Red Hill Mining Town...an observation - U2 Feedback

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Old 09-10-2006, 10:16 PM   #1
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Red Hill Mining Town...an observation

Does anyone else see "Red Hill Mining Town" as a praise to God? I can see it throughout the lyrics. I believe that Bono is saying God is "all that's left to hold onto." I also love "Our labour day has come and gone" I think he's saying our day of works and the Law is done, because of the death and Resurrection of Jesus It's one of my fav. U2 songs and definitely underrated. I think "Red Hill Town" is a metaphor for the world. Bono has stated that all U2 songs are praise to God. Does anyone else see this in "RHMT"? God Bless!



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Old 09-11-2006, 01:39 AM   #2
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Hi U2isthebest;--No, not really in this case, it's an interesting interpretation, but this song is quite explicitly a folk ballad about the '84-'85 British coal miners' strike and the destruction of many miners' marriages due to the strains created by the mass closures of mines. One couplet you quoted from, Through hands of steel and heart of stone/Our labour day has come and gone is a direct, bleakly punning reference to Thatcher's British Coal chairman, Ian MacGregor, who was initially invited to Britain by Labour (the party) and worked for British Steel (where he cut thousands of jobs), before being appointed by Thatcher to British Coal, where--again--he cut thousands of jobs.

Bono, quoted in Niall Stokes' Into the Heart: "Red Hill Mining Town is a song about the miners' strike and the only reference to Ian MacGregor is Through hands of steel and heart of stone/Our labour day has come and gone. People beat me with a stick for that but what I'm interested in is seeing in the newspapers or on television that another thousand people had lost their jobs. Now what you don't read about is that these people go home and they have families and they're trying to bring up children. And, in many instances, these relationships broke up under the pressure of the miners' strike. The glass is cut/The bottle run dry/Our love runs cold/In the caverns of the night/We're wounded by fear/Injured in doubt/I can lose myself/You I can't live without/Because you keep me holding on. I'm more interested in the relationship at this point in time because I feel other people are more qualified to comment on the miners' strike. That enraged me--but I feel more qualified to write about relationships because I understand them more than what it's like to work in a pit."
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:25 AM   #3
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True. I know that was the main reason behind the song, but Bono has said that "The [songs], to me, they're all praise to God.. even the angry ones." His words, not mine. I just thought that people see the spiritual/Biblical message in many songs, but I've rarely seen it pointed out in "RHMT", and to me it's pretty obvious. I did know the surface inspiration from the song that you mentioned though. God Bless!

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Old 09-11-2006, 12:23 PM   #4
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Well in that case anyone can interpret any song to a spriritual song, even Miami. Which is fine. Personally I think your interpretaion is a stretch and that Yolland did a really good job explaining why.
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Old 09-11-2006, 09:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2isthebest
I know that was the main reason behind the song, but Bono has said that "The [songs], to me, they're all praise to God.. even the angry ones."
Why would that statement be incompatible with the lyric simply being about the human consequences of the miners' strike? Do you think Bono meant to suggest that every last lyric he writes by design includes some sort of doctrinal assertion? I'm more inclined to think he meant that using the talents God gave you with conscience, integrity and dignity honors God, and that you can write about a wide variety of themes and emotions without dishonoring God. To me, it undercuts the fullness of his vision of what it means to live one's faith as an artist to reduce it to an implication that every song need incorporate an explicitly scriptural dimension, or else he is failing his faith somehow. There are many ways to bear witness.
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Old 09-12-2006, 05:33 PM   #6
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In an NME interview in March 1987 Bono was quoted as follows:

As Bono explains, the song -- which takes the name Red Hill from a mythical doomed pit village in a book written about the 1984 dispute -- is actually about the breakup of a relationship under the strains of the strike.

"I was interested in the miners' strike politically, but I wanted to write about it on a more personal level. A cold statistic about a pit closure and redundancies that follow is drastic enough on one level, but it never tells the full human story. I wanted to follow the miner home and write about that situation in the song.

"The untold story of the coal strike is the number of family relationships that either broke down or were put under great strain. That was the final blow. Men would lose their pride in themselves and wouldn't be able to face their children or sleep with their wives."


The miners strike was a very bitter dispute which dominated the news for months in 1984 and led to divisions in communities and in some cases within families which has lasted to the present day. It's inspired a number of songs and films. I don't see a religious interpretation within this particular song.
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