Pride (In the Name of Love)

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"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
Single by U2
from the album The Unforgettable Fire
B-side"Boomerang II"
Released3 September 1984[1]
RecordedMay–August 1984
  • 3:48 (standard version)
  • 4:40 (original 12" UK single)
U2 singles chronology
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
"The Unforgettable Fire"
Audio sample
Music video
Sepia Version on YouTube
Color Version on YouTube
Slane Castle Version on YouTube

"Pride (In the Name of Love)" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the second track on the band's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire, and was released as its lead single in September 1984. The song was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Written about the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., "Pride" received mixed critical reviews at the time, but it was a major commercial success for U2 and has since become one of their most popular songs, as well as been re-evaluated positively by many as one of the greatest songs of all time. It appeared on the band's compilation albums The Best of 1980–1990 and U218 Singles and was reworked and re-recorded for Songs of Surrender (2023).[4]

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it 378th on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song was included on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.

Writing and recording[edit]

The melody and the chords for "Pride" were improvised by U2 during a soundcheck prior to a November 1983 concert in Hawaii on the band's War Tour. Guitarist the Edge led the group with a series of chord changes during the soundcheck, but after someone made a mistake, the other members picked up on it and changed course, providing a "new twist" to the improvisation, according to Niall Stokes.[5] After the tour concluded, the group continued to work on the track at lead vocalist Bono's home in a Martello tower in Bray, County Wicklow,[6] where the Edge devised a guitar part for the song.[7] "Pride" was further worked on at Slane Castle during the recording sessions for The Unforgettable Fire, but was subsequently re-recorded in its final version at Windmill Lane Studios (it was the only song to be re-cut).[8]

The song had been intended to be based on Ronald Reagan's pride in America's military power, but Stephen B. Oates's book Let The Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a biography of Malcolm X caused Bono to ponder the different sides of the civil rights campaigns, the violent and the non-violent. In subsequent years, Bono has expressed his dissatisfaction with the lyrics, which he describes, along with another Unforgettable Fire song, "Bad", as being "left as simple sketches". He says that he was swayed by the Edge and producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who played down the need to develop the lyrics as they thought their impressionistic nature would give added forcefulness to the song's feeling, particularly when heard by non-English speakers.[9] In U2 by U2, Bono said: "I looked at how glorious that song was and thought: 'What the fuck is that all about?' It's just a load of vowel sounds ganging up on a great man. It is emotionally very articulate - if you didn't speak English."[10]

Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang backing vocals on the recording. She was married to Jim Kerr of Simple Minds at the time and she is credited as "Christine Kerr".[11]

The song contains the erroneous reference to King's shooting as "Early morning, April 4," when it actually occurred after 6 p.m. Bono acknowledges the error and in live performances he often changes the lyric to "Early evening..."[9] The error was corrected on the acoustic version of the song included on the group's 2023 album Songs of Surrender; the updated lyric is "In the evening, April 4".


"Pride" is in the key of B, and is played at a tempo of 106 bpm.[12] The song follows a chord progression of B-E–A–Fm and the solo is B–D–E–E.

Music videos[edit]

Three music videos were made. The first was shot in August by director Donald Cammell and features opening and closing shots of the Dublin Docklands area. Two versions of this video exist; black and white and colour (sepia). The band were not satisfied with Cammell's video, and they agreed to their principal photographer, Anton Corbijn, shooting an alternative. The second video was filmed in a basement near London's Heathrow Airport, it features U2 standing sternly in front of a wall under poor lighting conditions. The U2 camp was also unimpressed with this video and a third video is produced by compiling footage shot during The Unforgettable Fire recording sessions at Slane Castle. The original (black and white) Cammell video was primarily used in promotion.[13]


"Pride" reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was the band's first top 40 hit in the United States where it peaked at number 33. It gained considerable US album-oriented rock radio airplay and its video was on heavy rotation on MTV, thus helping U2 continue its commercial breakthrough begun with the War album. It reached number 1 in New Zealand, the first time a U2 single topped a country's singles chart.

Initial critical reactions to "Pride" were mixed, especially in regards to the lyrics. Robert Christgau in The Village Voice complained of "the moralism with the turn-somebody-else's-cheek glorification of Martin Luther King's martyrdom."[14] Meanwhile, Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone wrote that "'Pride' gets over only on the strength of its resounding beat and big, droning bass line, not on the nobility of its lyrics, which are unremarkable."[15] Cash Box called it a "rousing anthem" with "powerful vocal and guitar," saying that "Bono’s writing and vocal delivery are pure inspiration as is the pounding rhythm section."[16] The 1984 Pazz & Jop poll of 240 music critics ranked "Pride" as the 12th-best single of that year, a higher ranking than the overall album, which finished 29th.[17] The single's ranking remained the highest of any U2 single until "One" achieved 8th in 1992.[18]

Live performances[edit]

Bono during the performance of "Pride" at the 2009 We Are One concert

"Pride" was first played live at the opening show of the Unforgettable Fire Tour on 29 August 1984 in Christchurch, New Zealand.[19] The song has been played at virtually every U2 concert since the Unforgettable Fire Tour, although it was played infrequently on the first and second legs of 2001's Elevation Tour and the second and third legs 2009's U2 360° Tour. Live performances during the 1980s and early 1990s were usually played in the key of B, while since the late 1990s the song has been played in the key of A. As of 2009, it is the band's most played song with over 770 documented performances, though "I Will Follow" has likely been performed more often.[20] Clips from Martin Luther King speeches are often shown on the various tour video screens during these performances. In 2010, in Brisbane, Australia, the final verse was changed to reflect the 30th anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon (8 December 2010).

U2 performed the song, along with "City of Blinding Lights", to upwards of 400,000 people on 18 January 2009 at the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama.[21][22] At the end of the performance Bono asked the audience to sing for King's dream, saying it was "not just an American dream; also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream", before referencing it to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and saying that it was "an Israeli dream, and also a Palestinian dream."[22] The performance of "Pride" closed off with Bono quoting part of King's speech "I Have a Dream," saying "Let freedom ring! Let freedom ring! Let freedom ring! Every village, every hamlet, every state, every city. Let freedom ring!" before seguing into "City of Blinding Lights."[22] Bassist Adam Clayton later said "We were scratching our heads going, 'How does an Irish band get invited to play at the Presidential Inauguration?' Our way in was through a song like 'Pride'. It allowed Obama's people to express the connection without being too overt. It was one of those moments where you know the world is watching, but a healthy amount of anxiety gets your mojo working."[23]

During a live concert in Las Vegas on 9 October 2023, Bono dedicated a rendition of the song to the hundreds of young Israelis who lost their lives in a massacre orchestrated by Hamas terrorists at the Nova Sukkot music festival two days prior. The song's bridge was modified to address the event, with the lines 'Early morning, October 7 / The sun rises in the desert sky / Stars of David, they took your life / But they could not take the your pride'.[24][25]

Live performances of "Pride" appear on the concert films Rattle and Hum (both the album and motion picture), Zoo TV: Live from Sydney, PopMart: Live from Mexico City, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, Vertigo 2005: Live from Chicago, Live from Paris, and U2 3D.


In 1989, Spin named the song the 65th-greatest single in history.[26] In 2004, Rolling Stone placed the song at number 378 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time";[27] the song was re-ranked to 388th on the magazine's 2010 version of the list.[28] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame selected "Pride (In the Name of Love)" as one of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.[29] Music television network VH1 ranked the song number 38 on the "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" countdown in its series The Greatest.[30] In 2004, Mojo placed the song at number 63 on its list of the "100 Epic Rock Tracks".[31]

In 2007, the Roots covered "Pride" in a medley with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" for an NAACP dinner honoring Bono. The band also mixed in some of their own "False Media" and bits of Edwin Starr's "War".[32]

The band would later choose the song to be one of forty songs that would be re-recorded for their 2023 effort Songs of Surrender. The new version of the song was the lead single off the album.

Formats and track listings[edit]

7-inch release
1."Pride (In the Name of Love)"3:48
2."Boomerang II"4:48
Double 7-inch release
1."Pride (In the Name of Love)"3:48
2."4th of July" (Long version)2:38
3."Boomerang I" (Instrumental)2:47
4."Boomerang II" (Vocal)4:48
12-inch UK and Ireland release and CD re-release
1."Pride (In the Name of Love)"4:40
2."Boomerang I" (Instrumental)2:47
3."Boomerang II"4:48
4."4th of July" (Long version)2:38
12-inch alternate release
1."Pride (In the Name of Love)"3:48
2."Boomerang I" (Instrumental)2:47
3."Boomerang II"4:48
4."11 O'Clock Tick Tock" (Long version)4:13
UK cassette release
1."Pride (In the Name of Love)"3:48
2."Boomerang I" (Instrumental)2:47
3."Boomerang II"4:48
4."11 O'Clock Tick Tock" (Long version)4:13
5."A Celebration"2:57



Additional performers



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[47]
sales since 2009
Gold 35,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[48] Gold 30,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[49] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Sams, Aaron; Kantas, Harry. "U2 – "Pride (In the Name of Love)" Single". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  2. ^ "16 canzoni degli U2". 20 October 2020.
  3. ^ Rowley, Scott; Llewellyn, Sian (15 October 2018). "The 7" singles that defined the 1980s". Louder. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  4. ^ Qureshi, Arusa (11 January 2023). "Listen to "reimagined and re-recorded" version of U2's 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)'". NME. Archived from the original on 1 March 2023. Retrieved 1 March 2023.
  5. ^ Stokes (2005), pp. 52–53
  6. ^ McCormick (2006), p. 147
  7. ^ Morse, Steve (29 November 1984). "U2 Charts New Sound". The Boston Globe. sec. Calendar, p. 10.
  8. ^ Prendergast, Mark (September 1987). "The Magic of Daniel Lanois (Part 2)". Sound On Sound. p. 42.
  9. ^ a b McCormick (2006), p. 151
  10. ^ McCormick (2006), p. 179
  11. ^ Graham (1996), p. 24
  12. ^ "Key & BPM/Tempo of Pride (In the Name of Love) by U2 | Note Discover".
  13. ^ McGee (2008), p. 76
  14. ^ Village Voice Consumer Guide, "The Unforgettable Fire".
  15. ^ Loder, Kurt (11 October 1984). "The Unforgettable Fire Album Review". Rolling Stone.
  16. ^ "Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 20 October 1984. p. 9. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  17. ^ "The 1984 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  18. ^ "The 1992 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". Retrieved 14 December 2006.
  19. ^ "U2 Christchurch, 1984-08-29, Town Hall, Unforgettable Fire Tour - U2 on tour". 29 August 1984. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  20. ^ "I Will Follow" has 767 known performances, with many more earlier performances not documented. Mühlbradt, Matthias; Axver, André. "Misc stats". U2Gigs.
  21. ^ Hendrix, Steve; Mummolo, Jonathan (18 January 2009). "Jamming on the Mall for Obama". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  22. ^ a b c "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial". 18 January 2009. HBO. {{cite episode}}: Missing or empty |series= (help)
  23. ^ U2 (July 2010). "Stairway to Devon − OK, Somerset!". Q. p. 101.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ i24NEWS (9 October 2023). "U2's Bono dedicates concert to victims of desert rave massacre". I24news. Retrieved 9 October 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Kaufman, Gil (9 October 2023). "Bono Dedicates 'Pride (In the Name of Love)' to Israeli Victims of Hamas Attack on Dance Festival: 'Our Prayers Have Always Been for Peace'". Billboard. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  26. ^ "It's only Rock 'n' Roll, but we like it! 100 Greatest Singles Of All Time". Spin. Vol. 5, no. 1. April 1989.
  27. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. No. 963. 9 December 2004. p. 150. Archived from the original on 30 December 2004. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  28. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: U2, 'Pride In the Name of Love'". Rolling Stone. No. Special collectors edition. 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  29. ^ "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2009.
  30. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s (Hour 4)". The Greatest. Episode 170. 30 October 2006. VH1. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012.
  31. ^ "100 Epic Rock Tracks". Mojo. No. 125. April 2004.
  32. ^ Padgett, Ray (16 August 2010). "Song of the Day: The Roots, "Sunday Bloody Sunday / Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2 cover)". Cover Me Songs website. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  33. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  34. ^ "U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  35. ^ "Search Results: Pride U2". RPM. 24 November 1984. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  36. ^ a b c d "U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  37. ^ "U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  38. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Retrieved 23 November 2009. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  39. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e Dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 28 May 2022. Set "Tipo" on "Singoli". Then, in the "Artista" field, search "U2".
  40. ^ "Lista Przebojów Programu 3". LP3. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  41. ^ " search results: U2". Retrieved 22 November 2009. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  42. ^ a b Pride at AllMusic
  43. ^ "Kent Music Report No 548 – 31 December 1984 > National Top 100 Singles for 1984". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 23 January 2023 – via
  44. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984". Ultratop. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  45. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  47. ^ "Italian single certifications – U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  48. ^ "Spanish single certifications – U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love". El portal de Música. Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  49. ^ "British single certifications – U2 – Pride (In the Name of Love)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 March 2021.