With or Without You – U2

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………….on May 17th of 1987 U2 find themselves at #1 on Billboard with the song “With or Without You” from their LP “The Joshua Tree”. This was U2’s first #1 hit in the US. It was the first U2 single to do better in America than in England. The lyrics are about relationships, but can be interpreted many ways. They were written by Bono, who wanted to write a love song that dealt with real issues in relationships. In 1987 Bono explained that everybody in the group knows what the line “And you give yourself away” means: “It’s about how I feel in U2 at times – exposed. I’m not going to do many interviews this year. Because there’s a cost to my personal life, and a cost to the group as well.” The Edge used a distortion device called an “Infinite Guitar” to create the wail. It was invented by Michael Brook, who The Edge worked with on the soundtrack for The Captive. Brook created the Infinite Guitar by replacing the pickup on a guitar with a magnetic device that vibrates the strings. Co-producer Daniel Lanois told Mojo magazine January 2008 about the recording of this song: “‘For ‘With Or Without You’ we had the rhythm and the chords then we were testing Michael Brook’s Infinite Guitar Invention. I asked Edge just to play a little something with it. He did two takes and those are the ones in the ultimate mix of ‘With Or Without You.’ Beautiful sounds, stratospheric.” “With or Without You” was voted best single of 1987 in a Rolling Stone magazine readers poll. Bono intended this as part of a trilogy with 2 other songs that did not make the album. At the time, he felt this did not make any sense without the other 2 songs. The song was also a Top 10 hit in the UK where it peaked at #4.