by U2

Album: All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
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  • Bono wrote this after flying a kite with his two daughters. Being a rock star, Bono was not used to flying kites. It crashed and they went home to play video games.

    The incident brought the singer back to his childhood when his father had the same disastrous luck with a kite. Bono, who was about to lose his father to cancer, pondered his own mortality: "I wasn't sure of my own well-being. I just wanted to have some songs that would, in a way, tell my kids something about who their father was."
  • Bono wrote this for his father, Bob Hewson, who died of cancer on August 21, 2001. U2 played a concert in London a few hours after his death and Bono dedicated this to him.

    For U2 guitarist The Edge, it was apparent from the beginning that the song was about Bono's dad, even before the singer realized it. He noted in the autobiography U2 by U2: "Bono was convinced he was writing about his kids but I could see that it was more about his dad. He was going, 'No, no, I don't think that's it.' He couldn't see it, but I could. I suppose it's just when you know someone so well, you can see things they won't admit to themselves. I think he was struggling to figure out how to deal with it, because his dad was a very dry person who found emotions difficult, and Bono is such an emotional and open character, so there was an incredible mismatch. I think it was a tough thing in terms of communication or the lack of it."
  • The Edge considers this his favorite song on the album. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Bono also mentioned that "Kite" was his favorite song on the CD. He also referenced the death of Michael Hutchence, former singer for INXS while discussing the song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Aziz Valika - Chicago, IL
  • On the Elevation tour of 2001, Bono said this song is "about saying goodbye to somebody you don't want to say goodbye to." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bill - Johnstown, PA
  • Bono, who had been struggling with his voice due to allergies, had a special moment while recording this. He recalls in the book U2 by U2: "My voice returned at that moment. When I sang, 'I'm a man, I'm not a child' everyone in the studio almost fell over. I went: 'Wow!' It was like the blind man when the scales fall off his eyes. It was almost comedic. Where did that come from? I want some more of that!"

    "I think I can have that note when I'm worthy of it. It's really bizarre. Because I would never sit down at a piano or at a guitar and come up with a note that high, because it's too hard to hit. You would never write it. But I stepped into it. In ten years there hadn't been a note like that hit in U2, full voice."

Comments: 20

  • Jimmy Wooldridge from Hull Been a fan over 30 years. Saw U2 perform "Kite" in montreal 2001 elevation tour - electrifying. "Kite" is what Bono is all about: class, soul, emotion, and in my opinion the best song writer ever. He has a gift.
  • John from SydneyWow! My beloved father died suddenly in 1999, the year this song was written. My surname is Kite. My father's name was Bob, same as Bono. My first born son arrived a few weeks later. I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard this song in 2000. I felt like Bono was talking directly to me. reading the lyrics and the comments below now I understand more deeply why a flood of tears were streaming down my face when I saw U2 play this song Kite in concert in Sydney. Love this band. Hey guys, tell your parents you love them today, you never know when they'll be gone for good.
  • Greg from Harrington Park, NjI've always loved this song and while it has been written and discussed that this song has several meanings I have come up with one that I think kind of combines a lot of the other theories out there. To me this song is more or less about losing a person you don't want to lose -- as stated by Bono himself on several occasions -- but in essence I feel it is more a conversation than a song -- a conversation between the person being lost (dying) and the person wo doesn't want to let him or her go I actually analyzed it by thinking of it as a conversation between Bono and his dad with different scenarios -- let me break it down verse by verse...

    omething is about to give
    I can feel it coming
    I think I know what it is
    I'm not afraid to die
    I'm not afraid to live
    And when I'm flat on my back
    I hope to feel like I did

    This first verse is Bono's dad telling him he knows he is dying and how he only hopes tat when he passes on into the after life he can look back at his time on earth as well spent, and that he lived a full productive life....

    Cause hardness, it sets in
    You need some protection
    The thinner the skin

    This is Bono telling his dad as he is with him by his side that he is hoping for his dad to not to lose his soul -- hardness it sets in refers to rigor mortise as the body hardens when death takes place, that after years of rotting as a corpse his skin gets thinner but his soul needs protection to not escape him. Although he has lost his body he hopes for his dad's soul to remain a part of him in the after life.... and the way in which they can communicate posthumously.
    then in the next verse Bono's dad is answering back as he sees his son growing sadder as the realization of his father's death is taking place....

    I want you to know
    That you don't need me anymore
    I want you to know
    You don't need anyone, anything at all

    this is his dad telling him how proud of him he is, of all he has accomplished of all the good he has done for the world with his music and his charitable work -- that he doesn't need his dad around anymore that - even though they had a rough relationship as everyone knows - it was as if Bono was doing all this to prove his worth to his father and now, he doesn't need him anymore - his father knows that he did it all for his approval and is at peace with him as he is dying that he is proud of his son and who he has become...

    The next verse is Bono and his dad in dyadic communication ...

    Who's to say where the wind will take you
    Who's to know what it is will break you
    I don't know which way the wind will blow
    Who's to know when the time has come around
    Don't wanna see you cry
    I know that this is not goodbye

    the first 4 lines are Bono talking to his dad as he lays dying and the 5th and 6th lines are Bono's dad interrupting him telling him not to worry about all he is thinking about with what will happen after he (his dad) dies -- He tells Bono, I don't want to see you cry -- it's not good bye - we will see each other again....

    the next verse is Bono in soliloquy -- maybe one day walking along the beach reflecting on his relationship with his dad....

    In summer I can taste the salt in the sea
    There's a kite blowing out of control on a breeze
    I wonder what's gonna happen to you
    You wonder what has happened to me

    As he walks on the beach in summer (his dad died in August) he tastes the salt of the sea and then he sees a kite flapping out of control in the breeze - the kite symbolic of his father - floating aimlessly through the sky in the afterlife -- he thinks I wonder what hs happened to you and wonders what his dad is thinking of him now.... He grows frustrated by the loss of his father and the pain of having had a tough relationship with him he screams out "I"M A MAN I'M NOT A CHILD. A MAN WHO SEES THE SHADOW BEHIND YOUR EYES..... again he wonders what he was saying to him at his side when he lay dying -- who's to say where the wind will take you.... After he says who's to know when the time has come around --- his father interrupts him in spirit form and tells him I don't want to see you cry.... this is not goodbye- in way he is saying I hear you yelling and I know you're mad but remember what I told youas I was dying - I don't want to see you cry - we'll see each other again....

    the last verse is bono's acceptance of death and his question of his own mortality --- did I waste should be fragrant... last of the rock stars... It's Bono saying I hope I enjoyed my time here and did all I could when it comes to my time to pass. What will my legacy be? mWhat impact will I have on the world - it the time of new media that was the big idea....

    while my interpretation is from the songwriters point of view of his experience with his Dad - this could be any parent or any child talking to anyone they love -- that is what makes it so beautiful -- while it is probably intended for one particular story, it applies to so many and so many of us can relate to a situation like this in our own lives... Beautiful, Poignant and unbelievably well written. Hope you enjoyed my lengthy drawn out opinion of what this song means

  • Nick from Bristol, CtI was there that night in London (Earls Court) he dedicated this song to his father. It was a very emotional night. Beautiful song.
  • Mick from Leeds, United Kingdomi wish i could put into words how im feeling right at this moment!! amazing!!!!! can you imagine if we could all write a song as special as this one is every time things went wrong!! or even right?? the mind boggles;love you mandy gibbs'my wife 2 be,mam!! dont know what 2 say? u r everything 2 me,without u im nothing!! mick bellwood
  • Jose from Guadalajara, MexicoWhat I knew is that Bono wrote the song to his children, and dedicated it later to his father. Then he wrote "Sometimes you can't make it on your own" in the memory of his father. And both songs were sung in the funeral.
  • Simon from London, EnglandI saw U2 twice during this tour and it is well documented how Bono was flying to Dublin every night to by at his fathers bedside in Dublin. I've also read interviews where he thoughts he was writing this song for his children, but realised he was actually writing it for himself about his dad.
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, AustraliaDan... this song is special to me for a similar reason. It came out not long after my grandfather passed away. I was 15 or so, I wasn't ready to say goodbye myself... and in Australia they closed the Vertigo tour with this song. I left a blubbering mess. It makes me cry on CD... live... omg
  • Dan from Lee, NhMy Grandad just passed away. And this song has been of good concellation to me as I knew him pretty well and never thought he would actually die.
  • Pikysan from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOh man... I didn't know Bono's father passed away on August 21st of 2001. That's the same day my mother passed away.

    I know have another reason to love this song even more. Kite's always made me cry and know it'll make me cry even more to it.

  • Graham from Cork, Irelandi think most of u2's songs are better off not being looked into with too much detail and people should have their own meaning of each and every song that they write. after all that is one of the things that makes them such a great band
  • Grant from Annandale, VaPeople get too specific with the meaning of this song--the best way to understand it is as having to let go of someone you don't want to let go of. Great song
  • Marius from Lüneburg, GermanyOn their performance at Slane Castle in 2001, a few days after his fathers dead, Bono dedicated "Kite" to him... And in the line "I know that this is not goodbye...", he was crying.
    I'm sure everyone had a lump in his throat at this time.
  • Jamie from Bethesda, MdWhen a new CD comes out by U2...I listen to every track for a few times and try to pick my favorites before the radio gets a hold of them. On this CD...It was Kite...On Atomic Bomb-its Miracle drug
    on Pop...staring at the sun on Actung---Wild Horses
    On Josuha---Running to Stand Still on Unforgettable...."Bad"
    Just a few thoughts for the day.
  • Amy Friel from Barrie, CanadaThe first time I heard this I thought it was about the Ressurection of Christ- how he told his disciples that they had to move on, and that they should not just "stand there looking up." Obviously this song was written with other meanings in mind, but that just goes to prove what I love about U2- that everyone can find their own personal meaning in the lyrics.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtBest song on the album, in my opinion. I love the synth.
  • Tegan from Melbourne, Australiai luv this song
  • Gus from Madrid, SpainAn absolutely amazing song. In many concerts Bono dedicated it to his father and sometimes we could hear him cry during the song.
  • Richard from St. Louis, MoIve heard this sond is about learning to "let go" of your children as they grow
  • Steven from Market Harborough, EnglandThe Edge is right, this is excellent.
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