One U2 Song
Last month we asked our subscribers to tell us about 'one U2 song that will always be connected to something special that happened in your life.'
Thanks to the folk at An Post, the Postal Service in Ireland, we had ten sets of the U2 commemorative stamp collections to give away. The request touched a chord.
So many moving, funny, poignant and downright surreal stories that will always be associated with one particular song by this one particular band.
More than four hundred entries so far, and many of them a short story in their own right.
We read through them all and it was tough to pick out 10, but here they are - reflecting the four eras connected to the An Post collection: Songs of Experience' (2017), 'All That You Can't Leave Behind, 'Achtung Baby' (1991) and 'The Joshua Tree' (1987).
Those stamp collections now on the way to each of these contributors. Thanks to everyone who entered.
'Songs of Experience' (2017)
Matt_u2. 'Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way'
I know it has to be coincidence but somehow U2 always seems to put out an album that contains a song I need to hear at the exact moment I need to hear it. It's never been more true than when I first heard "Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way". My oldest son had just turned 18. We'd started butting heads as fathers and sons often do, mainly because he was making some of the same choices I made at his age, I knew where those choices can lead and as anyone with an 18 year old knows, they know everything. "The door is open to go through, if I could I would come too..." What parent hasn't had that wish? To see your child stumble but having to let them make their own mistakes because as the song also says, "the path is made by you...". Just a great song and one that this Dad really needed to hear when it came time for the hardest moment in a parent's life. When you realize you can't solve all their problems for them anymore.
kerber, 'The Blackout'
We were well into a year of having Trump as president when this song came out. I couldn't take it, watching the erosion of leadership across our country, both at national and local level. Young students I taught getting more racially divisive with one another, because that was normalized by "big mouth". Before that we had it all, social progress, a building movement towards equality and opportunity for all. Then the lights went out. This song came around at a perfect time when many of us needed hope in the ever-growing darkness. U2, once again, motivates us to never doubt the light that we can really be. I latched onto The Blackout as my inspirational rebel song of the times, to keep doing the good, even though the world around me seemed to be going the other way. Recently, good does appears to prevail, even though the last few years seemed pretty damn dark. The Blackout will always remind me of the intensely, personally experienced struggle between destruction and renewal of the promise of a nation.
'All That You Can't Leave Behind' (2000).
The song Kite will always be connected between myself and my son. He was born right after 9/11 not quite a year after All That You Can't Leave Behind was released. In fact we saw U2 in concert in May of 2001 when my wife was five months pregnant with my son. I still believe the connection to the song started at that concert. After he was born I often had to pick up/drop off my son at day care as my wife traveled with her job. We listened to Kite often on this drop off's and I always recall thinking I don't want to say good bye today but I have to go to work and my son needs to begin growing up. This album was huge part of our listening during his early stages of growth. Flash forward to August of 2020 and it was time to say good bye again as he went off to college. This song came back full circle in importance as it was time to usher him off into adulthood on the next part of his journey. I didn't want to say good bye but yet knew it was time. The lyrics "I want you to know that you don't need me anymore" are a reflection of me saying he is grown up and time to go find life and figure things out on his own. In addition the lyrics "Who's to say where the wind will take you Who's to say what it is will break you" indicate who knows what life will bring but you have to get into the arena and enjoy life, both the ups and the downs, and it's going to be one heck of a ride. This song will always connect me with my son in our journey bringing a bit of sadness but also great joy.
petew, 'Peace on Earth'
I was teaching ninth graders and we were reading "Lord of the Flies." We arrived at the part where all hell is breaking loose on the island—friendships torn apart, violence. I played "Peace on Earth," and we talked about Ralph crying out for help, lament and prayer, and Simon's faithful, encouraging words to him when things were bad. Later during his senior year, one of my students told me it really stuck with him.
ATYCLB came into the world, and my world, at a special time as it was when my first daughter came into the world. My search for spiritual meaning, simplicity and timelessness in naming my beautiful, precious first born child was met with inspiration in the form of that spiritually meaningful, simple and timeless final album track. "Grace, it's a name for a girl, it's also a thought that changed the world." Indeed.
'Achtung Baby' (1991)
soey, 'Mysterious Ways'
Aged 14 and kind of lost in where I was, where to go and if it was time to stay a child or grow up - there was this moment of zapping through music-channels on tv - those days of magical 4 different music-channels - I got caught by a video with a sound and voice I never heard before, of brighter colours and different effects than those I knew. All I remembered afterwards was the bands name: U2. At the music store I got the latest CD with the most songs on it: Achtung Baby. I was so sure - don't know why - that song I saw must have been One, only to learn it was Mysterious Ways. That changed everything, I felt found. Found by a song, a band, a whole world, though then I didn't know that after 25 years I'm still in this moment. Whenever I hear this song or see a picture of the video I remember the very moment our path met. Thank you so much!!
mojo3600, 'The Fly'
I was in my late 20's when I went to my first (of many) ZooTV shows, this one in Toronto. Just as they launch into The Fly, the video screen reads 'EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG'. What a statement! It hit me like a ton of bricks! I thought, 'What if that's true? What did I think was true 10 years ago, that I no longer think is true today? What do I think is true today, that I won't think is true 10 years from now?' It made me realize that I had to make an effort to have more people in my social network who didn't think just like me. People who would challenge my thoughts, views and perceptions on many subjects. People from different races, economics classes, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religious beliefs,etc. It changed how I thought and who was in my life. It literally changed how I was living my life; and made me question the things I always believed to be true. I look today at things like The Flat Earth Society, Anti Vaxxers, [Puking, Crook-pated Bugbear] Supporters, many conspiracy theorists, etc and how 'EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG' can be so appropriate a phrase still.
'The Joshua Tree' (1987)
Robmax, 'Bullet the Blue Sky'
I was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador and grew up during the 12 year Civil War. Bullet the Blue Sky immediately takes me back to those days...I have been living abroad now for almost a decade, so the song has become even more meaningful through the years... The band has always cared about injustice, inequality and what is going on around the world and has strived to do something about it...this is music with a purpose...band with a mission.
Dun, 'Where The Streets Have No Name'
Now I was 10 years old in Moscow in 1988, and Perestroika had been rattling the country for about 3 years by then. One of the effects was opening up (a bit) to the Western culture, so the soviet TV started showing some videos from MTV, but it was still highly curated for the soviet public. So I was watching this show (on a black and white tv), which was kind of "top something songs in the West right now", but with commentary from a communist presenter. And he went something like "now this next song is from an Irish band called Ooh Dva (sort of blunt Germanic transcription turned translation of the bands name), which tells us a story of their home country being ravaged by civil war and British imperialist oppression to the extent that people have even forgotten the names of the streets they live, or rather survive in". And the famous video from the rooftop of the supermarket got on. I was watching it in awe, but then went: "hang on a minute - I've heard this somewhere..." Now a year before that our family came back from India where my father was working as a journalist for a few years. That obviously gave him direct access to the rock'n'roll treasures which were not available, or even prohibited in the USSR... Including the best record of 1987. Being 10 years old I obviously knew where his secret stash of records was. So I dug into that wardrobe, got out the box and found the cassette with the black and white cover photo. Put it on straight away - and there it was - the opening track! The first piece of music, the first band that I personally got interested in, and my favorite band and record ever since!
tch269, 'Where The Streets Have No Name'
It's the song that started my musical journey. In 1988 I worked at a movie theatre and often took breaks in the back row to sample what was playing. On November 4th, first matinee, I went into Rattle and Hum to see what this U2 band was about. It was very dark as the screen was all black with just the words SUN DEVIL STADIUM Tempe, Arizona. The music swelled, the silhouettes of band members appeared against the red, and the song blasted into me. My heart started to skip along to the drums. My chest was pounded by the bass. The jangling crystal sounds of the guitar and plaintive wail of the vocals lifted me up and flipped a switch in my brain. I had enjoyed music before that moment, after, I understood how people could be so passionate about it. I saw the whole show that evening and fell in love with four lads from Ireland. I made a few lifelong friends over that movie and our shared love of music. Every time I see a U2 concert and Streets starts to swell, I feel the joy of discovering the love of music all over again.