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'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.

COMMENTS

220
luizao_friedrich
12 May, 2020
Happy Birthday Bono
Hi Bono, wishing you good health, good vibes, peace and inspiration to save our lifes through good lyrics and songs. Thanks for all these years presenting us.
beuchnus
11 May, 2020
Happy birthday to you
Depuis mes 12 ans je suis complètement fan et durant ces 36 années tu m'accompagnes dans les moments de bonheur et aussi de tristesse;tu m'aides à surmonter les difficultés de la vie et me redonner du courage !Le concert Joshua tree à BCN était magique et mes enfants ma sœur mon mari étaient également là et ce moment partagé est un cadeau de la Vie :MERCI Bono et tout le band! Prenez soin de vous et je vais de suite écouter ta playlist 60'songs. Love xxx Claudia
PJDee
11 May, 2020
Happy Day After Your Birthday, Bono
I never comment here, but this playlist is just such a pleasure. It's like sitting in a cozy bar with your very best friend and every song on the jukebox is rife with significance. It's been a while since anyone's made me a mixtape. I couldn't have imagined a better one.
marykathleenschumacher
11 May, 2020
Happy Birthday, Bono!
Wishes for a very Happy 60th Birthday and much health and happiness always! Thank you for all of these years of amazing music! Been a fan since 1985. Love you! Mary Kathleen
May2018
11 May, 2020
may72@ Happy Birthday
Thank to you and U2 for your wonderful music, the incredible and magic concerts and for the beautifull "60 Songs That Saved my life" list. Happy Birthday Bono!!!!
Mette_Vilsund
11 May, 2020
Dear Bono and the rest of the band!
Thank you very much for being a huge part of my life for almost 40 years. U2 have been there for me in good times and in bad times. There is always a song that fits the moment.
jorgefilipe
11 May, 2020
Lovely!
Dearest Bono, when I think you can't surprise me anymore, you do something like that. So humble, touching, down to Earth. Each emotion these songs provoke you all those decades, we steel feel it through your songs. I'm a big fan and follower of so many bands - The Beatles, Oasis, Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N'Roses... there are many great tunes that make me feel good. But I can assure you that U2 songs go beyond and beyond, no words to describe how your hymns saved me from many things. A few artists, geniuses who transcend their own art, not always take the real credit for their accomplishments. Some are misunderstood, loved for the wrong motives and hated for unknown reasons. But all I wish today is that you know how special you are to millions of hearts around the globe. Thanks for being my hero since my teenage years. With much love and respect, Jorge Takeda (Anápolis, Brazil)
brigitte2018
11 May, 2020
Brigitte from Paris.
Happy birthday to you Bono. Thank you for "60 Songs That Saved My Life". It is wonderful. Kisses. Best regards. Brigitte from Paris.
tingall
11 May, 2020
Happy Birthday, Bono!
Thanks for giving us all a gift on your birthday. U2 has been a prominent part of my life for 40+ years and I honestly don't know where I would be without the inspiration from your songs, as well as all everything that the band stands for. I've made your playlist a permanent part of my Apple Music library as a reminder of what's good in the world.
Beaker
11 May, 2020
Dear Bono
Many thanks for a lot years with your band U2. You have been a loyal companion with the music in my life for many years. I've been there from the start and I've also been there very often in the front. I enjoyed every concert, even if it was not as easy for me at the age of 59 in the past few years as it was 25 years ago or longer. I'm also celebrating my 60th birthday this year and I'm glad that we have a very close connection through the music and year of our birth. Long live the music. All the best, good luck and health! A loyal fan from Bavaria wolfgang
plg66
11 May, 2020
Happy 60th birthday Bono!
« We’re a band from the north side of Dublin We’re called the U2, this is our first single, we hope you like it »... And the rest is history. May 10 is the birthday of two of my greatest idols, my dad and yourself! Thank you for your music and for being such a great artist and above all, a great human being! I’ll be 54 on May 16 and U2 have been an important part of my life for the last 40 years.
shazmiller
11 May, 2020
Birthday Wishes
A very happy birthday to you Bono. Your music has been very much a part of our lives and our children’s lives for a long time. Keep doing what you do. Sharon Xx
eudi
11 May, 2020
I see the light....Yesterday.....Today..
From Italy..... I'm out of the hospital ....I survive to Covid 19 ...loving for U2....from the first album.... I survive this long life thanks to you. Thanks Bono . 60 TIMES THANKS . Thanks U2. Thanks To your songs ...your music....your light. Don't turn around, and don't look back Come on now love, don't you look back! xxx.
paddywoods
11 May, 2020
Friend
Happy Birthday Bono.And thank you and the Band for your music.
brigitte2018
11 May, 2020
Brigitte from Paris.
Happy birthday to you Bono. Thank you for "60 Songs That Saved my life". It is wonderful. Kisses. Best regards. Brigitte from Paris.
sistersandu2
11 May, 2020
Happy Birthday Bono
What a Party! Love the Riot Sisters form Australia!
sylvaintournier
11 May, 2020
Happy birthday
Happy birthday Bono! Thanks for being, in a way, part of our family for so long! Love from France
sistersandu2
11 May, 2020
Happy Birthday Bono
What a Riot!! Lots of love the sisters from Australia.
Amancay
10 May, 2020
Feliz Cumpleaños BONO!!
I am an argentinian fan who spent most or my time listening you, learning from you. I dont know if you really read these comments, from fans from all over the world who love your songs and voice. Also we were very inspired for many of U2 songs that helped us and still do it in our life . As I always say U2 is not a simple band,It is my life. One oh my first memory is related with your voice. Pride, is one of my first memory. If there is a chance that you read this silly comment about your birthday, I hoped you are very well, and I hope you can still making music. stay safe, Amancay
Naama33
10 May, 2020
Love you so much, happy bithday
Great list of songs, thank you for being part of my life, you saved me.
alx69me
10 May, 2020
Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Bono! Happy Mother's day! From LA to Dublin, wish you the best, always! Thank you for all that you have done, do and given. And for providing me with an amazing soundtrack in my life with U2! Alex, city of Angels!
montica
10 May, 2020
Happy Birthday Bono!
Happy Birthday Bono. Thank you for sharing your list/letters of songs that have saved your life. You’re (U2) music has always given me hope and courage, when I felt there was none. I’m grateful for you gents being in this world!☺️ Thank you! -Monica L PS: Today is also my daughter’s 12th birthday. She’s excited she shares it with you.
elyrodriguez
10 May, 2020
Happy Birthday!!
Dear Bono: Happy Birthday and thanks for all the hapiness your music give us, Your Songs have been part Of our life. Wishing you all the best
rkennedy
10 May, 2020
Happy 60th to you!
Happy 60th Birthday Bono! Many great years of amazing, life changing, exceptional experiences shared while watching U2 thrill the world with heartfelt words and tunes that ring in our ears forever! Here's to 60 more!
Saraina11
10 May, 2020
Happy Birthday Dear Bono
Thank you for you willingness to be vulnerable and to give your whole heart in the expression of your high energy lyrics- in my humble opinion, no one does it better! Warm Wishes for a Wonderful Upcoming Year!
Rachel R
10 May, 2020
Rachel
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?!!
dssmansv
10 May, 2020
Happy Birthday Bono!
Thank you for so many great memories over the years and giving so much to humanity.
Rachel R
10 May, 2020
Happy birthday Bono!!!
To the Love of My Life HAPPY 60th BIRTHDAY BONO
jean_paulDUBH
10 May, 2020
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
Jeannieco
10 May, 2020
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.
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