The Unforgettable Fire
by U2

Album: The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
Charted: 6
Play Video


  • This song was inspired by an exhibit of the same name the band saw at the Chicago Peace Museum while on tour in 1983. The exhibit featured artwork from Japanese victims of the Hiroshima bombing. The Chicago Peace Museum also had a Martin Luther King exhibit, which would inspire U2's song "Pride (In The Name Of Love)."
  • In the beginning of the song, from :04 to :07 seconds, you can hear Larry Mullen Jr. start to hit his drumsticks early. Immediately after, he mutters out "S-it." Then, at :22 seconds, he starts to drum at the correct time. The small glitch has never been removed from the album nor its inclusions on 'Best of' CDs. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Patrick - Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
  • This was written after U2 decided to use "The Unforgettable Fire" as the title to the album.
  • The strings were arranged by Noel Kelehan, who conducted the RTE Light Orchestra in 2 Eurovision Song Contests.

Comments: 14

  • Rick (iceman) from Texas UsaBest band arguably of all time. 22 Grammys and over 150 million albums sold. As David from Sonora Mexico said, “Love the music up ‘til the 90s” that was me until recently when I travel out of town and decided to exclusively this to U2 during my countless hours of driving. I now love all their music into 2019!! Unbelievable how great this band is.
  • David from Sonora MexicoIn my Top 10 for sure. I saw U2 five times and has always been the Best Concert I've been to. Love their music up 'til the 90's :) Do not hate the later but just have not gotten into me... yet.
  • Pio from London, United KingdomReally love the moodiness and the string section and agree this is one of Bono's best vocals. I tried singing this at karaoke and made a real mess of it...I think I'll leave it to the Bonomeister!
  • Keith from Pensacola, FlU2's best song ever !!
  • Shawn from Frostburg, MdAngela, I agree, this song is right up there with "40" as one thier best. it is just a song that always puts me at ease when i hear it.
  • Matt from West Miflin, PaCindy sorry the line is directly taken from Stand by Me
  • Patrick from Hasbrouck Heights, NjWhat an atmospheric song! One of U2's finest.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesThe album of the same name was U2's magnum opus of the 1980s. Many will argue, but personally, I don't think they ever bettered it, not even with The Joshua Tree
  • Angela from Hagerstown, MdThis is probably THE most beautiful U2 song.
  • Ashley from Wouldntyalyke2know, In When I think of that line, "And if the mountians should crumble into the sea", I think of the "Stand by Me" song and it also makes me think of when Jesus was talking about faith. I think I understand though how the 'stuff' they told us goes with the music, like "walk on by" the exibit. It does make me wonder though if there was more to it...
  • Jeanette from Elkridge, MdI think this song is Bono's voice at his absolute best. I love to listen to his voice on this song, it gives me chills. Unfortunately, he doesn't sound like that anymore, too bad because it was very unique.
  • John from Madison, WiVery underrated U2 song.
  • Andrew from Kingston, CanadaTrue, but that's also a prevalent theme in a few Psalms from the Bible. So I think that's likely where the inspiration came from.
  • Cindy from Chicago, IlThe line, "And if the mountains should crumble or disappear into the sea" is a metaphor taken from Led Zepelin's song Thank You from LZII.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin Popoff

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin PopoffSong Writing

A talk with Martin Popoff about his latest book on Rush and how he assessed the thousands of albums he reviewed.

Francis Rossi of Status Quo

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.

Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soul Station

Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soul StationSongwriter Interviews

Paul Stanley on his soul music project, the Kiss songs with the biggest soul influence, and the non-make-up era of the band.

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he Inspired

Muhammad Ali: His Musical Legacy and the Songs he InspiredSong Writing

Before he was the champ, Ali released an album called I Am The Greatest!, but his musical influence is best heard in the songs he inspired.

Country Song Titles

Country Song TitlesFact or Fiction

Country songs with titles so bizarre they can't possibly be real... or can they?

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."