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U2's Call to Disarm

The Edge explains Elevation Tour footage

July 3, 2001 12:00 AM ET

On their recently wrapped tour, U2 used their nightly podium to powerfully address the issue of gun control. During their performance of The Joshua Tree's "Bullet the Blue Sky," the band screened a disturbing video montage created by artist Catherine Owens that included images of victims of gun violence and children toting firearms.

"The song needed something that would contemporize it," says the Edge. "We're treading a very fine line between being artists and wanting to lecture Americans about issues that are important. It's basically turning the mirror on the audience."

During their June 21st performance at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Bono stood at the end of the heart-shaped catwalk, illuminated only by the flashlight he held in his hand. At the song's climax, Bono turned the flashlight toward his face as he repeated, "What's my name? Mark Chapman!" over and over again, referring to John Lennon's assassin.

In the past twenty-one years, 676,000 Americans have died as a result of gun violence - a total higher than the death tally from the Vietnam War. "It's so surprising to people who come from Europe and anyone who's come from Ireland that in the U.S. guns are so available," says the Edge. "It has always mystified us."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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