Bono Says U2 And Music ‘Literally Saved My Life’ After Mother’s Tragic Passing
U2 frontman Bono recently joined The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast for an interview. During the conversation, he revealed that U2 and music are the two things that saved him after experiencing his mother’s death at an early age.
Bono was born Paul David Hewson in Dublin, Ireland, on May 10, 1960, as the second child of Iris and Brendan Robert ‘Bob’ Hewson. Back on September 10, 1974, when Bono was just 14 years old, his mother passed away after suffering a cerebral aneurysm during her father’s funeral.
As he was a young boy at the time of the tragic incident, this left a deep scar in Bono. During his career with U2, he wrote numerous songs inspired by the loss of his mother and the grief he felt, including ‘Mofo,’ ‘Out Of Control,’ ‘Lemon,’ ‘I Will Follow,’ and ‘Tomorrow.’
Back on November 3, 2021, U2 released the song ‘Your Song Saved My Life’ as the film ‘Sing 2’s soundtrack, and Bono voiced the character Clay Calloway in the film. During an interview on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Bono was asked whether the song is inspired by the grief over his mother’s passing, just like other U2 songs.
After the host of the show reminded Bono of a previous remark he made saying that grief can make or break a voice, and it gave him his voice, Bono said that he didn’t have his mother in mind while writing the lyrics of ‘Your Song Saved My Life.’ He then added that the grief opened a whole chasm in him, and he filled it with music.
Following that, Bono stated this is precisely why music saved his life. He then said he is able to create songs from different points of view and revealed how he wrote the song ‘Your Song Saved My Life.’ According to Bono, the ‘Sing 2’ character Clay Calloway’s grief closed him up instead of opening him, although Bono himself was opened up by his mother’s grief.
During the conversation with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter, Bono said the following after being asked about his mother:
“Thank you for asking about my mother, her name is Iris. I didn’t have many memories of her. I wrote the song ‘Iris,’ and I’ve written a lot of things in a way to try and retrieve memories. She was not principly in mind when I was working on the lyrics for the song ‘You Saved My Life,’ but the character in the movie, Clay Calloway, was struck down by grief, but I was opened up by grief.
With the grief, certainly following my mother’s death, there’s no doubt that opened not just a hole in me but a whole chasm in me, and I tried to fill it with music. And I did fill it with music, but I could have filled it in other ways.”
He then continued:
“The music just literally saved my life. I was writing the lyrics of our song, I have a technique in music, which I don’t talk about a lot, which is I can reverse a point of view. So, in a song, let’s say U2’s ‘All I Want Is You,’ people think I’m singing it from my point of view, but I’m singing it from the point of another point of view: from my partner’s point of view. I’m singing it in that direction. If you listen to it, you’ll realize it makes a lot more sense that way.
So, in the song ‘Your Song Saved My Life,’ I’m writing it from the point of view of the character Scarlett Johansson plays the character called Ash. She meets this character whose grief, instead of opening him up, has closed him. She’s saying, ‘what are you hiding behind those eyes? Who are you hiding? Can anyone find you there? Your song saved my life.’ And the implication is, ‘You don’t sing it just to survive, you’re singing it to stay alive. You keep me alive.’
I mean, it works from very different points of view. I wanted to own up to the fact that I am still a fan; we started out as fans. We went to see the Clash, and we went to see the Ramones. They changed our life. We turned that hole… we’ve all our own crosses to pair, but with music, you turn that pain and rage into beauty.“
You can listen to U2’s ‘Your Song Saved My Life’ below.