The Joshua Tree – Bullet the Blue Sky

U2 goes political.

Bullet the Blue Sky is a political song that condemns US foreign policy for promoting unrest in Central America and was inspired by Bono’s trip to Central America in 1958 with Amnesty International.  Bono wanted  Edge to play a song that amplified the troubles that he saw and experienced while in El Salvador.  Arguably their most political song, over time the band has changed the politics of the song from everything from Nazism to consumerism.

Overall the song doesn’t resonate much with me.  However, there are three great parts in Rattle & Hum.

  • Adam Clayton as a lead up to the song, smoking a cigarette in a bar, drinking a beer.  His philosophy – people who don’t think you can mix music and politics is complete bullshit.  His only solo screen time in the film, and he nails his part.
  • When The Edge blisters through his guitar solo, Bono grabs a large spotlight and hovers over and around The Edge framing him in the light. Soon after, he swings the spotlight in to the crowd as Edge continues to ‘play the blues’.  Very theatrical and effective.
  • During the pontification portion of the song, Bono belts out, “the God I believe in isn’t short of cash … mister”.

For me, the most important legacy of the song is the lyrics inspired the name of the live album and movie that followed The Joshua Tree album:

In the locust wind comes a rattle and hum

Jacob wrestled the angel

And the angel was overcome


So for that reason and spotlight maneuvering, I’m looking forward to seeing this song live (and maybe I’ll trip over Adam in a bar before the show).

C. Smith

Author: C. Smith

    “All you have to do is write one true sentence.” Ernest Hemingway I’m no Hemingway. But this web creation is a part of writing that one true sentence. Of being inspired by fellow contributors that have, if not something meaningful, but interesting to say and are willing to invest energy beyond 140 characters. Of creating an open forum for these ideas, capturing a thought or a moment in time. But more importantly, this is about a personal commitment to putting a thought to paper and throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks. Enjoy.

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