10 Things You Might Not Know About U2's 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)'

By Dave Basner

August 23, 2019

Photo of U2

We're celebrating the '80s all weekend long. One of our favorite songs of the era is, of course, U2's "Pride (In The Name of Love)." Let's take a look back at this 1984 classic with 10 things you might now know about the track, including how Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination influenced the lyrics.

1. In the song, Bono sings “Early morning, April 4, shot rings out in the Memphis sky,” however Reverend King was actually shot in the evening. The singer has acknowledged the mistake and sometimes sings “early evening” when performing live. 

2.Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders provided back-up vocals on the track. She was thanked on the album as “Mrs. Christine Kerr” since at the time, she was married to Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr.

3. When U2 began working on “Pride,” it was about Ronald Reagan with lyrics criticizing the president’s pride, which led to nuclear escalation. Bono decided he didn’t want to give Reagan importance with a song so he changed the tune to be about a more deserving positive figure, MLK.

4. Recording the song was difficult for the group. They laid it down many times before scrapping them all, taking a break, and getting one they liked after starting over.

5. The band came up with the music for the tune during the soundcheck at the Hawaii gig of their 1983 tour. The engineers recorded soundchecks in case something just like this happened.

6. U2 was inspired by King after seeing an exhibit on him at the Chicago Peace Museum in 1983. At that same museum, there was a display on the victims of the Hiroshima bombing. It was called “The Unforgettable Fire,” a title the band would use for another song and the album title.

7. While the song is about Martin Luther King, Jr., it's also about anyone who resisted non-violently and who died for preaching about the equality of men. MLK is the primary example of such a person.

8. The song became the band’s first top 40 hit in America.

9. After the release of the song, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, invited the group to the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta. They took her up on it during their 1984 US tour.

10. The track wasn’t the only tribute to King on the album. The last song on the record, “MLK,” was also created as an homage to the civil rights activist.

iHeartRadio is celebrating the totally awesome '80s all weekend long and counting down the 80 biggest hits of the decade. So, break out your leg warmers, tease up that hair and jam out to all of your favorite '80s songs this weekend by tuning into iHeart80s Radio on your iHeartRadio app.

Photo: Getty

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