What is it about... Moment of Surrender?

5 Oct 201249
Once any artist has written and recorded a song, it's no longer theirs to keep.

They release it, set it free, turn it over to the audience. Some songs are quietly forgotten; others enter your head, and your heart, and refuse to leave quietly.

But what is it about these songs, exactly?

We asked you to tell us your own stories about an unforgettable U2 song - one that stopped you in your tracks, or is forever associated with a particular moment in your life.

We were inundated with responses. You wrote to us about dozens of tracks but some songs just kept coming back, again and again.

So we've used some of your stories along with some other background, to come up with five clues to the question: 'What IS it about that song?'



1. It's an epiphany. On No Line on the Horizon, Bono stopped writing in the 'first person' and was singing from the perspective of different characters. The hero of 'Moment' is an addict, who has a crisis of faith, and an epiphany. 'When I had one drink, I couldn't stop,' writes Frenchwoman2. 'So I quit drinking all together. At the one-year mark I got myself a commemorative bracelet that I had engraved with the Moment of Surrender lyric: 'Vision over Visibility'.' The song's title itself is the term used in Alcoholics Anonymous for when an addict admits their helplessness. 'It's when you know that you can't control anything or anyone,' says Frenchwoman2, 'so you surrender that control. Sometimes you can't see where you're going; but remember the destination, and you'll get there with faith.' Amen.

2. It was the most magical studio experience ever.  At least, it was for Brian Eno. Recording Moment of Surrender is when he and Daniel Lanois thought the band were closest to realising their original concept for the album - to write 'future hymns'.  As Eno explained at the time to U2.com,  'It was 'the most magical  experience I've ever had in a studio.'

3. It's a great idea for a tattoo. 'My husband has the 360-tour logo tattooed on his back, with the words 'Moment of Surrender',' writes ceesje. 'He's always thinking of his dead mother and father when Bono sings that song.' In the meantime, ceesje admits to having a Stuck in a Moment tattoo, herself. His and hers tattoos, U2 style...

4. The critics loved it.  Rolling Stone magazine crowned 'Moment of Surrender' the 'Best Song of 2009'. A year later, it made the magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of All Time': 'The most devastating U2 ballad since 'One' sets lush, gospel-tinged music - much of it improvised live in the studio - against dark subject matter: It's about a junkie riding the subway.'

5. You can fall in love to it. 'This track reminds me of a very, very special moment that took place during the 360 tour in Mexico City,' writes AleMorando. 'I went to that concert with my best friend Juan José... Bono started to sing 'Moment of Surrender',' she continues, 'and in a magic moment, all of a sudden we held each other in a big hug, surrounded by the lights of the cellphones like a million stars.'
And ..?
'And that's when I fell in love with Juan José,' she declares. 'Thanks, U2.'
No, thank you, AleMorando.

So what is it about Moment of Surrender for you? Add your own stories, ideas and comments below.
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i+e tour
For them not to play it on the I+E tour was like Led Zeppelin not playing "Stairway to Heaven." This song is so profound and means so many things to different people. The sing-along by the audience gave me shivers on the 360 tour.
My Moment of Surrender
Life was passing by and I was going unnoticed by the one I loved. I was not noticing my life passing by. My moment of surrender brought me to my knees and gave me the courage to let go of someone I loved for over 15 years. Letting go was hard but it turn out to be the healthiest thing for me, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Moment of Surrender makes my heart beat fast but it's a reminder of what was and what is now. Bono has a particular way of singing these songs and they stick to me. U2's music is such a big part of my life, not a day goes by without my dose of U2! Thanks!!! Jorge
I was speeding on the subway
I was there at Qwest field.....The whole thing was just amazing. i only pulled out my phone a few times to get a few pictures. But when Moment started to play...I recorded the whole song. Then a month later I was in Chicago. I didn't record it....I stood there as it ripped my heart out and made me feel my soul....I love this band and everything they do.
Moment Of Surrender
June 4,2011. I have been waiting for this day for over two years. As we finally enter Qwest Field Stadium. I'm freaking out. Though i have only been listening to U2 for 2 and a half years, I've listened to it all. Lenny Kravitz plays and i half a blast. then i hear space oddity start playing by David bowie as it always does before they take the stage. I look up at the screen on the claw and the people i have been worshipping for almost three years are on the screen walking toward the stage. I bawled. my idol is walking towards the stage where he will sing songs that describe every moment in my life I've fallen every moment where i felt pain and sadness, every moment i have felt happiness or despair. I didn't move the whole concert other then to find Bono. Moment of surrender was the last song U2 played in Seattle. it had always been a song that stuck with i have never had strong faith and moment of surrender was how I'd felt on some of my darkest days," I did not notice the passersby and they did not notice me." I felt like i was just passing through life. U2 has helped me find faith and happiness in my everyday life by songs just like the Moment of surrender.
larry birthday the man of u2 born
happy birthday larry i hope have a beautifull day...you are the man and boy of u2 band..we love so much and never give up the u2 fans need you u2..love u2 from portugal 51 years larry born on 30 october 1961
Happy Birthday Larry !
Beer keeps the blood pressure down . lol
Why did U2 didn't release this as a Sing
I brought the CD and I let it play on my Friend's CD Player while driving off to town. I can see how emotional and tears coming out to his EYES while playing Moment of Surrender, I didn't ask why then after Unknown Caller. he said that was the amazing song he ever heard and it shots down to his deepest emotion! so why in God's name that they release Boots than this one?! why?! why?!
A connection to U-Fire
I once read or heard Brian Eno state that in many of the songs on the Unforgettable Fire, the lyrics were not nearly as important as was the manner/nature in which Bono was signing them and pouring his soul into the melody. With this song, i feel that if you avoid the lyrics alltogether mentally and focus only on how he is singing melodically, that you should feel moved beyond responce. The really cool thing is that if you so the polar opposite and focus only on the lyrics (or even read them) you can have the same epiphany. Now put both together (the nature of how he is singing and the lyrics) and you a most profound image of self discovery, purpose, mission in life, and freedom from bondage. This is what makes this song stand out over so many others. Wear your scars like medals. That is what this song tells me. Patrick
Moment of Surrender...
The first time I've heard the song was after purchasing NLOTH in Dublin. I'm from Canada and was on a trip to Ireland and was happy that the album was on sale there before everywhere else in the world. So, I happily got the album and put the disk in the rental car player. There was nothing like the feeling of being there and listening to U2's new album. I've been a longtime U2 fan and as much as I've loved them a lot during these 25+ years, I almost never like a new album when I play it for the first time, it has to grown on you. Well, I have to say the 1st time Moment of Surrender played, that day, in that car, I felt something special. We were in Ireland for 8 days and the album, and mostly that song, played non-stop...my poor 3 kids sitting at the back couldn't take it anymore! There was a feeling I cannot describe of driving in Connemara, with snow and listening to that song. The next time I felt something special about Moment of Surrender was the 1st Montreal show; after a very hot and humid day, as Bono was singing the last few words of the song, we had the coldest pouring rain I've never seen. The flood! A U2 show is a spiritual experience and this added to it. Lastly...Moncton show...last show of 360...well, I'm from Montreal so I didn't feel the Moncton crowd was as good and passionate as the Montreal crowd but I'll certainly remember and appreciate the last time Bono's sang it live.
Oh God do not deny her...
I can´t stop thinking about this sentence. That's it
saving my vision...giving visiblity
My name is Francis Bede. i am a Fransiscan monk from Pittsburgh, PA. I will never forget when I heard this song for the first time. It saved my life. It broke every bond of addiction that I had. I felt chains broke the moment I heard those lyrics. What heavy yokes that were broke unsunder. I was like Brennan Manning. A monk that was so lost. I would say that no line on the horizon saved my faith and my life. I had just lost my teacher who had taught me my entire life and when he passed, I felt so exposed to darkness and this cold world. I prayed the instrument of peace prayer with every atom of my being. I had listened to U2 for 22 years by the time this album came out. Every U2 album had carried me through, but I thought nothing could save me at this point. I had rented a little shanty in the woods and was just going to be a hermit of prayer the rest of my life. I waited for this album and my brother and I went to the record store and he gave me a ten and said this is on me, you have been waiting for this for a long time. I bought it and drove home, just listened to horizon on the trip into the mountains and couldnt believe when i heard that chorus no line, wow....then i got home, got my discman and went into my bathroom and looked into the mirror so i can see my face react...magnificent played and I cried so hard...how can these four brilliant lights from dublin create everything I was feeling at the moment and lift me up and mark me and perfect me in a love that I cannot even fathom...I was crying...i was so ignited...i listened to magnificent for like two hours...crying...then I thought I better hear the next track, if im gonna get through this album...i heard this haunting organ...i fell to my knees when that drum and base line came in....and when bonos vocals came in and i will never forget when i heard that voice...that pain...that moment...i fell to my knees...i tied myself with wire...to let the horses run free....playing with the fire....i played that opening moment over and over again...my darkest of nights got light and this Fransiscan monk was ignited with faith once again...the stone was semi precious...we were barely....i just held my fransiscan ring...the vows...the only thing I had left in the world to hold onto....i cant even describe the tears of joy and cleasning and freeedom and liberty i felt at that moment....two souls to smart to be...in the realm of certainty....those lines shaped my wife and I together...we went to high school together but bumped into each other one night and we were both at a dark place with no hope and direction and just became two souls that became best friends..two different worlds...then I heard this line that saved my life...had I not heard this line...i dont want to know what my life would have become or where I would be now....its not if I believe in love but if love still believes in me...its the greatest moement in recording,.....I believe its the ultimate smile of God....he smiled at that moment...he was so pleased with the sound..the vibtration..the pitch..the frequency of that moment...its the moment of surrender He desires all man to have and does not interfere with our free will so no matter what happens in our life..we can come to that ultimate of moment of surrender....the world has no idea how bueatiful that moment of recording is...what a thought that is....there would be no violence on this earth if all mankind could come to that moment...to this ultimate epiphany of grace....i did not believe God loved me anymore..for some reason I couldnt feel it anymore....kind of what francis of assisi and mother threresa experinced late in their lives...at that moment i believed in agape love again..in love...i cried all night long...it was the greatest moment in my life...i thank everyone who made that moment posssible...should i continue because the song is so good...i just am now a begging bowl..i pray and fast everyday that all mankind feels love....to shine in in the black hole...in the darkest regions of the world...when I heard edges solo with adams bass...my eard drum buzzed and my heart lept out of my soul...if i ever have children..im going to play this song and i want to feel by baby leap for joy in the womb as John the Baptist did...this song is truly a voice crying out of the wilderness...this song has changed the world...as this album...i was speeding through the subway through the stations of the cross....how genious...this song is so brilliant...i thank you all...ill keep moment of surrender forever in my heart...i listen to it everyday of my life and surrender and remember how it saved my life...my wifes life....saved her from alchoism and mental affliction and suicide and we were brought together...we still are two souls with no realm of anything certain...my wedding ring was 11 dollars and hers was 100...she said she thought she lost me and she listened to this song before going to end her life and she played it over and over again...ill never forget when I heard it live in chicago opening night for the first time...i had no idea a song recorded so well could be a hundred times better live...but U2 has always had the gift...i couldnt believe what I was hearing at soldier field and said the best moement of the concert was the last song...and same in boston,...in nyc....dc...then pittsburgh...thank you...im married and looking to build a chapel in hershey pa where the zoo tv outside was rehearsed...i pray as a begging bowl ten hours a day...all thanks to a moment of surrender
never says goodby
moment of surrender its a beautifull song when the play that song i know the show its of..its so sad...remember when the band play 40...i love u2 for ever its my life...love u2 from portugal the u2 fans fell the same u2 never says goodby
It took too long..
I took a long time to fall in love with taht song. It just happened when I watched the 360º live in Brazil. The chords penetrated to my mind and the verses " i did not notice the passers by and they did not notice me" made so much sense! XD
Free Spirit
Finding Unconditional Love for Your Own True Nature leads to Surrendering the Chains that Bind your Soul which Produces a Free Spirit....Purity aka Fall to The Knees Ecstasy Surrender.... The Rhythmic Blend of Sounds plays the Spine like a U2 Xylaphone.... : ).
Release from control
This song had a profound effect on different stages in my life this year, however, the release from control portion was the one that gave me peace. The release from control was something I needed to hear as I was trying to control a situation that was not working out to my liking, and in the process caused myself a lot of heartache. The release from control gave me peace. It is now in bigger hands. The moment of surrendering it all is bigger than whatever you're holding on to.
Moment of Surrender
I think after "POP" U2 has been so lost........... I think U2 needs me to produce their next Album =) ja¡ And get back the REAL U2¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ U2 just to reinvented themselves,, not Anymore... just the same sound and song and feeling and atmosphere ,,,again and again.... =( sad "BUT" I still have some hope that U2 will come Back someday,,,, and not became like "The rolling stones" ,,, come on¡¡ come on¡¡¡ U2 ... show us what you're made of ,,, again PLEASE¡¡¡¡
Moment of Surrender
This is a very good song on the record and live. This is one of U2's underrated songs. I love it!
the and ...............
The end ........ This song comes at a particular moment of my life .... I was trying to win back the love of my life .... I was drugged like the character of the song ..... walking on the street without noticing the other .... I isolavo from my world, from my friends and my family .... I was in deep dark black carved by myself and no way out ... that was where I wanted to be .... After all this time go up again .... and this wonderful song makes you understand when it is time to let go and change the page ...... was time to settle ..... My surrender to let go of something that I wanted for the next life .....
The and.......
This song comes at a particular moment of my life .... I was trying to win back the love of my life .... I was drugged like the character of the song ..... walking on the street without noticing the other .... I isolavo from my world, from my friends and my family .... I was in deep dark black carved by myself and no way out ... that was where I wanted to be .... After all this time go up again .... and this wonderful song makes you understand when it is time to let go and change the page ...... was time to settle ..... My surrender to let go of something that I wanted for the next life .....
They did not notice me...
Well, to be honest I do like the lyrics of "I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine, I could see in the reflection a face staring back at me." What is that,well the type of society we live in, we're capitalists and we need to satisfy our basic necessities--and obviously U2's necessities, hahaha --with money, totally agree. And the other part of "I did not notice the passers-by and they did not notice me" it's cruel but true; this is the perfect example of our society has become like, we do not care about others, only us, especially when you live in a third world country, things happen, nobody does anything. "They did not notice me" is also for all those poor stray dogs on the streets, waiting for a friendly hand to help them, that is touchy, that is life...
Themes of recovery
Over the last 6 years I've been in recovery for addiction. I can track almost my whole recovery through the songs of U2. They put words and melodies on a canvas of music to create pictures of my life and I"m sure the lives of so many others. Different songs were different pictures of where I was at throughout the process. These songs helped make visible what I couldn't see or say about where I was in my recovery. I felt completely lost at times as my healing began. Unbelievable how a song can transport you to a place. Grief, despair, brokenness, hurt, shame, blame, all of it was part of the process for me. As this last album came out, this song as well as Unknown Caller really put it all together for me. I loved how this song ended the last tour on most every night. Saw it in Chicago and St. Louis. Blown away by their music and am grateful for their contribution to my recovery.
Repentance, Sweet Repentance
Moment of Surrender is a Gift, to me. It reminds me of the precious gift of repentance and reminds me to repent. I LOVE the cleansing and healing power of both gifts. :) A purrrrrrrrrrrrfect song!!!
You are my inspiration
Moment of surrender… It is an emotional poem, it is U2. It is impossible to describe all emotions that this song reveals at the end of every concert. You are so eternal and I would like to thank you for all beautiful moments of my life. Natasa
''It's not if I believe in love...
but if love believes in me.'' my favourite phrase. This song is great because it's so real, so sentimentally deep! It makes me feel supported and I thank U2 very much for helping me.
MOS in one word - contentment
I cant help but have a feeling of contentment when I listen to this song, especially if it is playing while I am watching my kids play (even more so when my four year old daughter dances to it). Despite of the troubles in my past, this song also helps me realise my victory over adversity.
The Best U2 Song from NLOTH
It was the first song, when i heard the album for the first time, that thrill me. Great music, great lyrics, great atmosphere.
Vision Over Visibility
I was turning "40" (yes, there is some irony there), and my wife hired a tattoo artist to come to my house to give me my second tattoo on my left wrist. I had no idea what to put there, but after reflecting on it a bit I chose the phrase "Vision Over Visibility written inside the equal sign that appears on the NLOTH cover. Vision is in the top half of the equal sign and Visibility is in the bottom. I get asked about it often, and it reminds me always to believe in myself and the path that I'm paving for myself, regardless of the unknowns in life that lie ahead and create bumps in the road. I put on an acoustic U2 tribute show every year, and I did Moment of Surrender for the first time alongside ANOTHER Bono-scribed song from Spiderman containing the phrase "Vision Over Visibility" called "Rise Above". I sang both songs with a female friend of mine who did all of the harmonies and the call/response part in the Spiderman tune. This is just such a special song and I found out after getting my V over V tattoo that Bono himself said in a Rolling Stone interview (and I loosely quote). "I'm not the tattooing kind, but if I did I'd use the lyric Vision Over Visibility" that was inspired initially by Martin Luther King. Anyhow, that's my story. Hope you enjoyed it.
Heart on your sleeve
Moment of surrender is one songs that could translate into anything, depending on the person. It's also one of those songs which Bono, lyrically, is famous for - wearing his heart on his sleeve. I also loved the rap he later added in the end. Loads of thought-provoking words right there. He illustrates that gift in this song very well. For me, it grabbed me because to me it could represent one of those moments in your life where you were faced with something which was bringing you down, then one day you wake up. It's that moment you are really able to let go and just enjoy the journey of life. For those who have traveled that journey, and chose to make their own path in their life you know what I mean. It's the arbitrary moment that you stop dead in your tracks and have an epiphany or clear vision. That moment of surrender.
To be released from control
Through its meditative sound this song deeply touches my soul, creating a spiritual dimension, letting me concentrate on the essence of life in hectic times. It is all about love, grace and yearning. The line "I´ve been in every black hole" might refer to periods of darkness and crises we all have to go through and overcome. For me the "moment of surrender" symbolizes the abandonment of the ego, the moment that allows us to find a true connection to the heart.
a thrill in my spine....
...just from first hearing. This song hit me when I played NLOTH first time. I always hear new records without reading lyrics (I'm from Italy and even I'm comfrotable with English, it's difficult to catch evry word in a song) and then go back to better understand what the song says. MOS was my first favourite immediately and I was sad hearing it as the last song at my U2 concerts in Milan and Rome, because I knew that the magic of the night was all gone....
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