Crumbs From Your Table
by U2

Album: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (2004)
  • Bono wrote the lyrics about how rich countries (especially the United States) give third-world countries only the crumbs from their tables, meaning very little relief in helping these poor nations out of debt: "Where you live should not decide, whether you live or whether you die." Bono has been involved in a number of humanitarian efforts. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bill - Slippery Rock, PA
  • Bono (from Q Magazine November 2004): "I went to speak to Christian fundamentalist groups in America to convince them to give money to fight AIDS in Africa. It was like getting blood from a stone. I told them about a hospice in Uganda where so many people were dying they had to sleep three to a bed. Sister Anne, who I mention in the song, works at that hospice. Her office is a sewer."
  • Bono and the Edge wrote this after a night of drinking. Bono recalls in the book U2 by U2: "We were out, it was very late, the sun was coming up. I'm not a late-night person, but Edge is like an owl. He would just sit there and days could go by and he wouldn't need sleep. So he didn't want to go to bed and we ended up getting the guitar and singing, off our faces, one of those moments where two mates are not talking sense but they're doing it at the same time and then, eventually, it sort of coagulates into a thought and out came this beautiful song, words, title, melody, boom, it all arrived in the middle of this lunatic night."

Comments: 15

  • Leo from Westminster 1, MdAbsolutely Heartbreaking and Brilliant Classic Rock Performance! Crumbs from Your Table is also one of the saddest artworks U2 have done. It also asks a question-Is there any dignity left? What can I do to help? Bono is a regular guy with a kind heart. I have a lot of respect for Bono and his friends Edge, Adam and Larry because U2 are Classic Rock at its best! They deserve to be in the same sentence as Dylan, Springsteen, Mellencamp and Madonna-These Rockers are the last of their kind. U2 are a brilliant and good-hearted band because of a song like this. They will always have The Unforgettable Fire in their hearts. Well done, boys!
  • Tasmanian from Toronto, OnMy favorite U2 song! This song makes you think how fortunate you really are. "three to a bed, sister Anne. She says dignity passes you by." (heart felt line)
    From the brightest star (the richest people) comes the blackest hole (black holes absorb or take everything around them rather than give out anything)
    we can do a lot with just the "crumbs from our tables.
  • Jeff from Modesto, CaThe "brightest star" signifies the birth of Jesus and the blackest hole are now his church who like many say are very wealthy yet don't even provide the "crumbs from their table" to those in need. The church also spiritualizes everything and only offers their "soul" and "signs & wonders) not their physical, emotional or social efforts. I think Bono is trying to "wake up" Jesus' followers to take action concerning all the suffering around the world.
  • Kennedy from Hollywood, FlAll of the above about the lyrics are true, but Bono is also making a Biblical allusion to a story found in Matthew 15:21-28, where Jesus is reluctant to heal a woman's child because she is not of the children of Israel. She objects, and says to Jesus that even the dogs gets the crumbs from the master's table. At that point, Jesus compliments her faith and declares her daughter to be healed. It is a fascinating story, and perfect for this song. Bono seems to be taking the King James translation of the story. The dude knows his Bible. That's for sure.
  • Alecerveceroneco from Necochea, ArgentinaExellent song!! Makes a lot of sense down here, and we are not even close from africa: IMF, World Bank (or however you call them), USA scum-stock holders and "inversion consultants", etc. etc.
  • Chadd Bryant from Prague, OkBono used the line from this song in his speech in Dallas TX at the World Affairs Council... "Where you live should not decide.."
    I heard a lot of this song in his speech, he did a great job...
  • Emily from Abingdon, VaThis is about as far from cocaine as you could get.
  • Danielle from Toronto, CanadaI thought the line was 'you had so much to offer, while did you offer your soul?'
  • Ozzzy from Sydney, AustraliaI didn't mention "Where you live should not decide.
    Whether you live or whether you die." because others already have
  • Ozzzy from Sydney, AustraliaIn past interviews, Bono speaks of how he likes the idea of America, what it could be, and how much he hates what it has become. "From the brightest star.
    Comes the blackest hole.
    You had so much to offer.
    Why did you offer your soul?"/"You were pretty as a picture.
    It was all there to see.
    Then your face caught up with your psychology" relates to this.

    "Would you deny for others
    What you demand for yourself?" (as it does now) reflects America's "hardworking", honest past and its hedonistic present. "Cool down mama, cool off."

    "With a mouth full of teeth.
    You ate all your friends." perhaps relates to the West's exploitation of the third world...

    ..."And you broke every heart thinking every heart mends." without a thought for what this means to the people in these countries...

    This is just what I interpreted from these lyrics. I obviously skipped a lot of parts that I could not, at this hour, manage to relate to the theme... without having to use my brain :P

    I'm sure there are a lot of themes in this song, some religious as others have said, and otherwise.
  • Takashi from Tokyo, JapanActually this is about Cocaine. THe "crumbs" refers to cocaine.
  • Geir T. from UmeÃ¥, SwedenThe part of them being drunk when they wrote it was included on the DVD that followed "How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb".
  • Patrick from Humboldt, Iawith a mouth full of teeth, you ate all your friends, and you broke every heart thinking every heart mends. good line
  • Danielle from Toronto, CanadaI heard somewhere (I really can't remember where) that Bono and Edge wrote this song while drinking, in reference to a meeting with some religious organization that "preaches" about the way people should act in terms of charity, yet refused to lift a finger themselves, not even offering the crumbs from their table. On a compleatly different topic, the Roman Catholic church is apparently the richest organization in the world...interesting. Does anyone else have any insight to this?
  • Richard from Dublin, IrelandThis song was first made when the group was drunk in a bar in Dublin.
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