'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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60 songs ... as a printed book version?
Hi everyone, I just thought it would be a great idea to publish Bono's notes on the 60 songs that saved his lile as a printed book version, e.g. as a possible subscriber's gift or to buy from the webshop. What do you guys think about it? Greetings from Germany D. Flory (zooflo)
No Who?!?!
Thats a head-scratcher! I always thought The Who were one of your biggest influences. Disappointing...
You saved my life. Happy late birthday
You saved my life. Happy late birthday
Poet, Peace Activist, Music Enthusiast
I love the variety of this lists. I was a teenager in the 80s and I loved all that new music. I was in my twenties in the 90s and loved rock and synth pop even more. I always go back to the classics. Thanks for sharing this, Bono. Happy birthday! May your days and nights be filled by sweet melodies! Peace, Love, Classic Songs, and Kindest Wishes, Ruben and Mike. P. S. Please send me an autographed picture: Ruben Santos Claveria, 828 Handley Court, Mundelein, IL 60060. Or call me 773 642-6019 (my cell phone; texts welcome)
This play lists is Great! Thank you!
Thank you!! Old favorites and new-to-me sounds to try out, ‘sure helps yo break out of these Covid 4-walls here!
Thank you for sharing this playlist with us but above all for the music you gave us along with the other U2s
Grazie! Grazie for these songs and for your thoughts for my Italy. Happy birthday. Love forever ❤️
This Mortal Coil....
May 21 will mark five years since my mom passed away. I played Song to the Siren the moment she left us.
yeah yeah yeah
An interesting list and fun cos there is some of my deep old favorites (Arcade Fire! Patti Smith. Who was with Larry's drums such a joy in London encore once. John Lennon) and a couple of new I think. But the Irish list is rockier a rock and it includes Inhaler. Grin. Granite.
Happy Birthday Bono, cheers to another 60 my friend. Thanks for all the great music and inspiration over the years, fan since 1982. Now 53 myself, I celebrated my 50th in Dublin at Croke Park with you and boys for the JT reunion. Amazing show and a great time to be in Dublin, you made turning 50 fun and can't wait to do it again...…
Fellow 1960in. I was born in 1960 as we
I'm listening to the 60 songs. I lived in the country; in the middle of nowhere. I listened to a station on the radio that would fade in and out. WLS in Chicago. I fell in love with Queen, Boston, Kansas, etc. I listen to alternative music now as well. Alice in Chains, Muse, etc. And of course I listen to U2...have seen you in concert a few times as well. Happiest Birthday! Tamster
Bono saved MY life....
Thank you, B´Man...for being YOU, for being my hero...for being there for all of us!!! And all YOUR songs saved - and still saves MY life ❤️
Belated 60th Birthday Bono!
Im 2 days late of greeting you but nevertheless im happy to get the chance to greet you here. Your songs is truly what makes me happy on sad days. Here’s wishing you more joyful days ahead. Keep safe and keep on making new music! Btw, thanks for sharing your 60 songs playlist with us.
Birthday Wishes!
Happy Birthday from lockdown in Australia! I've been hooked on U2 since hearing The Fly blast onto the radio as a teenager and haven't stopped listening to U2 since. Thank you for making such beautiful, meaningful music. I couldn't have got through 5 years at uni and the many years which have passed since without your music to inspire and motivate me. Also loved the playlist, (especially the inclusion of some Aussie artists). xo
It´s a musical journey!
Bono, the words you wrote in these letters are so personal, kind and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing a list of artists and their songs that brought you inspiration. Oftentimes, our favourite songs accompany our lives and reflect our own feelings and experiences. As a child and teenager I noticed my parents´ love for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and discovered their amazing music myself. Albums from R.E.M., Massive Attack, Pearl Jam, Depeche Mode and more are great parts of my record collection. Of course David Bowie´s "Heroes" is always touching. Your list represents the diversity of music history and for me it´s worth digging deeper into material I didn´t know before. Hope you had a wonderful birthday with your family.
Many Thanks
Bono, I wanted you to know that I really apprerciated your letters. I think i can speak for all of the bands fans in that we all are curious of your thoughts. I personally have been to 56 U2 shows now and you always seem to connect with me personally. I wanted you to know that I appreciate that as well. Kind regards, Bill Gardner
No “The Who?”
Loved listening to your list and helped during this time. Thank you. But can’t believe you had no Who songs. “Helpless Dancer” is timeless. Best wishes, Justin New Jersey USA
Gateway Drug
Bono is a gateway drug. Some of these tunes were unknown to me prior to this list being published. Some really amazing work. And it’s really amazing to get into the feelings Bono has walking around in his shoes. Cheers, PH. Thanks for this gift of experience.
Happy 60th Birthday Bono!
Bono, It's your birthday, yet you give us a gift! There couldn't be a cooler thing than getting to see your favorite musician's favorite song list! How awesome to see! Funny how you love Ray of Light by Madonna as well! And REM, David Bowie...fantastic list! Thank you for sharing this with us! Hope you had the greatest birthday ever! xoxo Jen
The soundtrack of my life
Happy birthday Bono! Hope you had a great day last sunday!! I want to thank you for more than 40 years being the soundtrack to my life. U2 has helped me a lot through good and bad, difficult times. Your music is simply a great cure for a better life. And those 60 songs which saved your life? Don't understand the Beyonce and Lady Gaga things, but the rest is more than great, especially Simple Minds' New Gold dream and Gavin Friday's Angel!!!! Hope you're writing a lot of new inspired music these days so I and a lot others can continue our soundtrack that will save our lives!!!!
Happy 60th Birthday Bono
Happy belated birthday Bono
Happy birthday, many more
Ah man, great playlist. Only quibble I have.. no U2 songs! :-) B well.
Happy Birthday!!
Thank you for these songs, ciao from Milano!!Happy Birthday, I remember you at Forum in 1992 and last time 2018 and you are still the same!!Thanks also for the song that you dedicated to Italy...Stay Safe!!
Happy Birthday Bono!
Dear Bono, I hope your 60th year brings you all that your heart desires. It has been my honor to be your fan and also to be involved in the ONE Campaign since it's inception. We are doing great work!! Someday I'll make it to Dublin as it's on my bucket list! I too will be 60 in August! Many blessings to you and yours!
Happy Birthday! Thanks for the great par
Happy birthday, Bono! I love seeing this playlist - especially timely now! Playlists are saving my life RIGHT NOW, keeping me company on my runs. Love seeing INXS and Simon & Garfunkel on the list along with Echo and the Bunnymen. Some incredible new adds to my playlist and wondering what your next milestone birthday will bring us: Let it Be? Some Blue Oyster Cult - Don’t Fear the Reaper? Veteran of the Physic Wars? And, what about some James Taylor - my favorite surprise background performer - who has some poignant insight through Something in the Way She Moves... U2 has ALWAYS been a staple on my Saved My Life playlist. Thank you for your genius, willingness to collaborate and your fantastic creativity to bring tough issues to the forefront where they belong.
Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd
Van harte met je 60e Bono, congrats on your 60th!! Hope to see U(2) again someday somewhere in the world, thx for the music all these years!!
..Don’t Sneeze...
it was late february when we still lived without today's fear and for my 50th birthday you gave me this unexpected gift at Fiinegans pub .. don't sneeze you told me and I wiped away the tears of joy and burst into a smile..thanks to you who changed my life for the better, my thought, my soul. happy birthday young man with an immense heart !! with immense affection and gratitude Bruno from Florence
Many more you old fart
First heard U2 on an all night college radio station, Oil of Dog, Buffalo NY. "Electric Co." winter 80-81. That song, and a couple of others, are on my top 62...as I reach that age soon. Thank you to Bono and U2. Cheers
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