The Little Things That Give You Away – U2 Part 1

By | 13th December 2017

I have a long running history with U2 almost all my life or as long as I can remember.  I know everyone over 30 has an opinion about them and especially Bono and I do too. There are many ways to tackle them, split them up into decades or styles or read the lyrics first and then listen to the music.  

Here is a little story of U2 and how they intertwined into my life, beginning in the 1980’s and I would argue that their music kept me sane during a very tough time of my life. 

My kinship with their music began when was 13 years old, right around the time that my father died on a cold November night in 1983.

What do you do when you lose sight of the shore after your lifeboat hits the rocks and is destroyed? 

While tossing and turning in the waves in the darkness with no stars to guide  you to safety?


I engulfed myself in music and listened to a wide variety of music.  Seemed my survival would be tied to the comfort I found in the music I listened to.  The rage of heavy metal helped me blow steam, the drums of Led Zeppelin have always interested me and I would consider them the equivalent of my own curiosity.


Strangely, the songs of U2 kept my feet planted on the ground so I could find my strength to heal as time went. Coincidently, U2 had released “Under A Blood Red Sky 2 days” before my father died.

Because U2 War was released earlier in 1983 and it was making  full rounds on MTV, I knew U2 and was familiar with their catchy tune “Sunday Bloody Sunday” which was still new and intriguing  and I owned both on cassette.

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For me,the song Drowning Man still brings tears to my eyes when I hear it. I was convinced this song was written for me. Here are the lyrics and set yourself in the perspective a person who just lost someone they love.

Drowning Man

Take my hand
You know I’ll be there
If you can
I’ll cross the sky for your love.

For I have promised
For to be with you tonight
And for the time that will come.
Take my hand
You know I’ll be there
If you can
I’ll cross the sky for your love.
And I understand

These winds and tides
This change of times
Won’t drag you away.
Hold on, and hold on tightly.
Hold on, and don’t let go of my love.
The storms will pass, it won’t be long now.
This love will last, this love will last forever.
And take my hand, you know I’ll be there.
If you can I’ll cross the sky for your love.
Give you what I hold dear.
Hold on, hold on tightly.
Hold on, and hold on tightly.
Rise up, rise up with wings like eagles.
You run, you run.
You run and not grow weary.
Hold on, and hold on tightly.
Hold on, hold on tightly
This love, lasts forever.
Now this love lasts forever.


Then in the fall of 1984 The Unforgettable Fire was released.  I have listened to the album cover to cover many times. It was soothing, healing and an emotional masterpiece.  U2 in this album reached a level of maturity and it was heard in the songs as these were no long boys singing but men with deep feelings and ideas about their own lives and the world we live in.

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They had great videos and the album really cemented and I still listen too this album and I think alot about the song “The Unforgettable Fire”

When my kids were little, I sung them to sleep to MLK and they knew the words.

Late 80s and 90s

AS time passed, I mourned my father and grew up and moved into adult and U2 just followed right along.  I would say the progression of their music into late 80’s and 90’s was amazing.  We just saw them in Amsterdam in 2016 for the 25th anniversary of The Joshua Tree.  

Anyone that was listening to music at this time couldn’t ignore the release of Achtung Baby in 1991.  The style and songs are still amazing and I still listen to this album often. What made it stick to me was that I had moved in NYC in 1991 and I felt as different as this album was from Rattle and Hum and The Joshua Tree. 

Listen to “Mysterious Ways” – it is still mesmerizing

End of Part 1

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