Your Fan, Bono

To mark his birthday at the weekend, Bono has curated a playlist of '60 Songs That Saved My Life' and through this week is writing letters to thank their creators.

Six more 'fan letters' are being shared today - to The Beatles, Patti Smith, Kanye West, Ramones, REM and Jay Z & Alicia. 

Here's some highlights.

Writing to The Beatles about I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Bono recalls, 'It was the spring of 1964… the song on the radio felt like life force… like I was for the first time conscious that I was alive and that being alive was a really, really great idea!'

Remembering being in the Saturday Night Live studio in 2013, when Kanye West debuted Black Skinhead, he writes, 'It felt like hip hop wanted the black leather jacket back from rock 'n' roll… and the rock 'n' roll silhouette too….'

Swallow My Pride, he writes to Ramones, was 'the sound of liberation through humiliation… these songs are so simple I'm thinking maybe I can not only play them, maybe I can write them… so they became my liberation too.'

Writing to Patti Smith ('Your fan from forever, for forever') he recalls how People Have The Power has been played at so many U2 shows. 'It reminds us that the real action of the show lies in the hearts and minds of the people who attend it and it's not the apparatus, however thoughtfully contrived and constructed. The lights, camera, action is the way we draw nearer, but the intimacy is always about meeting people where they are…'

Listening to Nightswimming reminds Bono of how much he misses REM: 'After y'all broke up, I was kind of happy that you'd made peace with the world of expectation and ended on such a high tremulous note. Recently, I'm not so happy. I ache for the ache at the heart of your band. I long with the longing that is the mind of R.E.M. The wanderlust. The returning. And that baritone…. God help us all. That baritone might just fix the brokenness we all feel right now….'

As for Empire State of Mind, Bono's tells  JAY-Z and Alicia Keys that only they 'would take on Sinatra, to write a better theme song for this great city…. Forget the Empire State Building, the braggadocio, the front, the attitude, the persona required to pull this off is as tall and defiant as the Freedom Tower.'

Read the latest letters in full in our gallery above - and find all the letters published to date here.

Read '60 Songs That Saved My Life'.


16 May, 2020
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BONO ! Have a Beautiful Year !!...and MORE !!! Wow, what a good idea this "60 songs that save my life"... many of them i could say the same about : like David Bowie "Heroes", New Radicals "You Get What You Give"... and mostly i have a special crush on Frank Sinatra and You Bono in "Under My Skin" (Your voice here !!!....) and also on Sinéad O'connor "You Made Me Thief Of Your Heart" ...All of them made of Pure Emotion and Generosity... You see, it is not a surprise to me if U2 as well has been giving us, your fans, so much EMOTION along the way, your way, our way : YOU SAVED OUR LIFE 2 !!!! with YOUR SONGS and YOUR SOUL !!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BONO ! TAKE CARE ALWAYS !!!!
14 May, 2020
Letters of gratitude and inspiration
These letters are true poetry and Bono´s words express so much thankfulness and joy. Speaking about essential things like early experiences, liberation and longing he fills his intimate reflections with sincere admiration for those songs and their creators. I love the eloquence and humility in Bono´s writing. Looking forward to reading more letters!
14 May, 2020
Evidence that stories connect us
Such a great letter to Kanye. An example of how experiences, fear, terror can be shared through music and that it can help us heal and try to process it. These are such beautiful letters Bono! It's such a thrill as a fan to able to hear the stories about the songs that meant so much to you. It feels like you can feel the moment you heard The Beatles and the energy that seemed to come out of the sky and connected with you and made you feel alive. The longing for the voice of Mike Stipe and REM (which we could so use right now! I miss them too.) I can imagine the recipients of these letters and what it will mean to them when they read them. Thanks for sharing these. xx Jen
14 May, 2020
Evidence that stories connect us
Such a great letter to Kanye. An example of how experiences, fear, terror can be shared through music and that it can help us heal and try to process it.
14 May, 2020
Happy birthday B man
What a fantastic present for as! An intimistic journey trought your music. Thank you poet. ❤ Francesca
13 May, 2020
An absolute beautiful letter to REM
These letters are beautiful.
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To mark his birthday, a special playlist from Bono... and words of gratitude.

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