\"With or Without You\" features sustained guitar parts played by guitarist the Edge with a prototype of the Infinite Guitar, along with vocals by lead singer Bono and a bassline by bassist Adam Clayton. The song originated from a demo recorded in late 1985 that the group continued to work on throughout The Joshua Tree sessions. Ostensibly a troubled love song, the track's lyrics were inspired by Bono's conflicting feelings about the lives he led as a musician and domestic man.
Bono and his friend Gavin Friday continued to work on the song after Lanois and Eno declined to do so. Bono credits Friday with rescuing the song and rearranging it, believing it could be a hit. Eno added a keyboard arpeggio, similar to the one from \"Bad\". The song's fate was still in doubt when the Edge was sent a prototype of the Infinite Guitar by Canadian musician Michael Brook, with whom he had collaborated for the Captive soundtrack. The instrument allowed sustained notes to be played, producing \"a similar effect to the E-Bow\", but with the ability to provide all the \"mid-points between no sustain and infinite sustain\" that the E-Bow cannot provide. The prototype included elaborate assembly instructions and as the Edge recollects, \"one wrongly placed wire and you could get a nasty belt of electricity. This piece of gear would have failed even the most basic of safety regulations.\" On subsequent tours, his guitar technician occasionally received electric shocks from the instrument when preparing it for performances.
Bono wrote the lyrics during his first night visiting the Côte d'Azur in 1986, while struggling to reconcile his responsibilities as both a married man and a musician.His wanderlust in belonging to a musical act was often at odds with his domestic life. While writing the lyrics, he realised that neither facet of his life defined him, but rather the tension between the two did. He explained that the final lyric is about torment and how repressing desires only makes them stronger.
A stanza begins in which Bono sings the song's title in a high, passionate voice as the drums get heavier. At 3:03, the song bursts out in emotion as Bono begins open-throated \"Oh-oh-oh-ohh\" vocals, which are double-tracked, and the rhythm increases to play sixteenth notes on the guitar, cymbals, and tambourine. After another stanza of Bono repeating the song's title, the music dies down at 3:38 to a similar state as it was at the beginning of the song. Ten seconds later, Bono sings in a falsetto while a bass synthesiser doubles the bass guitar. After the vocals complete, The Edge begins a simple guitar figure. He explained that its understated nature was meant to resist the temptation to play an intricate guitar solo as an ending. The second time the figure is played, the signature guitar riff from earlier re-appears and the song regains some of its intensity. The song concludes with a fade-out.
The lyrics ostensibly describe a troubled relationship between two lovers, although the lyrics have been interpreted in religious contexts. The Washington Post interpreted the song as both an acerbic love song and a tune lamenting the moral contradictions one faces with their religious faith. Toby Creswell echoed these sentiments, saying it \"can be read as a song about either marital romance or spiritual need\". Bono explained that the lyrics had romantic intentions, saying, \"there's nothing more revolutionary than two people loving each other. One, 'cause it's so uncommon these days, and two, 'cause it's so difficult to do.\" In 1987, Bono explained that \"And you give yourself away\" lyric refers to how he sometimes feels exposed being in U2, and that his openness, both to the public and music press, can do damage to the group. Author Niall Stokes interpreted the line as encompassing the theme of \"surrendering the ego\" to one's love and spiritual faith. According to Bono, the song was heavily influenced by Scott Walker's album Climate of Hunter.
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U2's \"With or Without You\" was a No. 1 single for the group in the U.S., Canada and their native Ireland. The song almost didn't come together at all, however. In a now-classic story, lead singer Bono had to convince the other U2 members not to throw it away. Watch the music video for the song under the Morgan clip.
Harrington, a world-class soloist and chamber musician from Dublin, is known for his unique mixture of classical influences of the likes of Bach and Beethoven with new arrangements of contemporary popular songs. 59ce067264