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Music / The Unforgettable Fire

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If the thunder cloud passes rain
So let it rain, rain down on him
Nothing like love
There's nothing like love

Nobody like you
There's nobody like you

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"

The Unforgettable Fire is the fourth studio album recorded by Irish rock band U2. It was released through Island Records on 1 October 1984.

Seeking to find a more approachable sound, the band sought producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. But just because they wanted something more relatable didn't mean they sought to mute their social messaging.

I mean, the title is inspired by an art exhibit about the bombing of Hiroshima.

The band didn't want to be written off as yet another Arena Rock band.

What was intended to be a month-long recording session at Slane Castle in County Meath dragged on into the summer, and moved to Windmill Lane, Dublin.

Although the album hit a roadblock in their native Ireland, only reaching #53 on the album chart there, it roughly matched the numbers for War in the United Kingdom (double-Platinum, #1 on the OCC album chart) and the United States (triple-Platinum, #12 on the Billboard 200 album chart).


The album spawned two singles: "Pride (In the Name of Love)", and the Title Track. The title track would be U2's first #1 single in Ireland, while both singles would go well into the Top 10 in the United Kingdom (#3 and #6, respectively). And "Pride", a song that saluted American civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., would be their first pop hit there, reaching #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album was remastered for its 25th anniversary, released through Mercury Records on 27 October 2009. Four different versions were released, including a new vinyl album; the remastered CD release; a deluxe CD collection with a bonus CD of B-sides and live tracks; and a limited edition that added a DVD and a hardback book.



Side One
  1. "A Sort of Homecoming" (5:28)
  2. "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (3:48)
  3. "Wire" (4:19)
  4. "The Unforgettable Fire" (4:55)
  5. "Promenade" (2:35)

Side Two

  1. "4th of July" (2:12)
  2. "Bad" (6:09)
  3. "Indian Summer Sky" (4:17)
  4. "Elvis Presley and America" (6:23)
  5. "MLK" (2:31)

Sleep. Sleep tonight. And may your tropes be realized:

  • Epic Rocking: "Bad" and "Elvis Presley and America" both breach six minutes.
  • Instrumentals: "4th of July" is an ambient instrumental that was improvised by The Edge and Adam Clayton in the studio.
  • Lighter and Softer: The album is this to War, featuring a less aggressive sound, glossier production, and elements of ambient music, all courtesy of Brian Eno.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The album generally spans from a 1 to a 4, with "Wire" and "Indian Summer Sky" both reaching a borderline 5.
  • Shout-Out: "Pride" and "MLK" both contain allusions to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Title Track: "The Unforgettable Fire"'
  • Variant Cover: Cassette editions used a different shot of the band in front of Slane Castle.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Elvis Presley and America" is a particularly notable example, as all of the lyrics and the melody were improvised on the first take by Bono as he listened to the backing track for the first time.

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