Pride (In the Name of Love) is one of U2’s biggest anthems, the lead single from the band’s 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire. The song was a huge commercial success for the band, although, at the time, critical reviews were mixed. The song ranks #388 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The song is associated with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement but also references “one man caught on a barbed wire fence” and “one man betrayed by a kiss,” the later a possible allusion to Jesus. Initially the song was intended as commentary on Ronald Reagan’s pride in America’s military power, but Apocrypha credits Stephen B. Oates’s book Let The Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a biography of Malcolm X with affecting Bono deeply enough to change course and consider the different sides of the civil rights campaigns, the violent and the non-violent.
The song contains the erroneous reference to King’s shooting as “Early morning, April 4,” when it actually occurred after 6 p.m. Bono has openly acknowledged the error, and in live performances, he will occasionally correct the lyric to “Early evening….”
Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang backing vocals on the recording. She was married to Jim Kerr of Simple Minds at the time, and she is credited on the record as “Christine Kerr.”
The song has never lost its significance in the thirty plus years since its release; its message to our current troubled times remains clear. Here are some recent covers of Pride (In The Name Of Love).
You decide who does it best:
Love and Light:
Heather Joseph ~ Lead Vocals/Guitar
Steve Cioppa – Drums/Percussion
Clint Potter ~ Bass/Vocals
Jon Stafford ~ Lead Guitar/Vocals
Kennedy + Sydney:
AJ, Nia Imani, Kathryn Dean & Joe Dias: