A Sort Of Homecoming
by U2

Album: The Unforgettable Fire (1984)


  • The title comes from Jewish poet Paul Celan, who wrote: "Poetry is a sort of homecoming." Celan drowned himself in the Seine river in 1970.
  • This is the first track on The Unforgettable Fire, the first U2 album produced by Brian Eno. It had a different sound than previous U2 albums, as Eno buried the guitar in the mix.
  • Brian Eno slowed down the drum track on this song later in the Unforgettable Fire sessions and told Bono to improvise lyrics over it. The result was included on the album as "Elvis Presley and America." Many people have speculated, but no one knows for sure what Bono is saying. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    adam - Toronto, Canada
  • A live version was included on their 1985 album Wide Awake In America.

Comments: 16

  • Signals from San Diego, CaStephen Fowler has the right answer. This song is about the bomb blasts in Japan.
  • Stephen Fowler from Abbotsford, British ColumbiaMy understanding is that the band had visited an exhibition called The Unforgettable Fire that dealt with the two Atomic bomb blasts in Japan. This song is about a citizen of Hiroshima or Nagasaki viewing the destruction from a distance and contemplating the death and, the potential rebirth of the city.
  • Doug Bougher from IndianaI believe that this song alludes to Bono's mother and her passing, much in the same way that he used the October album as a catharsis. His line "she will die and live again" and "don't sorrow, no don't weep, for tonight I am coming home" I believe is a reference to his Christian faith and him speaking for his mother regarding her being in heaven. JMHO
  • Myla from San Diego, CaI always thought that the phrase "She will die and live again tonight" was about Ireland or the land regenerating itself.
  • Jon from Fort Collins, Cohmmm...well how about this in the vein of The Da Vinci Code:
    The song is about the daughter of Jesus fleeing Jerusalem.

    Even Catholic rock n rollers are rebels...
  • Squid from Los Angeles, CaIn a biograpghy "Bono" By Michka Assayas, Bono is quoted many times that his songs durring that time are about his childhood in Dublin, history of Ireland, and his relationship with god and his dealing with alcoholism
  • Mike from Nashville, TnThe lead track on without a doubt my favorite U2 album. I know "The Joshua Tree" and HTDMTAB and AYCLB and Acthung Baby get most of the awards and airplay, but this album is solid from start to finish. The fact that the most played song (Pride) isn't even the best song on the album says something. (I like this one and Bad before Pride, although it too is a great song.)
  • Giulia from Padova, ItalyI love this song, every time I listen to it I can see the green irish lands, the cloudy sky, the cliffs...and Bono's voice is at his best, it enters in my veins, I can feel it in my stomach...and I can't think about anything else...it's the soundtrack of the most intense and breathtaking lovestory of my life, "A sort of homecoming" makes it special, thanks U2..
  • Lily from Godrics Hallow, Englandthis is my favorite song and one of their best!! it's to bad bono forgot the lyrics in one of their concerts! lol
  • J from Ny, NyIMHO the song is about returning to Ireland. 'Fields of morning clouds in the distance' always reminded me of the Dublin Galway road.
  • Jerrybear from Flint, Mithis song came out when I was in college and just getting into progressive politics...one of the big issues of the day was the nuclear weapons race and the superpower tension between the United States and Soviet Union...so my impression of this song was that it was someone going back to a home destroyed in a nuclear war...of course it could be about any number of other things, i suppose, but that was my take at the time and still pretty much is...
  • Ktisma from Glendora, CaThe song seems to be about more than orgasm references...
    It's about a war torn place (at least a terroized place) where an innocent victim (the "She" in the song) payed the ultimate price...
    The "coming home" is a classic Christian reference to heaven.
  • Robert from Norfolk, VaWow. I just found this site and I am instantly it new great proponent. Smart intellectual music lovers unite. tell your kids pop is crap. Bono has definately done his homework. One of the greatest feelings is recongizing hidden allusions in art. "And we live by the side of the road," seems certain to be an allusion to Sam Walter Foss' famous 1897 poem, "House By the Side of the Road." Considering that Bono says, "And WE live by the side of the road...," this is an important insight into the song because of the message of the inspiring poem by Foss. It aligns with and further illuminates the ever-deepening integrity (despite the silly "rock star" glitz necessary to get his/their point[s] across to the predominantly stupid masses) of Bono (Paul), Larry, Edge (Dave) and Adam.
  • Sean from Middlesex, EnglandI think the live version on the Wide Awake.. album, is much better than the album version.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvWhat a terrific song this is. One of their best.
  • Erik from Davis, CaThe lyric "She will die and live again tonight" is a reference to an orgasm
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