VIDEO: Watch U2 honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With Epic 1986 Performance of “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”

The band’s transcendental version of their homage to MLK remains a vital reminder of his resonating impact on modern society

U2 “Pride In The Name Of Love” b/w “Boomerang II”, Island 1984

“He wasn’t just talking about the American dream,” Bono stated at the 2004 ceremony honoring the 75th birthday of Martin Luther King. “It was a much bigger idea, actually, an idea that could fit an African dream, an Irish dream. And it certainly wasn’t a daydream. It was a call to action.”

When “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” was initially conceived on the 1983 War tour, it was written with claws directed at Ronald Reagan and his pride in the Military Industrial Complex of American imperialism. But when Bono picked up a copy of the Stephen B. Oates 1982 biography Let The Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and rearranged the song from a place of protest to a celebration of life. 

“Pride” is not the best song on The Unforgettable Fire, the fourth U2 album and their first of a series of classic recordings produced by the team of Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. But it certainly is the touchstone of the LP, bolstered by its uplifting melodic sweep. 

Back cover of “Pride” 7-inch

“Free at last, they took your life,” Bono sings before reaching that anthemic chorus. “They could not take your pride.”

On this first MLK Day of the new decade, the Rock & Roll Globe salutes U2 for penning “Pride,” a song that continues to endure as a hosanna for our times over 35 years after it was created. 

Now more than ever.


VIDEO: U2 perform “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” 

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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