'60 Songs That Saved My Life'

10 May 2020225

'60 Songs That Saved My Life’
To mark his birthday, a special playlist from Bono... and words of gratitude.

Play Bono's '60 Songs That Saved My Life' below or click to listen on your preferred music service.

'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.

Play Bono's '60 Songs That Saved My Life' here or click to listen on your preferred music service.

Your Fan, Bono. Read the latest Six Fan Letters.

Add your reactions in the comments below.

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

See Also: The Full Irish!, forty tracks from inspirational Irish artists, a soundtrack to Bono's life.

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Rachel R
HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY Bono the love of my life!!!! Ed Sherman did not break your record as highest grossing concert it took him double concerts to break it.. so in reality U2 is still highest...and number 1....I’m surprised no one else has commented on that!!!! Or maybe I missed it?!!
Happy Birthday Bono!
Thank you for so many great memories over the years and giving so much to humanity.
Rachel R
Happy birthday Bono!!!
To the Love of My Life HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY BONO
Happy Birthday Bono!
We are so grateful to have had the gift of your music in our lives for the past 40 years! Here's to many more! Jean & Paul Lynch
Happy Birthday Beautiful Bono!
What a fantastic idea to write down your thoughts and write letters to the artists who spoke to you so deeply through their lyrics and music. This is how we feel about you and the band and I am sure more than just a few of us can say your own tunes have saved us too. Thank you for the intimate insight in to your psyche and emotions. What a another wonderful generous gift you have given us on your 60th birthday You are a treasure even though mis-understood at times. ;) THANK YOU forever for sharing your thoughts and life with us. You are so generous.
Happy Birthday, Bono
Best wishes from Brisbane, Australia
So many moments and memories in this lis
I am listening to the playlist, almost all the way through and am just in love. So many songs that have meaning, obviously to you Bono, but also to me. Songs that define a place and time, bring back a memory of (mostly) joyful times, plus a few gems that I never heard like Angelique Kidjo and Massive Attack - amazing. I am delighted to hear Get What You Give - loved that song and got so tortured by my "cool" friends who thought it was cheesy pop - not so, it's got a great message,and makes you want to dance like no one's watching. The only thing that could make this listening better would be to be in a pub in Dublin with you and Ali, you playing chess with my husband, who beats everybody (even you?), and us all sipping some great red wine (I work in the wine biz in Napa Valley) and I'd bring some incredible wines to share. Well, a girl can dream right? Our last trip there was to see the Joshua Tree 30th at Croke Park, one of the best nights ever, and we love Ireland. Took the hike from Bray to Greystone on a gorgeous day overlooking the Irish Sea. I know you'll probably never see this, but just had to say it. We all have wings, but some of just don't know why. I want to fly! Happy 60th Birthday!
U2, the same if me! Bono happy birthay
Je n'aurais pas survécu sans U2. Surtout Bono. Merci! Merci! Merci! Bono: une voix qui de loin m'a sorti des ténèbres. De la violence au quotidien, les chansons de U2 m'ont donné de la joie, un chemin vers ma créativité. Enfin des sons qui me ressemblent. I like Bono, merci. Mon plus grand rêve? Te parler hm
What, Its your birthday and you give us
Bono - Happy birthday sir. Thank you so much for this awesome collection. Be safe!
Happy birthday my love! I made 50th ten days ago so we are Taurus!!
Happy "60th" Birthday Bono!
Thank you for the awesome music I grew up with throughout the years. U2 is the #1 band of all time! Hope to see you all soon in Pennsylvania, USA. Hope and pray you have a "Blessed Day"! Huge Fan, Debbie Jones
Happy Birthday Bono!
A great list of songs you have chosen Bono and also very diverse. I would say my list of songs that have saved my life over the years would definitely be all U2 ones, so thank you to you and the band for all of those and I look forward to what you guys come up with next. Wishing you a very happy 60th birthday and hope you and your family keep safe and well. Best wishes, Anissa xx
From innocence to experience in 60 click
Absolutely cracking playlist. Happy birthday B. I hope you’ve had an absolutely great day among the lockdownwuth your loved ones. You mean more to me than I could ever let you know, but you’ve soundtracked my life from the age of 11 ( I’m 46 now). We had our honeymoon in a certain hotel in Dublin ( the suites are lovely looking over the Liffy) for a week. Thank you and here’s to the next how ever many years. One day, I’ll buy you a Guinness. Cheers. >p
60 years young!!! Bono “what about INXS”
Happy Birthday mate....but I’m a little disappointed that, in all the 60 songs you picked, there isn’t “one” from INXS. Michael Hutchence was an incredible song writer & your tribute to him, when u came to Australia, made me cry. Your concert was incredible & your INXS tribute made it one that I’ll never forget. Hope you get spoilt rotten. Love Maria Feros
Happy 60th Bono!
I'll forever be grateful to you, Edge, Adam and Larry for your profound influence in my life during my teen years. Your music carried me through my parents' divorce, first love, heartbreak, graduation, college, afterward, and throughout my life. Your passion for so many causes inspired me to become a social activist while I was in high school, from starting an Amnesty International group to bringing political dissidents to speak at my high school. I continue to try to make a difference, love others, share my faith, and bring awareness to the injustices experienced by so many in our society. Words will NEVER adequately explain how much you all have been a part of my life but know you are LOVED by millions of us around the world! Keep making unforgettable music and bringing awareness to the issues that affect all of us. Blessings to you and your families! Again, happy birthday Bono and happy Mother's Day to all of the special women in your lives!
Happy Birthday Bono
Happy Birthday Bono, Thanks for being the musical guide of my life !!! Let's go for more B. From Bonos Aires, Argentina!!!
Happy Bono Birthday.
Thank you for your 60 years of life, and for making the soundtrack of my life.
Happy Birthday to Someone who Saved My L
Bono, Can't tell you how many times over the years your music, your presence, your performance have lifted me through happy days, ordinary days, hard days, dark days, all days! Thank you for being you and sharing so much with us! Happy Birthday with Love, Alyssa H.
Happy Birthday and stay safe Bono!
We are so warm up by you and the band on this pandemic , thank you for giving us hope!, enjoy your birthday !
A beautiful and wonderful birthday
A part of my life, u2 songs and this particular bono voice Give me lot of power during all the time Amazing moment during live concert And to discover all album Starting with LP CD DVD and now in the cloud all the world continue to change but Bono stay Bono like an acrobat into the wire All the best for you guy ;-)
Happy Birthday Bono
There is nothing to fear from getting older, you get wiser and perhaps more reflective but you can use all that experience in a positive way.
Wow 60!!!
Happy Birthday And a blessed solar return Bono!! And also Jordan. And Happy Mothers Day Ali. Sending y’all much love from Louisville Kentucky ❤️ Also thanks for sharing this list. A lot of songs I love as well including my favorite Billy Eilish song too.
Happy birthday !
Thank you Bono for sharing with your fans your songs. I wish to the most beautiful and imperfect man of the world ( this is you..) a happy birthday ! Lots of love, music, words that consolate the heart. Good health. Hope, always Hope. And always in my heart.. God bless you and U2 !
well done Paul
Happy birthday Paul, the first time i heard of you and the U2 was February the 6th 1985, when a friend of mine at the high school had an extra ticket for the U2 concert at Tenda theatre in Bologna. My friend was looking for someone to go with that same night and he asked me but i declined, i didn't know U2! Internet didn't exist at the time but the night of the show i saw the videoclip of " Pride(In the name of love)...and, as Bruce says "....you can't start a fire without a spark...." you have been my SPARK! Unfortunately i don't have a big brother with whom i can discuss or exchange views on things that matters to me. Since i've know you in the world, in the society, n my life there was a "problem": I always compared my opinions with yours, in your lyrics, in your interviews, and they matched mine! Your ideas, your dreams, your concern, your love, were inspirational to me and life. My name is Stefano, I'm 52 and I'm from Bologna(Italy), living my life at the fullest with two amazing sons and lovely wife. I don't thing I would have be the same human without knowing you. I wish I'll manage to get you a beer in Dublin next time I'll get there. God bless you Paul. Stefano
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday Paul
Happy Birthday day Bono
Love the love have a great day :-)
60th Birthday Bono
Happy Birthday Congratulation! Thank You for this great great human! What a life! Hope, see You asap! All thoughts and feelings for You! Greetings Marcus
happy birthday, bono!!!
buon compleanno, bono!!! hope you're having a great one!!! thanks a lot for 40 years of emotions along with edge, adam, larry!!! grazie!!! matteo (milan, italy)
Proud of you Bono
Happy 60th birthday, Bono. So proud of all you’ve achieved and who you are as a human being. You represent your country, and the poor of other countries, with integrity and grace. Love your music choices too ...,the ones I recognise would also be on my list
Happy birthday Bono
Happy 60th birthday Bono! Thank you for all great moments you created in my life. Alberto, Zagreb, Croatia
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