Pride (In The Name Of Love)

Early evening, April 4, as Bono has corrected himself over the years. I was fortunate that they have two songs about Martin Luther King, so I could put this one on the date mentioned in the song, and give MLK to Martin Luther King Day.

Pride is one of the classic songs from U2 history, and it still means a lot today. I think this is at or near the top for many U2 fans. For some reason though I find myself cringing slightly when it comes on now, maybe because I’ve heard it so many times over the years. I would say I’m a little bored with it, but that doesn’t apply to some of the other songs that I’ve heard way more times that I’ve heard Pride. Not sure what it is. Maybe because of Rattle and Hum, where it is the last song before the credits, and honestly it’s not a great version of it. I don’t know. In fact thinking about it right now, I don’t think I can even name a great live version of the song.

The other thought that comes to mind is about the simplicity of the lyrics. I have gone on about old songs not being as interesting to me, because they repeated a few lines over and over. Pride actually ends up being one of those cases. If you look at the lyrics on you’ll see seven separate sections, and four of them are the repeated chorus, and that is even repeated within itself (the line “in the name of love, what more in the name of love” runs twice within each chorus). The verses also repeat the “one man” theme over and over, at least in the first two. So maybe that’s my boredom with the song.

There is of course the one section that refers to Martin Luther King, as I mentioned at the start. That seems to have overtaken the whole meaning of the song, despite it being one of the three verses, and the last one at that. I suppose the other verses could generally refer to MLK, although it is only the third that is explicit. For example the second ends with “one man betrayed with a kiss,” an obvious reference to Jesus and Judas (which would be explored in much greater detail a few years later in Until The End Of The World).

There are three versions of the video, which I didn’t know until I was researching this. Up until this week I had only seen two of them. The first was the one in black and white, in the performance hall. I always liked that one, the story seemed interesting. The second was the film from Slane Castle during the making of the album. That one amused me, there are different shots of each of the band members doing different things and it’s a great slice of life from that time. And the third, the one I’d never seen before. Produced by Anton Corbijn, who I just wrote about so glowingly. Well, if I’d seen this video before writing that, I don’t know what I would have thought of him. But this video is of the band in a room with effectively no lighting, and it is terrible. Very close up shots of the guys, so you only see half of their heads most of the time. And when you see all of them, it’s Bono really hamming up the lip-synching, looking quite stupid as he does. I very much dislike this video, and I’m glad I never saw it before.

My rating for Pride (In The Name Of Love): 9 / 10