Where the Streets Have no Name...and Africa - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-05-2002, 05:44 AM   #1
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Where the Streets Have no Name...and Africa

Today, early in the morning, I chose to listen to my single Please, the one with Please segued into WTSHNN, the best performance of WTSHNN ever, for me. We all know that this song was inspired by Bonoīs visit to Ethiopia along with his beloved Ali, in 1985, the place where the streets really have no name. He recently spoke about that visit in his interview to Time magazine, the most touching bit of the interview, for me. So I got myself thinking...if Bono had never gone to Africa maybe this gem, marvellous song, an authentic U2 anthem that has captured our hearts and minds for so many years, maybe the song had never been created, donīt you think?

After all these years listening and loving this song so much I think I finally understood this line: "itīs all I can do". He said that in 1987, almost apologizing for not doing more to relieve so much suffering because it was what he felt at that time, maybe a mix of compassion and impotence. Nowadays he truly believes he can do much more than that and he knows he can make a difference, thatīs why heīs going to Africa again.

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Old 03-05-2002, 08:55 AM   #2
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I don't really have anything to add.. but, I did want to say that I heard "it's all I can do" was added at the last minute when he was singing it over the mic, so if that is true, it isn't an intentional, planned lyric. Does anyone know if this is true?

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Old 03-05-2002, 10:01 AM   #3
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I've heard it said somewhere that all great things, including songs, are already created, they just have to be discovered, and Bono found inspiration in Ethiopia, and part of this trip I believe was the inspiration for one of U2's greatest songs ever.

Out of this suffering, Bono also thought of heaven, and the day when suffering will cease "where the streets have no name". Also when you think that miles away in Dublin, the Edge was coming up with a beautiful guitar part that would make up 'Streets' and with no knowledge that it would also make up the song that has stirred the souls of many a U2 fan for 15 years now. That is the beauty of art, that is the beauty that is U2 and for this and many other reasons, makes us love this band so much.

Chris
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Old 03-05-2002, 05:19 PM   #4
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elevatedmole, I havenīt heard that the line was added the way you said...For me it makes a lot of sense when he says "and when I go there, I go there with you, itīs all I can do". Sometimes in live performances he sings "itīs all WE can do". Remember, he didnīt go there alone, he went with his wife, the woman of his life, the one he has trusted and chosen to share everything. They both were affected by the things they experienced there IMO and their lives changed forever.

And Chris, thank you, once more, for you beautiful words.
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Old 03-05-2002, 05:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by follower:
Today, early in the morning, I chose to listen to my single Please, the one with Please segued into WTSHNN, the best performance of WTSHNN ever, for me. We all know that this song was inspired by Bonoīs visit to Ethiopia along with his beloved Ali

Knock me down with a feather...i didnt know that song was about that..i read it was about here 9(northern ireland) well u really do learn something new every day

[This message has been edited by bono-vox (edited 03-05-2002).]
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Old 03-05-2002, 07:35 PM   #6
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This is what you can find about WTSHNN and Bono and Aliīs trip to Africa, in Niallīs Stokes book Into the Heart:

"The title undoubtedly draws on the time Bono and his wife Ali spent in Ethiopia during 1985. Theyīd gone there as volunteers, working with aid agencies on the ground, distributing food and assisting with health and educational initiatives. Bono came home to Ireland, to the Western world, with a profound sense of the vacuum at the heart of contemporary living. 'The spirit of the people I met in Ethiopia was very strong', Bono says. 'Thereīs no doubt that, even in poverty, they had something that we didnīt have. When I got back, I realized the extent to which people in the West were like spoiled children.'"

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Old 03-06-2002, 10:33 AM   #7
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I always picture this as a song about the band itself reaching new heights and new sounds. Or how they seem to "dream it all up again" every time they make a new record. So, when Bono says "its all WE can do" I think of U2 doing all they can do. And spiritually the song, for me, is about discovery and taking a chance and rolling the dice in your life.

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