4th of July (U2 song)

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"4th of July"
Instrumental by U2
from the album The Unforgettable Fire
Released 1 October 1984
Genre Ambient
Length 2:12
Label Island
Composer(s) U2

"4th of July" is the sixth track from U2's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire. The song is an instrumental track and has never been performed live, although Adam Clayton did play it as a warm-up during a soundcheck before U2's concert in San Jose on 20 April 2001.[1] It is the only "ambient" track that U2 have ever released, featuring the co-work, the trademark and the style of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois.


"4th of July" came about almost entirely through a moment of inspiration from Eno. At the end of a studio session, Eno happened to overhear Adam Clayton doodling on a simple bass figure; he liked what he was hearing, so recorded it ad hoc as it was being played. Guitarist The Edge happened to join in, improvising a few guitar ideas over the top of Clayton's bass; neither knew they were being recorded. Eno added some treatments and then transferred the piece straight to two-track master tape – and that was the song finished, with no possibility of further overdubs.[2]

U2 called it "4th of July" to commemorate the birth of Edge's daughter, Hollie, Bono's godchild, who was born on that date, right in the middle of making the album.[3]

It is the only instrumental song on a regular full-length U2 album (not including Passengers). It was frequently used as the last song played before U2 took the stage during the Unforgettable Fire Tour. The song is regularly played on Music Choice's "Sounds of the Seasons" channel when playing patriotic music in the days leading to (and during) the Fourth of July holiday.


  1. ^ Axver, Matthias. "U2 San Jose, 2001-04-20, San Jose Arena, Elevation Tour - U2 on tour". U2gigs.com. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  2. ^ Stokes, Niall, Into the Heart: The Stories Behind Every U2 Song.
  3. ^ Edge; Adam Clayton; Larry Mullen Jr. U2 by U2. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-077674-9.