Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
‘Pride (In The Name Of Love)’ is the first single from the album ‘The Unforgettable Fire’, which was released in 1984. Bono wrote this tribute to Martin Luther King after he had visited the Chicago Peace Museum and read a biography of King, ‘Let the Trumpet Sound’ by Stephen B. Oates. Bono made a small error in the lyrics: Martin Luther King was assassinated in the early evening rather than the early morning, as he sings. But more importantly, the message hit home. ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ became U2’s first worldwide success and is still one of the songs most performed at their concerts. And for anyone losing sleep about Bono’s little mistake, nowadays at concerts he has changed the words a little, singing ‘early evening, April 4’.
In 2004, thanks to this song and even more to his great commitment to other social problems around the world, Bono received a King Center Award. This award for social commitment, commemorating Martin Luther King, is presented each year at the Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner in Atlanta. Bono was presented with the award by King’s wife Coretta King, who considered him a son. During that evening Bono explained why he had written ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ as a tribute to King: ‘I’m trying not to think too much about this award because if I think back to being a teenager in Ireland to when the troubles in the North of Ireland were really turning ugly and the arms struggle, as it was called, was taken up to defend the Catholics who were definitely being brutalized, we despaired for the lack of vision of the kind Dr. King offered people in the South in their struggle.’
U2 also performed the song at ‘We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial’ in January 2009. The concert took place on the site where Martin Luther King delivered his legendary speech in 1963. For footage of the concert, click here.
For the video of ‘Pride (In the Name of Love)’ click here.