Producer: Steve Lillywhite
Recorded: Winter 1982 at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland
Released: March 1983
|Bono Vox — vocals
The Edge — guitar, piano, vocals
Adam Clayton — bass
Larry Mullen, Jr. — drums
Steve Wickham — fiddle
The leadoff track from U2‘s third album, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was a call for peace inspired by the “troubles” in Northern Ireland.
Frontman Bono has frequently referred to it as “a rebel song.”
Bono also cited Bob Marley as an influence on the song, whose key line is “How long must we sing this song?”
Bono often accompanied U2’s live performance of the song by carrying a white flag around the stage and leading the crowd in a defiant chant of “No more!”
“Sunday Bloody Sunday” was not specifically inspired by Ireland’s two “Bloody Sundays.” The first was a 1920 assassination of British undercover agents by the original, Michael Collins-led Irish Republican Army, and a subsequent revenge attack on a soccer crowd in Dublin’s Croke Park. The second was a 1972 attack by British troops on a civil rights parade in Derry.
Steve Wickham, who played fiddle on “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” went on to join the Irish bands In Tua Nua and the Waterboys.
The War album was U2’s commercial breakthrough, climbing to Number 12 on the Billboard 200 and debuting at Number One on the U.K. chart.
The album was also something of a healing exercise for the band, as bassist Adam Clayton had become estranged from U2’s practicing Christians — Bono, guitarist The Edge, and drummerLarry Mullen, Jr. Bono recalled that the strained relationship impacted on the music: “The uptightness of that album is something I feel — tight, taut, words choked, not singing them well.”
Producer Steve Lillywhite broke a personal rule of not working with the same band more than twice by producing War, which was his third effort for U2. He was forced into it, however — U2 first chose Roxy Music veteran Rhett Davies, but when that didn’t work out, the group went to Lillywhite to help bail them out.