U2 – With Or Without You
The song was written by the band member, and produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. “With or Without You” was released on arch 16, 1987 as the lead single from their fifth studio album, “The Joshua Tree”. The song was a huge commercial success. The song was the group’s most successful single at the time, becoming their first number-one hit in both the United States and Canada by topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and the RPM national singles chart for one week. In the UK, it peaked at #4.
Musically, “With or Without You” is a slow-burning ballad that builds in intensity as it progresses. The song’s opening riff, played on a synthesizer by The Edge, is instantly recognizable and sets the mood for the rest of the song. Bono’s vocals are also a standout, with his emotive delivery adding to the song’s emotional power. Two videos were shot in Dublin in February 1987 and were co-directed by Meiert Avis and Matt Mahurin. The first includes abstracts shots of dancer (and Edge’s future wife) Morleigh Steinberg edited in between shots of the band playing the song. A second alternative version can be found in the Super Deluxe version of the album.
The song’s lyrics are a powerful exploration of love, desire, and the complexity of human relationships. The narrator is torn between their desire to be with their partner and their fear of being consumed by their passion, with the lines “And you give yourself away / And you give yourself away / And you give / And you give / And you give yourself away” becoming one of the most memorable and emotive parts of the song.
Overall, “With or Without You” is a classic rock ballad that showcases U2’s talent for crafting emotionally resonant songs. Its memorable melody, iconic opening riff, and powerful lyrics have helped it endure as one of the band’s most enduring and beloved songs.