“Pride (In the Name of Love)” The second track on the band’s 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire, it was released as the album’s lead single in September 1984. Written about Martin Luther King, Jr., the song received mixed critical reviews at the time, but it was a major commercial success for the band and has since become one of the band’s most popular songs. It was named the 378th greatest song by Rolling Stone on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. “Pride” appeared on the compilation The Best of 1980-1990 as the opening track, and on the 2006 compilation U218 Singles.
The song had been intended to be about Ronald Reagan’s pride in America’s military power but after the lyricist Bono had been influenced by Stephen B. Oates’s book Let The Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and a biography of Malcolm X. these caused him to ponder the different sides of the civil rights campaigns, the violent and the non-violent. In subsequent years, Bono has expressed his dissatisfaction with the lyrics, which he describes, along with another Unforgettable Fire song “Bad”, as being “left as simple sketches”. He says he was swayed by The Edge and producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who played down the need to develop the lyrics as they thought their impressionistic nature would give added forcefulness to the song’s feeling, particularly when heard by non-English speakers.
“I looked at how glorious that song was and thought: ‘What the fuck is that all about?’ It’s just a load of vowel sounds ganging up on a great man. It is emotionally very articulate - if you didn’t speak English.”—Bono , U2 by U2
The song contains the erroneous reference to King’s shooting as “Early morning, April 4”, when it was actually after 6 p.m. Bono acknowledges the error and in live performances he occasionally changes the lyric to “Early evening…”.
Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders sang backing vocals on the recording. She was married to Jim Kerr of Simple Minds at the time and she is credited as “Christine Kerr”
Three music videos were made. The first was shot in August by director Donald Cammell and features opening and closing shots of the Dublin Docklands area. Two versions of this video exist; black and white and colour (sepia). The band was not satisfied with Cammell’s video, and they agreed to their principal photographer, Anton Corbijn, shooting an alternative. A “one-take” video filmed in a basement near London’s Heathrow Airport, it features U2 standing sternly in front of a wall under poor lighting conditions.
The U2 camp was also unimpressed with this video and a third video is produced by compiling footage shot during The Unforgettable Fire recording sessions at Slane Castle. The original (black and white) Cammell video was primarily used in promotion