Home Music What’s the Story Behind U2’s “Bad”?

What’s the Story Behind U2’s “Bad”?


U2 has an amazing catalogue of songs and albums spanning four decades. Deciding on their best song would likely lead to a fierce debate and possibly fisticuffs. “One” is near the top of the list. “Beautiful Day”…”Love and Peace or Else”…”God Part II”…There’s a dozen more songs that could easily be in the debate. However, I might rank “Bad” from 1984’s Unforgettable Fire as their best song ever.

“Pride (In the Name of Love)” was the single released from Unforgettable Fire that got all of the fanfare (rightfully so; it’s a song about Martin Luther King, Jr.). Pride still gets regular airplay on radio stations across the dial. However, it’s album-mate deserves a little more attention and love. It’s a fantastic song! U2 played “Bad” regularly in concerts throughout the 80s. I did not know then that it was a song about heroin.

Bono shared this backstory during a concert:

“‘Bad’ is just a huge promise of a song. A friend of mine, about as close as you can get, squandered his intelligence and his gifts to heroin. Dublin in the late Seventies and early Eighties was a capital for smack. The Shah of Iran had been deposed, and people smuggled their money out of that country in white gold and pearls, by which I mean heroin. It was cheaper than weed, it was cheaper than smoking spliff, and a lot of sweet teenage kids, who just liked to smoke a little bit of ganja, were offered this cheap high, something beyond their imagination… I tried to describe that with the song, ‘Bad’, what it was to feel that rush, to feel that elation, and then go on to the nod, awful sleep that comes with that drug…”


Heavy message, great song!

We leave with you with “Bad“…



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