U2101 – All Because of You

Today’s topic is a song that I don’t hear fans talking about very often, but one that U2 thought highly enough of to release as a single. I’m talking about “All Because of You”, from U2’s 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. “All Because of You” was released as a single in Canada in February of 2005, and in the rest of the world starting in October of that same year. The song performed reasonably well in the charts, peaking in the top ten in several countries, including reaching number one in Canada.


Musically, “All Because of You” is a fast paced rock ‘n’ roll number, with lots of guitar and a rapid, off balance drum beat. It’s a noisy and raucous track that’s equal parts playful and aggressive, with a strong melody and a hook in the chorus that ranks for me as one of the most-singable that U2 has ever written. The song also contains something that I’d been waiting a long time for when the song debuted as part of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in late 2004: a scream from Bono, right before Edge rips into one of his most blistering guitar solos ever. The lyrics to “All Because of You” are all about the effect that an ambiguous “you” has had on Bono’s life. The song isn’t clear exactly who the “you” being sung about is; it could be a fan, it could be Ali, it could even be God. What is clear is that this entity’s involvement in Bono’s life has had a deep impact.


This song is the subject of what is probably my favorite promotional video that U2 has ever made. The video was filmed in Manhattan in late 2004, with the band performing on the back of a flat-bed truck that was being driven around the city. The video does a nice job of capturing the energy of the song, as passers-by react to the band’s presence. It also serves as a reminder that U2 is the biggest band in the world, as it’s hard to imagine any other contemporary bands duplicating this idea. It’s something that The Beatles might have done in their hey-day if the clever idea had occurred to them, and the behavior of fans on the sidewalks around the band mirrors video footage I’ve seen of “Beatle-mania”.


“All Because of You” was played at nearly three quarters of the Vertigo Tours shows, especially during the tour’s first two legs. As the tour progressed into the third leg (the second trip around North America) the song began to be phased out, until it was omitted entirely on the fifth and final leg of the tour. By that time, the tour was focused more on promoting the compilation album U218 Singles and several songs from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb were dropped. I actually think that “All Because of You” has a chance to be played live again once U2 get back on the road. We know that the band like to play high-tempo and high-energy songs live, and this is one of the most energetic songs they’ve ever recorded. It would be perfect for a rotating spot on the next portion of the Innocence + Experience tour.

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Ever since I realized as a kid, while poring over the liner notes of the Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom boxed set, that writing about music was a viable career choice, one of my greatest desires has been to write about U2. The band has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute a little something to the fantastic online community that's been built around the band.

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