U2 singer Bono and guitarist The Edge posted an unplugged, emotional version of their iconic 1983 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday” over the weekend. In the four-minute clip, the two rock icons stand side-by-side in a spare recording studio as they harmonize on the chorus to the song from their War album that chronicled the Jan. 30, 1972 incident in which British soldiers shot unarmed civilian protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland; 26 people were shot by the soldiers, with 14 killed.
In an update to the powerful track’s lyrics, Bono tweaked the song’s final verse with the lines, “Here at the murder scene/ The virus of fiction, reality TV/ Why so many mothers cry/ Religion is the enemy of the Holy Spirit guide/ And the battle just begun/ Where is the victory Jesus won?”
In addition to the black and white footage of the U2 principals, the video also features an overlay of archival footage of the aftermath of the shooting spree, including the searing image of a Catholic priest waving a white handkerchief while escorting the body of 17-year-old Jackie Duddy, who was the first person killed by British soldiers.
The message accompanying the video read simply, “30 January 2022 — With love, Bono & Edge.” And though the rock icons have won 22 Grammy awards and are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bono recently appeared on the Awards Chatter podcast where he revealed that he hasn’t always love the way his voice sounded on the group’s early recordings.
“The band sound incredible. I just found the voice very strained and kind of not macho and my Irish macho was kind of strained by that,” he said. “A big discovery for me was listening to The Ramones and hearing the beautiful kind of sound of Joey Ramone and realizing I didn’t have to be that rock and roll singer. But I only became a singer recently. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet for some people’s ears, and I understand that.”
He also said he has felt embarrassed while listening to some of the songs. “I’ve been in a car when one of our songs has come on the radio, and I’ve been the color of — as we say in Dublin — scarlet,” he explained. “I’m just embarrassed. And yeah, I mean, I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot. And maybe that’s the place to be as an artist is, you know, right at the edge of your level of pain for embarrassment, your level of embarrassment. And the lyrics as well. I feel that on Boy and other albums it was sketched out very unique and original material. But I don’t think I filled in the details.”
Watch Bono and The Edge perform “Sunday Bloody Sunday” below.
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