"Pride (In the Name of Love)," is best known as a tribute to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., written and performed by the Irish band U2. It didn't start that way, however. The song was originally intended to mock then (US) President Ronald Reagan's "pride" in his nation's military strength. It was changed to honor Dr. King after lead singer/songwriter Bono read biographies about Dr. King and fellow civil rights icon Malcolm X.
The band wrote the music for the song during a tour stop in Hawaii. They finished it while recording songs for their breakthrough album, "The Unforgettable Fire," at Windmill Lane Studios. (The video includes shaky-cam video of people walking through the castle where they recorded.) Despite a mixed critical response, the song went on to be one of U2's biggest hits of their "political songs" era, and remains a staple of old-school alternative rock stations.
Bono has expressed disappointment in the lyrics, saying they were incomplete and rushed due to pressure from bandmates and producers. That might partly explain the historical error in the song that has no doubt tripped up a few high school students through the years: Dr. King was shot after 6 p.m. on April 4, not "early morning," as Bono describes in the lyrics. He has since begun correcting the lyrics in concert to be "early evening."
Pride (In the Name of Love) - from Rattle and Hum
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