4. "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"There's been a lot of talk about this next song,"
Bono famously tells the crowd in the version of "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
that appeared in Live: Under a Blood Red Sky. "Maybe too much talk."
It was a new level of ambition for U2: "We were trying to be the Who meets
the Clash," Bono later said. His inspiration: the 1972 massacre when
English soldiers shot and killed 14 unarmed protesters in the Northern Irish
town of Derry. "We realize the potential for division in a song like that,"
the Edge told a journalist. "So all we can say is that we're trying to
confront the subject rather than sweep it under the carpet." It wasn't the
first song about Bloody Sunday – John Lennon and Paul McCartney both had
protest records in stores before 1972 was over. But U2 made it a grand
statement of militant Christian pacifism, with Larry Mullen Jr.'s martial
drums, violin from Steve Wickham – a stranger the Edge met at a Dublin bus stop
– and Bono waving a white flag onstage. As Bono told Rolling Stone at the time,
"I'm not interested in politics like people fighting back with sticks and
stones, but in the politics of love."