Bono Shares The Song U2 Needed To Write To Survive
U2 had problems in the early ’90s regarding their musical direction. Clayton and Mullen wanted to continue on the same line, while Bono and Edge wanted to try new things. This tension had increased so much that they almost caused their disbandment. Bono discussed that time on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and said that ‘One’ was the band’s savior.
“We wrote that song because it was the song we needed to hear as a band because we were right at loggerheads,” he said, remembering how persistent the band members were about their opposing ideas at the time. “And the band breaks up all the time and then gets back together again is the truth. We don’t tell anyone, but that’s what it feels like. And yeah, that song, we really needed it.”
As for their source of inspiration, the frontman said that the historical incidents that occurred during their recording process significantly impacted their work. Bono recalled, “We’re in Berlin. The Wall had just come down, and we were recording in Berlin, and the Wall was coming up in our studio, which was mad. There you go.”
The band members continued to spend time in the studio, even though they were really tense, and ‘One’ was a product of improvised sessions. As you know, the early ’90s marked a crucial period for Europe’s sociopolitical plane due to the German Reunification. After the chord progression played by the Edge inspired his bandmates, Bono wrote the lyrics thinking about both the political climate and U2’s broken relationship, and ‘One’ appears to have saved U2 from disbandment.
After ‘One,’ the band composed the remaining material for their album with their morale up. The recordings continued when they returned to Dublin, having overcome the tension in Germany with ‘One.’ Finally, their 1991 release ‘Achtung Baby’ was out. With its darker sound, its lyrical content that was successfully observing its context, and its musical composition that was born out of jam sessions, it became one of the most successful albums in U2’s history.