Bad (U2 song)

Bad (U2 song)

Infobox Song
Name = Bad

Artist = U2
Album = The Unforgettable Fire
Released = 1 October 1984
track_no = Track 7
Recorded =
Genre = Rock
Length = 6:09
Writer = U2
Composer = Bono
Label = Island
Producer = Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois
Chart position = * #19 (US Mainstream Rock Tracks)
prev = "4th of July"
prev_no = Track 6
next = "Indian Summer Sky"
next_no = Track 8Extra tracklisting
Album = Wide Awake in America
Type = ep
Background = lightsalmon
prev_track =
prev_no =
this_track = "Bad" (live)
track_no = Track 1
next_track = "A Sort of Homecoming" (live)
next_no = Track 2
Extra tracklisting
Album = The Best of 1980-1990
Type = compilation
prev_track = "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
prev_no = Track 5
this_track = "Bad" (edit)
track_no = Track 6
next_track = "Where the Streets Have No Name"
next_no = Track 7
"Bad" is the seventh track from U2's 1984 album, "The Unforgettable Fire". Often considered a fan favorite, it is one of U2's most frequently performed songs in concert. [ [ U2 VERTIGO TOUR 2005/2006] ] It is also the first track on the Wide Awake in America EP.


"Bad", like many of U2's songs, was born of an improvised guitar riff during a loose jam session at Slane Castle, Ireland. A testament to the influence of producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, The Edge's characteristic minimalist guitar sound is accompanied by atmospheric, ambient echo effects.

Bono's vague lyrics have led to many fan interpretations of the song's meaning, but Bono frequently told the story behind the song in concert: the song is about heroin—specifically, about a friend of Bono's "who was given on his 21st birthday enough heroin into his bloodstream to kill him." [ [ The Story of U2's 'Unforgettable Fire'] ]

Live Aid

For a band still relatively unknown when compared with their fellow performers at Live Aid in 1985, U2 is often cited for their fiery performance at the concert in London. Along with "Sunday Bloody Sunday", U2 played an epic twelve-minute (over twice the length of the studio recording) version of "Bad". The song was extended further by snippets of Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" and "Walk on the Wild Side", and The Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" and "Sympathy for the Devil", Bono also utilized a two-minute instrumental interlude to dance with a fan offstage. The performance was so long that the band was only able to play two of the three songs in their set, leaving out "Pride (In the Name of Love)" which was supposed to end the band's performance. [, [ 1985-07-13, London setlist] , accessed 20 March 2008; McCormick, Neil (ed), (2006). "U2 by U2". HarperCollins Publishers, pages 162, ISBN 0-00-719668-7.] The rest of the band were furious about this stunt, something that bothered Bono so much that he spent the following week out of the public eye. Only a week later he realized that the dance with the fan became a key image of Live Aid. [Bono on Bono] In July of 2005, around the time of the similar Live 8 concerts, the fan whom Bono danced with at Live Aid alleged that he actually saved her life, as she was being pushed against the barrier by the crowd and would've been crushed to death had Bono not noticed. [ [ How Bono Saved Me] ]


A staple of U2's concert tours of the 1980s, "Bad" was also frequently performed during the first four legs of the 1992–1993 Zoo TV Tour. Although not played until the 4th leg of the PopMart Tour of 1997 and 1998, it returned to the normal setlist for 2001's Elevation Tour and saw occasional performances during the Vertigo Tour of 2005 and 2006, sometimes even appearing as the closing song for shows. [ Setlist Archives]

Bono is known for singing a wide variety of snippets during performances of "Bad". Lyrics from over 50 different songs have been included in "Bad", ranging from brief quotes of a single line through to multiple verses. These snippets are typically sung after the "I'm not sleeping" line and Bono has included up to six different excerpts in a single performance of "Bad". Performances without at least one snippet are very rare.


Although "Bad" was never released a single, it has become a fan favorite. It is the first track on the 1985 EP "Wide Awake in America", this being a live version recorded at London's Wembley Arena. This is often the version chosen for American radio, and includes prerecorded rhythm tracks. Three other versions of "Bad" have been officially released by the band. An edit of the version from "The Unforgettable Fire" appears on "The Best of 1980-1990"—notably, "Bad" is the only non-single to appear on the track listing for the compilation album (although a hidden version of "October" is included as well).

In addition to the live performance included on "Wide Awake in America", a live version of "Bad" from 1987's "Joshua Tree" Tour appears on the rockumentary "Rattle and Hum". Also, the release of "The Complete U2" in 2004 produced another live version of "Bad" appearing on the digital album "Live from the Point Depot"."Bad" was also the opening theme song for the movie "Taking Lives", starring Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke.


External links

* [ Bad's performance history at] —Lists all concerts at which "Bad" has been performed.
* [ "Bad" Lyrics] directly from

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