Video one u2 lyrics

After experiencing massive success in the late ‘80s, U2 found themselves at a sticking point as the new decade dawned.

They’d decamped to Hansa Studios in Berlin just as the wall was coming down hoping that the spirit of reunification would infect the band, which was experiencing some divisions of its own.

In the midst of the difficult sessions and strained relationships, the band had a breakthrough. While jamming on a progression that would later become the hit “Mysterious Ways,” they stumbled on the melody of what would become “One”.

According to the Edge there was “suddenly something very powerful happening in the room.” He added, “Everyone recognized it was a special piece. It was like we’d caught a glimpse of what the song could be.”

Bono has often stated the the lyrics came “from the sky” (see From the Sky Down, Davis Guggenheim’s awesome documentary about U2’s Hansa sessions). They were inspired by the band’s strained internal relationships, the reunification, the AIDS epidemic, and Bono’s abhorrence of the the idea of “Hippie One-ness”-that is, one-ness without acknowledgment of differences.

Bono has also expressed his amusement with couples who’ve played the song at their weddings, saying “Are you mad? It’s about splitting up!” (McCormick, 2006)

There was some speculation that the song described a conversation between a father and his HIV-positive gay son, based on the connection of the song to David Wojnarowicz, an artist who died of AIDS-related illnesses. U2 used Wojarnowicz’s black and white photograph as album art for the single. Wojnarowicz took the photo at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington on a trip he took from New York following the passing of his close friend and legendary photographer, Peter Hujar (1934-87); he died from AIDs-related illnesses on November 26, 1987. The diorama in the photo depicts buffalo, which have been driven off a cliff by an unseen indigenous tribe. They are following one another as they tumble over cliffs. This has been interpreted as a relationship between America’s treatment of native Americans, as well as the buffalo, which they drove to the brink of extinction, and the apathy that the current administration was showing towards the HIV/AIDs Epidemic/Gay community.

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Kay Adams

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