Tear Jerker / U2

U2 is known for being compelling, grandiose... and REALLY moving when they try.
  • "With Or Without You". And depending on your mood, "New Year's Day".
  • Also, their "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
    • The Edge's solo performances of it on the Pop Mart tour. Just... oh God. * sniffle*
  • "Electrical Storm"
  • "Exit" is one of the darkest songs in the U2 catalog. The lyrics are incredibly brutal and cynical.
  • "Kite" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own", both dealing with Bono's father.
    • Especially when they did it at the Slane show the week of the funeral. Oh god, that was heartbreaking.
      • It's possible to almost get through that song without tearing up. And then you hear Bono sing "Don't leave me here alone..."
  • "Mothers of the Disappeared".
  • "Mofo". Yeah, even the badass techno track. The lyrics may seem whiny but when you consider that it's about Bono's mother who died when he was just a teenager, they're absolutely heartbreaking, especially when you look at the lyrics from the perspective of a teenager.
  • "Bad" and "All I Want Is You".
    • Especially after you know that "Bad" is about a friend of Bono's who during the early 80s economic recession in Ireland got addicted to illegal drugs, and on his 21st birthday had a lethal dose of heroin injected into his bloodstream.
    • Its performance in the 1985 Live Aid concert is powerful not just because of the sheer emotion in the music. They're commemorating a fallen friend, while trying to help strangers in distant lands, and if some eyewitness accounts are to be believed, saving a young girl from death by suffocation in process. How awesome is that?
    • The one performance of "All I Want is You" at the end of one of the U2360 concerts, where they drag a visually impaired audience member onto the stage to play lead guitar on the song for his wife. The most overwhelming part is when Bono gives him one of his own guitars to keep.
  • "Tomorrow" and, strangely enough, "Lemon" - both dealing with Bono's mother.
  • The Title Track from October isn't anything short of brilliant, either, more specifically the overwhelmingly nostaligiac-sounding bridge in C major. It's especially beautiful on Live From Paris, with the audience members slowly clapping along, instantly making the tears flow down even faster.
  • "Brothers in Arms" is inextricably tied up with this.
  • During the encore Bono sings "Amazing Grace" (with a 20K+ member audience) and then they transition to "Where the Streets Have No Name". Glorious.
  • "Window In The Skies" gives Manly Tears, but in a good way.
  • "MLK" was lovely in itself, but then a crazy man named Bob Chilcott did a 6-part a cappella arrangement for The King's Singers which is far superior and downright chilling in its grandeur.
  • "Heartland", especially on the Rattle and Hum video.
  • "Moment Of Surrender". There's a reason it's been the closing song on all but one gig on the U2 360 tour.
    • At the Edmonton gig of the tour on June 1st, 2011, Bono had the lights killed for that song and made everyone hold up their lighters and illuminated cell phones, as just for the people who died in the Slave Lake fire just weeks earlier (the song was dedicated to them too). Not a single dry eye in the stadium.
  • "One Tree Hill." Especially live.
    • Also a Tear Jerker for the band themselves. Bono did the studio version in one take because he "felt that he could not sing the lyrics a second time" and they didn't play it live until the 3rd leg of the Joshua Tree tour because Bono still didn't think he could make it through the song.
  • People surely fall to their knees upon hearing the extra verse of "One" sung in live concerts.
  • Also, from the Eno & Pavarotti concert, this rendition of the song — with Bono's vocals echoing over the haunting strings, can bring one to tears. It's so haunting.
  • "The Hands That Built America," their theme for ''Gangs of New York." "Lose Yourself" may have deserved the "Best Original Song" Oscar, but it's a powerful song on it's own, especially William Orbit's ethereal remix.
    • For most people, it's the last verse (referencing 9/11) that puts them over the edge. For others, it's the line "Off all of the promises, is one we could keep. Of all of the dreams, is this one still out of reach" (referencing the American Dream itself).
    • The lyric was included despite Martin Scorsese's insistence to keep the World Trade Center in the final shot of Gangs, as he wanted the movie to be about the people who made American, not destroyed it. It makes the line feel all the more like a very depressing elephant in the room.
  • Speaking of 9/11, there's the definitive tear jerker, "Walk On."
  • "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" is more bittersweet. Bono wrote it out of regret for not talking his friend INXS and lead singer Michael Hutchence out of killing himself, making it a belated Pep-Talk Song which becomes a Grief Song as a result.
  • There are also "Wake Up Dead Man", "Love Is Blindness", "40", "Gone", "One Step Closer", and "Unknown Caller".
  • "Cedars of Lebanon" and "White As Snow".
  • "Running to Stand Still", especially the second verse. When Bono sings "You have to cry without weeping", you might actually have to cry without weeping.
    • Elbow's rendition of the song from War Child: Heroes, Vol. 1 is arguably more compelling. Some say that it's because of Guy Garvey's more heartfelt vocals.
  • "Stay (Far Away, So Close)". Not given enough credit. This might be the ultimate tear-jerker U2 song!
  • "It's Paul, it's Paul, I sing this song for him, I sing this song for him."
  • Bono dedicating Beautiful Day to Gabrielle Giffords and her husband (Commander Mark Kelly appearing from the International Space Station) sending her his love during a concert in Seattle.
  • "Miss Sarajevo" by Passengers - otherwise known as U2 and Brian Eno (with Luciano Pavarotti as a guest, in this case). Although the original version (later dedicated to Princess Diana) is incredibly heartrending, the band's live versions of the song after the 7/7 bombings in 2005 are something special indeed.
  • "The First Time", especially the second verse:
    I have a brother
    When I'm a brother in need
    I spend my whole time running
    He spends his running after me
    When I feel myself going down
    I just call and he comes around
    But for the first time
    I feel love
  • "The Wanderer", the ending track of Zooropa. The late Johnny Cash on lead vocals, singing about a man wandering a post-apocalyptic world.
    Now Jesus, don't you wait up
    Jesus, I'll be home soon
    Yeah I went out for the papers
    Told her I'd be back by noon
    Yeah I left with nothing
    But the thought you'd be there too
    Looking for you
    Yeah I left with nothing
    Nothing but the thought of you
    I went wandering
  • "Raised by Wolves", which could be considered a prequel to the above-mentioned "Bad" (it's about the same friend, who was a brother of both Bono's other friend Guggi and Peter Rowen, the boy on the covers of Boy and War). The friend had gotten addicted to heroin after witnessing his father and 32 others get killed by the IRA, narrowly escaping himself. His heroin use was him self-medicating due to PTSD.