Fight The Power 10. Patti Smith - People Have the Power 11. John Lennon - Mother 12. The Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday 13. Elton John - Daniel 14. Andrea Bocelli- Con Te Partiro 15. Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel 16. Johnny Cash - Hurt 17. This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren 18. Kraftwerk - Neon Lights 19. The Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song 20. Prince - When Doves Cry 21. Daft Punk feat Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers - Get Lucky 22. Madonna - Ray of Light 23. JAY-Z feat Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind 24. Talking Heads - Love Goes to Building on Fire 25. Lou Reed - Satellite of Love 26. The Verve - Bitter Sweet Symphony 27. Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart 28. New Order - True Faith 29. R.E.M. - Nightswimming 30. Adele - Chasing Pavements 31. Arcade Fire - Wake Up 32. Pixies - Monkey Gone to Heaven 33. Oasis - Live Forever 34. Iggy Pop - Lust for Life 35. Gavin Friday - Angel 36. Massive Attack - Safe From Harm 37. Kendrick Lamar feat U2 - XXX 38. Bob Marley & The Walers - Redemption Song 39. Echo and the Bunnymen - Rescue 40. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit 41. Pearl Jam - Jeremy 42. Bob Dylan - Most of the Time 43. Beyoncé feat Kendrick Lamar - Freedom 44. Depeche Mode - Walking In My Shoes 45. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms 46. Simon & Garfunkel - The Sounds of Silence 47. Coldplay - Clocks 48. INXS - Never Tear Us Apart 49. New Radicals - You Get What You Give 50. Angélique Kidjo - Agolo 51. Lady Gaga - Born This Way 52. Frank Sinatra & Bono - Under My Skin 53. David Bowie - Heroes 54. Simple Minds - New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84) 55. Sinéad O'Connor - You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart 56. Van Morrison - A Sense of Wonder 57. Bruce Springsteen - There Goes My Miracle 58. Daniel Lanois - The Maker 59. Peter Frampton - Show Me The Way 60. Bee Gees - Immortality - Demo Version