Since there’s not much going on with U2 this Christmas that doesn’t involve food tech startups and Omaze contests, this is the perfect time to update my wildly popular (sure it was!) “A Very U2 Christmas” post from last year. Put your pink-Adam-in-a-Santa-hat sticker on your (RED) shirt, pour some Irish cream in your coffee and settle in to reflect on U2 Christmas songs, lyrics and other references one more time. I added a new one this year that I think you’ll love!
What’s your favorite U2 Christmas reference? I don’t just mean U2 Christmas song, because there are U2 Christmas songs, lyrics, collaborations, melodies and more! Like Bono busking on Grafton Street one week from today (he better do actual Christmas songs this year!), I’m giving it my all when it comes to listing all the U2 Christmas references ever recorded (if I missed any, please speak up!).
What’s your favorite? Could it be…
- That Geldof-ian charity anthem from 1984 by Band Aid (which is Bono and a bunch of other people who are great but not quite as great as him), “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” Guess what: There’s a tribute to it that’s way better than the 2014 reboot! It was done by some of the best musical tributes in the Los Angeles area, including Joe Hier of Hollywood U2 as Bono, who produced the whole thing (bonus: It was mixed and mastered by his very own The Edge, Hollywood U2’s Stevie Adams). Watch the video here; the group, Tribute Band Aid, recommends donations to the official Band Aid 30 charity.
- The aforementioned 2014 reboot of said song. Never heard it? Well tonight, thank God it’s them instead of you. The cause is still great, but the song doesn’t hold a Christmas candle to the original – and Bono gets a whole different lyric! Boooo.
- Also from 2014, one that some fans might not be aware of: Bono doing a spoken word intro for contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith on his album The Spirit of Christmas. The song is called “The Darkest Midnight,” and although Bono doesn’t sing on it, he whispers in a husky voice about the birth of Jesus at the beginning – making this a great one to add to your U2 Christmas repertoire! (Fun fact: The title How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb has been linked to an answer Bono gave Michael W. Smith when Smith asked Bono how we can help solve the AIDS crisis in Africa. Here’s one version of that story on @atU2.)
- The 1987 U2 Christmas anthem for the ages, “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home,” U2’s cover of Darlene Love’s 1963 recording. Like all those times it joined Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s “Little Drummer Boy” on the MTV Top 10 Christmas Countdown so many years ago, this U2 Christmas song still deserves recognition. How cool would it be to hear them perform this again? Let’s get that trending, shall we?
- The somber Christmas references in “If God Will Send His Angels” (Pop) or “Peace on Earth” (ATYCLB). From the first one:
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth?
This peace on Earth
- And from the second one: Does love light up your Christmas tree? It might just be one of the best lyrics on Pop.
- From “Miss Sarajevo”: Is there a time for tying ribbons? A time for Christmas trees?
- “White as Snow,” an incredible track from NLOTH that doesn’t get its due – no Christmas references in the lyrics, but it is partially set to the tune of the Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” When promoting No Line back in 2009, Bono spoke about this song with tremendous pride.
- “I Believe in Father Christmas,” the flawless U2 cover of Greg Lake’s 1977 Christmas song. This one came out in 2008 with your annual Starbucks Christmas CD, benefiting (RED) for World Aids Day. I’m thinking this is my #1 U2 Christmas song. What’s yours?
Photo credit: Redbubble seller Bluebondy (see Pink Adam sticker link)