U2 performing in Dublin circa 1981 courtesy
Last Sunday, our praise team performed an old U2 song. It brought back memories of my wedding reception and the song "Mysterious Ways". U2 is the most famous musical group to come out of Ireland. The band, originally an overtly Christian one, formed in 1976. Four years alter, they released their debut album, Boy. In 1983, they debuted the album War, which rose to number 1 on the UK charts.
The single "Sunday Bloody Sunday", featured on the War album, cemented the foursome as a socially conscious rock group. The tune focusses on an incident in Derry where troops open fired on hundreds of unarmed protesters rallying against Operation Demetrius related internment. After the smoke cleared, 13 people lay dead in the street. The incident would be known as part of The Troubles, a thirty year long period of political unrest in Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998.
The band started performing Sunday Bloody Sunday, not as a terrorist song, not as a rebel song, but as a peace song, driven home by the white flag that Bono used to wave. The song's militaristic beat reminds us of the British troops while the violin reminds us of its Celtic roots. Sunday Bloody Sunday became a battle cry for peace around the world. U2 played it at their Live Aid performance. They also performed it nightly on their tour of war torn Yugoslavia in 1997.
Protest which turned violent on Bloody Sunday, 1972 courtesy http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/bloody_sunday.