This is going to be a tough one for me.
I try to be extremely careful to not mix my personal views, maintain a strictly professional musical observation, and analyze things based solely on the music, singing and artistry.
However, U2 is one of those bands that are intrinsically linked to politics and religion and I know those reading this are pondering the same topics regarding Bono and the band’s success as am I.
I would like to start off by saying I truly believe that throughout the years Bono has had the best of intentions in exposing everything from the AIDS epidemic, child trafficking, Africa and all of its conflicts from starvation to vaccinations, and everything in-between.
Bono and U2’s very first single, “On New Year’s Day” premiered in December 1982 on MTV: a doomy, minor-key epic driven by an ominous bassline. Its title referred to a day coming soon which would normally be associated with hope and renewal; but in Bono’s lyrics, “all is quiet” and “nothing changes on New Year’s Day”.
These were politically turbulent times. That month, a disco had been bombed in Ballykelly, Northern Ireland, leading to 17 deaths. Thirty thousand women had held hands around the perimeter fence of RAF Greenham Common, as cruise missiles sat inside. The video to U2’s “New Year’s Day” also felt appropriately chilly. It featured images of the band in sub-zero temperatures in Sweden, and footage of Soviet troops advancing in winter during the second world war.
The single became the band’s breakthrough international hit, and remains a firm favorite with fans nearly four decades later. Bono commented on its gloomy appeal in a February 1983 NME interview: “It would be stupid to start drawing up battle lines, but I think the fact that ‘New Year’s Day’ made the top 10 indicated a disillusionment among record buyers… people are growing disillusioned with pap, with the wallpaper music and the gloss.”
He may have had a point. The album U2 released a month later knocked Michael Jackson’s Thriller off the number one spot. Called War, it opened with “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “Seconds”, a track about nuclear war, and then “New Year’s Day” burst into life.
“New Year’s Day” began life as a much simpler thing: a love song by the 22-year-old Bono for his new wife, Alison, who had been his girlfriend since his teens. At the time, Bono used to make up a lot of his lyrics on the spot in the studio, and he had been reading the news about Lech Walesa, then the leader of the Polish Solidarity movement.
Walesa had been imprisoned since December 1981, when the Polish People’s Republic declared martial law, and outlawed his organization.
Bono was moved by how Walesa couldn’t see his wife, Danuta, and kept thinking about how that must have affected them, he repeats the lyric “I will be with you again” with heady urgency throughout. He added to the NME: “A song like ‘New Year’s Day’ might be about war and struggle, but it is also about love. It is about having the faith to break through and survive against all odds. Love is a very powerful thing. There’s nothing more radical than two people loving each other.”
Then came a massive corruption scandal with the misappropriation of funds with his own company called DATA, as well as his participation in the $28 billion health fund backed by Bill Gates, and Bono is investigated for fraud.
Then of course Bono meeting with George Soros and his deep participation at the “Davos” World Economic Forum, and the list goes on…
Ken, what is your point? You said you wanted to focus on the music and now you’re focusing on Bono and his politics.
So I will say this one more time, I truly believe that Bono is a Christian and has done what he felt he could in the way of helping people, mankind and using the band as a platform to do so.
As we see early on, his earlier performances, then his performances midway through his career, and then the most recent footage that I was allowed to use, we see an artist that is truly a master at his craft and his “bouncing back” in an up and down music career.
Let’s take a look at this together shall we?
Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy – Where The PROOF Is In The SINGING!