500 Greatest Songs of All Time
U2, 'With or Without You'
Writers: Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.
Producers: Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois
Released: March '87, Island
18 weeks; No. 1
The Joshua Tree was U2's ode to America: Its songs were inspired by folk, gospel and roots music, and its lyrics, as the Edge noted, were sparked by civil rights heroes and the "new journalism" of the 1960s. Yet "With or Without You" - with its simple bass groove and ethereal guitar hum framing Bono's yearning vocals - was one of U2's most universal songs to date, a meditation on the painful ambivalence of a love affair. Bono insisted it was "about how I feel in U2 at times: exposed." It would turn out to be U2's first Number One hit in the U.S.
Appears on: The Joshua Tree (Island)