Meaning of the song With or Without You by the rock band U2

The song With or Without You was recorded by the Irish rock band U2 very hard and was close to abandoning the track altogether. But the work was completed, and the single turned out to be an international hit. It topped the charts in several countries, became one of U2’s calling cards, and was later included in numerous lists of the best songs.

And all thanks to Bono, who composed the song and until the last believed in its success.

The history of the creation of the song With or Without You – U2

At the end of 1985, U2 returned from the tour in support of The Unforgettable Fire, during which they accumulated material. They gathered to process it in a house that was purchased specifically for this purpose. It was then that the demo version of the song With or Without You was recorded, the story of which began with a chord sequence composed by Bono.

Further work on the composition proceeded with great difficulties. No matter how hard the band members struggled with it, With or Without You still sounded unconvincing, because they could not find a suitable arrangement. It got to the point that some of them were already refusing to do the song, but Bono was still confident that it could turn out to be a hit.

The breakthrough was the appearance in the studio of the device “Infinite Guitar” (Infinite Guitar), which allowed to increase the sustain when playing the electric guitar. Edge began to test it, and it became clear that this was a real find. A word to producer Daniel Lanois:

We had rhythm and chords for With or Without You. Then we tested Michael Brooks’ Infinite Guitar invention. I asked Edge to just play with him for a bit. He played two parts, which were included in the final mix With or Without You. Amazing sounds, stratospheric.

Mojo, 2008

Then things went like clockwork, and soon the song was ready. Subsequently, members of the U2 group said that recording With or Without You allowed them to get out of creative stagnation and successfully complete the album The Joshua Tree.

The meaning of the song With or Without You – U2

Bono said that he composed With or Without You as a song about love and the difficulties that no relationship can do without. Inspired by Scott Walker’s Climate of Hunter album. He also explained that with the line “And you give yourself away” he wanted to show how it feels to be constantly in the spotlight.

According to Neil McCormick, when Bono wrote With or Without You, he was trying to remain a good family man in the not conducive lifestyle of a famous musician. At the same time, he understood that he could not refuse any of these components of his life.

However, this is just one of the versions that many critics and fans of U2 do not agree with. For example, some believe that the meaning of the song With or Without You should be interpreted in a religious context. Say, the words of the composition touch upon the problem of moral contradictions, from which many believers suffer.

Further history of the song

With or Without You was released as the first single from The Joshua Tree in March 1987. She topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the charts in several other countries, which was U2’s highest achievement at the time. The song peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart.

The first live performance the band played With or Without You was in Tempe, Arizona in early April 1987.

With or Without You is included in many famous ratings and lists of the best compositions, including the 500 greatest songs of all time from Rolling Stone.

Clip With or Without You – U2

Next is the music video for the famous song of the cult rock band.

Interesting Facts

  • With or Without You was the first single released by U2 on CD.
  • They say that according to Bono’s idea, the song was supposed to be part of a trilogy.

With or Without You Lyrics U2

See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
I wait for you
Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait, without you

With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I’m waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I can’t live
With or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body bruised, she’s got me with
Nothing left to win
And nothing else to lose

With or without you
With or without you
I can’t live
With or without you

With or Without You Lyrics U2

I see indifference in your eyes
I see that you are annoyed
I’m waiting for you
A clever trick and an unexpected twist of fate
She tortures me by making me wait
And I’m waiting – without you

With you or without you
With you or without you

Breaking through the storm, we made it to the shore
You give your all, but I want more
And I am waiting for you

With you or without you
With you or without you
I can not live
With you or without you

And you give your all
And you give your all
And you give
And you give
And you give your all

My hands are tied
My body is wounded, she didn’t leave me
Nothing to win
And there’s nothing left to lose

With you or without you
With you or without you
I can not live
With you or without you

Song quote

…one of the most global U2 songs written to date, a reflection on the painful uncertainty of a love relationship.

Rolling stone

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