U2's 50 Greatest Songs

A definitive guide to 35 years of music that changed the world

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11. "New Year's Day"

"New Year's Day" was U2's breakthrough, complete with a video where they ride horses through the snow. (The Edge later admitted it was actually four women with scarves over their faces riding those horses.) The surprising musical inspiration: Clayton trying to figure out Visage's New Romantic disco hit "Fade to Grey." But "New Year's Day" was a salute to Polish union leader Lech Walesa, jailed in December 1981, when the government outlawed his Solidarity movement. (In 1990, Walesa became Poland's first democratically elected president.) "At the same time, it's a love song," Bono said. "Love is always strongest when it's set against a struggle."

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