Song of the Day #4,941: ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ – U2

My first real exposure to U2 came with their 1987 smash The Joshua Tree. That’s an album I knew by heart start to finish, and from then on I made a point to own everything they released.

That amounted to just nine albums over the next 34 years. The most recent three are all pretty forgettable, but the six released between 1988 and 2004 are genre-defining (and sometimes genre-defying) works of art.

Despite that solid U2 fandom, I never sought out the band’s first four albums, all multi-Platinum successes. I’m not sure why I passed on those early 80s releases, but I did.

That includes the predecessor to The Joshua Tree, 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire. I’m quite familiar with lead-off single ‘Pride (In the Name of Love),’ a classic anthem inspired by the Civil Rights movement and the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. And I know singles ‘The Unforgettable Fire’ and ‘Bad’ well enough, along with lead-off track ‘A Sort of Homecoming.’

The rest of the album has a similar sound and feel. This is one of those records where the singles don’t stand out as wholly different from the rest. The Edge’s distinctive guitar and Bono’s yearning vocals bring the same sense of passion and urgency to every track.

Hearing The Unforgettable Fire all the way through has me eager to check out the other three early albums — Boy, October, and War — to see what treasures they contain.

[Verse 1]
One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love?
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?

[Verse 2]
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed up on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss

In the name of love
What more in the name of love?
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?

Nothing like love
There’s nothing like love
Nobody like you
There’s nobody like you
[Harmonizing Break]

[Verse 3]
Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name of love?
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?

In the name of love
What more in the name of love?
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?

7 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,941: ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ – U2

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    U2 had a cult-like following by a certain group of musical elitist students in my high school. That same group also loved The Police, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. Perhaps because I was the outsider nerd listening to Billy Joel, I reflexively rejected each of those bands to a greater or lesser extent.

    By college, I had softened on these bands, though Bono and U2 continued to annoy me. I eventually came to appreciate some of U2’s music, but the stigma from high school was and remains tough to overcome.

  2. Reb says:

    Getting into the way-back machine here…the setting is a dingy pub on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. in 1983. I’m there with a group of people (can’t even tell you why or, with the exception of one of them, who). A song comes out of the speaker and I say…”Anyone wanna dance”? A woman says “Sure”….and that was my first dance with my future (and present) wife. The song? “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”.

  3. willedare says:

    This album was my introduction to U2. Thanks for this video of a great song. (And it’s sweet to see when The Edge still had hair…)

  4. Peg says:

    I love their sound. Also love Billy Joel 😊

  5. Russ Paris says:

    War (1983) remains my favorite U2 album with The Joshua Tree (1987) a close second.

  6. Amy says:

    U2 marks the first band I recall my baby brother knowing far better than I did. When I came home for a semester during college, one of the things that made the biggest impression on me was how you, dear Clay, had forged a passionate interest in music since I’d last lived at home full-time. Before that semester, I think of us enjoying music together as a family or you loving the new J. Geils Band song but not as the music connoisseur you are today. It was your passion for U2 that I most vividly remember and feeling utterly out of the loop. Not sure if it was similar to the experience Dana had in high school, but it may have led to a somewhat similar ambivalence towards the band. Fascinating how music can immediately bring us back to such a powerful memory.

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