by U2

Album: Zooropa (1993)
Play Video


  • The Edge sang the lead vocal. This is only the third time he did this, the other instances being "Seconds" from War and "Van Diemen's Land" from Rattle & Hum.
  • The backing drumbeat was taken from the Nazi propaganda film Triumph Of The Will, which shows an 11-year-old boy playing drums at the 1936 Olympics.
  • This started as an outtake from the Achtung Baby sessions called "Down All The Days."
  • The Edge wrote the entire song, even the lyrics. He had recently gone through a divorce.
  • Most of the music video is a tight shot of The Edge being poked, fed, licked, smacked and photographed as he stoically sings the song. It was directed by Kevin Godley, who came up with the concept the day before the shoot. It took just a few takes to get right - for The Edge, the challenge was keeping a straight face throughout.

    Godley used a similar concept when he directed the "Sweetest Thing" video, which he described as "'Numb' on wheels." That one locks in on Bono from the back of a carriage.

    One pair of feet that prod Edge in the video belong to Morleigh Steinberg, who does the belly dance for him in the clip. She was the dancer on the Zoo TV tour who performed during "Mysterious Ways." She and The Edge got married in 2002.
  • The Edge said in U2 by U2, 2005: "The lyric came very quickly and tapped into many of the ideas behind Zoo TV, the sense that we were being bombarded by so much information that you find yourself shutting down and unable to respond."

Comments: 18

  • Nick from La Paz, BoliviaWeird, experimental, out of the box and enjoyable without getting boring. Great song.
  • Chris from Germany The video was great and on heavy rotation on MTV. Many people know the video but not the name of the song.
    It samples indeed the drums of a nazi propaganda movie.
  • Sioraf from Macroon, IrelandThe Triumph Of The Will by the way is named after Friedrich Nietzsche's idea The Will To Power. The Nazis were quite happy to run around doing as they pleased because according to The Will To Power doing that makes you a better person.
  • Kristina from Albuquerque, Nm"Don't expect. Suggest." What a great mantra.
  • Madison from Norway, MeWeird Al did a parody of this where the lyrics were Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss. I don't think it was released though.
  • Danleichty from Rochester, Mngood song to listen to when you wnat to keep your mind off things
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, AustraliaThis song is wicked... and it really does convey the confusion and hurt and well... numbness one feels in a relationship break up. How one goes over every negative thing said to them or order thrown at them by their prior spouse that sends them numb.

    "Don't change your brand, Don't listen to the band Don't gape Don't ape Don't change your shape Have another grape" Perfect... you can hear things like this being said.

    I think the song is genius
  • Lanto from Swansea, WalesMy least favourite u2 song but I like to listen to it, grows on me each time I listen also.
  • Yuya from Kyoto, JapanSounds best in the car.
  • Shehryar from Islamabad, PakistanSongs like these prove that there is not one but many faces to U2, one as interesting as the other. These musicians have survived with their musical integrity intact, and in addition to this, songs like 'if you wear that velvet dress' 'love is blindness' and 'sometimes you can't..' prove it
  • Angela from Hagerstown, Mdnot only did Edge sing lead on Van Dieman's Land - he wrote it.
  • Stefan Holm from StockholmI just wanted to say that Edge had the lead vocals on for an example Van Diemens Land from Rattle and Hum
  • Marius from Lüneburg, Germanyyeah, leon is right - the lyrics are a little bit incoherent... but unregardedly of this, the song sounds very good. i like to listen to it
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtAlthough U2 is my very favorite band, I must say this is more than likely the song I like the least from them. :-
  • Rich from Commack, NyHave another grape. The Edge scares me. Great song, though. Hey, who can name the two other Numb remixes there are?
  • Ted from Loveland, CoAlbum: U2 Zooropa
    U2 The Best Of 1990-2000

    Single: Last Night On Earth

    Video: Numb
    Numb (Live From Sydney)
    Numb (Video Remix)
  • Brian from Edmonton, CanadaEdge also sang vocals on "Van Dieman's Land" from 1988's Rattle & Hum
  • Sasha from Manhattan, NyThe bellydancer in the video later became Edge's wife.
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