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.
Aziz Valika - Chicago, IL
On the the Elevation
tour of 2001, Bono said this was "about saying goodbye to somebody you don't want to say goodbye to."
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."