Pride (In the Name of Love)

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"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
File:Pride (In the Name of Love) (U2 single) coverart.jpg
Single by U2
from the album The Unforgettable Fire
B-side "Boomerang II"
Released 4 September 1984
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, cassette, CD single (re-release only)
Recorded 1984, Ireland, at Slane Castle in County Meath, and Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin
Genre Rock, post-punk
Length 3:48
Label Island
Producer(s) Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois
U2 singles chronology
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
"The Unforgettable Fire"
The Unforgettable Fire track listing
"A Sort of Homecoming"
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
Music video
"Pride (In the Name of Love)" on YouTube

Music sample

"Pride (In the Name of Love)" is a song by the Irish rock band U2. The second track on the band's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire, it was released as the album's lead single in September 1984. Written about Martin Luther King, Jr., the song received mixed critical reviews at the time, but it was a major commercial success for the band and has since become one of the band's most popular songs. It was named the 388th greatest song by Rolling Stone on their list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". "Pride" appeared on the compilation The Best of 1980-1990 as the opening track, and on the 2006 compilation U218 Singles.

Origin and recording

The melody and the chords were worked up in a November 1983 War Tour sound check in Hawaii and completed in Windmill Lane Studios during The Unforgettable Fire recording sessions.[1][2] The guitar part is subtly varied through each verse, chorus, and melody, such that no riff is exactly repeated.[2]

The song had been intended to be based on Ronald Reagan's pride in America's military power, but Stephen B. Oates's book Let The Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a biography of Malcolm X caused the lyricist Bono to ponder the different sides of the civil rights campaigns, the violent and the non-violent.[1] In subsequent years, Bono has expressed his dissatisfaction with the lyrics, which he describes, along with another Unforgettable Fire song "Bad", as being "left as simple sketches". He says that he was swayed by the Edge and producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who played down the need to develop the lyrics as they thought their impressionistic nature would give added forcefulness to the song's feeling, particularly when heard by non-English speakers.[3] In U2 by U2,[4] Bono said: "I looked at how glorious that song was and thought: 'What the fuck is that all about?' It's just a load of vowel sounds ganging up on a great man. It is emotionally very articulate - if you didn't speak English."

The song contains the erroneous reference to King's shooting as "Early morning, April 4," when it actually occurred after 6 p.m. Bono acknowledges the error and in live performances he occasionally changes the lyric to "Early evening...."[3]

Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang backing vocals on the recording. She was married to Jim Kerr of Simple Minds at the time and she is credited as "Christine Kerr."[2]


"Pride" is in the key of B. The song follows a chord progression of B-E–A–Fm and the solo is B–D–E–E.


"Pride" reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart and #8 on the Dutch Singles Chart. The song was the band's first top 40 hit in the United States where it peaked at #33. It gained considerable US album-oriented rock radio airplay and its video was on heavy rotation on MTV, thus helping U2 continue its commercial breakthrough begun with the War album. It reached #1 in New Zealand, the first time a U2 single topped a country's singles chart.

Initial critical reactions to "Pride" were mixed, especially in regards to the lyrics. Robert Christgau in The Village Voice complained of "the moralism with the turn-somebody-else's-cheek glorification of Martin Luther King's martyrdom."[5] Meanwhile, Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone wrote that "'Pride' gets over only on the strength of its resounding beat and big, droning bass line, not on the nobility of its lyrics, which are unremarkable."[6]

But the 1984 Pazz & Jop poll of 240 music critics ranked "Pride" as the 12th best single of that year, a higher ranking than the overall album, which finished 29th.[7] The single's ranking remained the highest of any U2 single until "One" achieved 8th in 1992.[8] And in 1989, Spin named the song the 65th-greatest single in history.[9] Rolling Stone magazine later (2010) placed the song at number 388 in their list "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".[10] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selected "Pride (In the Name of Love)" as one of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[11] Music television network VH1 ranked the song number 38 on the "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" countdown in its series The Greatest.[12] In 2004, Mojo placed the song at number 63 on its list of the "100 Epic Rock Tracks".[13]

In 2007, the Roots covered "Pride" in a medley with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" for an NAACP dinner honoring Bono. The band also mixed in some of their own "False Media" and bits of Edwin Starr's "War."[14]

Live performances

Bono during the performance of "Pride" at the 2009 We Are One concert

"Pride" was first played live at the fourth show of the Unforgettable Fire Tour on 2 September 1984 in the New Zealand city of Auckland.[15] The song has been played at virtually every U2 concert since the Unforgettable Fire Tour although it was played infrequently on the first and second legs of 2001's Elevation Tour and the second and third legs 2009's 360 Tour. Live performances during the 1980s and early 1990s were usually played in the key of A# while since the late 1990s the song has been played in the key of A. As of 2009, it is the band's most played song with over 770 documented performances, though "I Will Follow" has likely been performed more often.[16] Clips from Martin Luther King speeches are often shown on the various tour video screens during these performances. In 2010, in Brisbane, Australia, the final verse was changed to reflect the 30th anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon (8 December 2010).

U2 performed the song, along with "City of Blinding Lights," to upwards of 400,000 people on 18 January 2009 at the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama.[17][18] At the end of the performance Bono asked the audience to sing for King's dream, saying it was "not just an American dream; also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream", before referencing it to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and saying that it was "an Israeli dream, and also a Palestinian dream."[18] The performance of "Pride" closed off with Bono quoting part of King's speech "I Have a Dream," saying "Let freedom ring! Let freedom ring! Let freedom ring! Every village, every hamlet, every state, every city. Let freedom ring!" before seguing into "City of Blinding Lights."[18] Bassist Adam Clayton later said "We were scratching our heads going, 'How does an Irish band get invited to play at the Presidential Inauguration?' Our way in was through a song like 'Pride'. It allowed Obama's people to express the connection without being too overt. It was one of those moments where you know the world is watching, but a healthy amount of anxiety gets your mojo working."[19]

Live performances of "Pride" appear on the concert films Rattle and Hum (both the album and motion picture), Zoo TV: Live from Sydney, PopMart: Live from Mexico City, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, Vertigo 2005: Live from Chicago, Live from Paris, and U2 3D.

Music videos

Three music videos were made. The first was shot in August by director Donald Cammell and features opening and closing shots of the Dublin Docklands area. Two versions of this video exist; black and white and colour (sepia). The band was not satisfied with Cammell's video, and they agreed to their principal photographer, Anton Corbijn, shooting an alternative. The second video filmed in a basement near London's Heathrow Airport, it features U2 standing sternly in front of a wall under poor lighting conditions. The U2 camp was also unimpressed with this video and a third video is produced by compiling footage shot during The Unforgettable Fire recording sessions at Slane Castle. The original (black and white) Cammell video was primarily used in promotion.[20]

Track listings

7" release
No. Title Length
1. "Pride (In the Name of Love)"   3:48
2. "Boomerang II"   4:48
Double 7" release
No. Title Length
1. "Pride (In the Name of Love)"   3:48
2. "4th of July" (Long version) 2:38
3. "Boomerang I" (Instrumental) 2:47
4. "Boomerang II" (Vocal) 4:48
12" UK and Ireland release and CD re-release
No. Title Length
1. "Pride (In the Name of Love)"   3:48
2. "Boomerang I" (Instrumental) 2:47
3. "Boomerang II"   4:48
4. "4th of July" (Long version) 2:38
12" alternate release
No. Title Length
1. "Pride (In the Name of Love)"   3:48
2. "Boomerang I" (Instrumental) 2:47
3. "Boomerang II"   4:48
4. "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" (Long version) 4:10
5. "Touch"   3:21
UK cassette release
No. Title Length
1. "Pride (In the Name of Love)"   3:48
2. "Boomerang I" (Instrumental) 2:47
3. "Boomerang II"   4:48
4. "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" (Long version) 4:10
5. "A Celebration"   2:54


Chart positions

Chart (1984) Peak
Canada RPM Top 100[21] 26
Dutch MegaCharts[22] 5
Irish Singles Chart[23] 2
New Zealand Singles Chart[22] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[22] 7
Swedish Singles Chart[22] 12
UK Singles Chart[24] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[25] 33
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks[25] 2

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 McCormick (2006), p. 151.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Graham (1996), p. 24.
  3. 3.0 3.1 U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 151. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. U2 Limited (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. p. 179. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Village Voice Consumer Guide, "The Unforgettable Fire".
  6. Loder, Kurt (11 October 1984). "The Unforgettable Fire Album Review". Rolling Stone.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "The 1984 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  8. "The 1992 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  9. "It's only Rock 'n' Roll, but we like it! 100 Greatest Singles Of All Time". Spin. 5 (1). April 1989.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: U2, 'Pride In the Name of Love'". Rolling Stone (Special collectors edition). 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s (Hour 4)". The Greatest. Episode 170. 30 October 2006. VH1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "100 Epic Rock Tracks". Mojo (125). April 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Padgett, Ray (16 August 2010). "Song of the Day: The Roots, "Sunday Bloody Sunday / Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2 cover)". Cover Me Songs website. Retrieved 15 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Parra, Pimm Jal de la U2 Live: A Concert Documentary, p.53, 1996, Harper Collins Publishers, ISBN 0-7322-6036-1
  16. "I Will Follow" has 767 known performances, with many more earlier performances not documented. Mühlbradt, Matthias; Axver, André. "Misc stats". U2Gigs.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Hendrix, Steve; Mummolo, Jonathan (18 January 2009). "Jamming on the Mall for Obama". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial". 18 January 2009. HBO. Missing or empty |series= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. U2 (July 2010). "Stairway to Devon − OK, Somerset!". Q. p. 101.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. McGee (2008), p. 76
  21. "Search Results: Pride U2". RPM. 24 November 1984. Retrieved 25 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 "U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Retrieved 23 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  24. " search results: U2". Retrieved 22 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Pride at AllMusic


  • Graham, Bill (2004). U2: The Complete Guide to their Music. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9886-8. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • McCormick (2006). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollinsPublishers. ISBN 0-00-719668-7. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links