A rare U2 song with no Bono (at least on vocals, he wrote the lyrics), Johnny Cash sang lead on this one. U2 started writing it for Cash when they found out he was coming to Dublin for a show. They decided to keep it for themselves with Cash as guest performer. A song that describes a man's travels and search for redemption, Bono said it was "one of the best things we've ever done, and I'm not even on it."
In the band's autobiography U2 by U2, Bono explained the lyrical inspiration: "I wrote the lyric based on the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, which in some translation is called The Preacher. It's a story of intellectual wanderlust. The preacher wants to find out the meaning of life and so he tries a bit of everything. He tries knowledge, educates himself, reads every book, but that doesn't do it. He tries travel, sees every sight, but that doesn't do it. He tries wine, women and song, that doesn't do it. All, he says, is vanity, vanity of vanities, striving after wind. As you read this book you think, 'I can't wait to hear what does do it!' And the most extraordinary line is: 'There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.' Love your work. That's what it is. It is good to love what you do. I think there's a lot to that."
U2 recorded this as if they were a bad lounge act. It was the last song on Zooropa, since they wanted to end the album with something that would not be taken too seriously. About a minute after this ends on the CD version of Zooropa, an alarm goes off.
The only time U2 played this live was at the 2005 tribute concert for Johnny Cash - Bono did the vocals. The concert was called I Walk the Line: A Night for Johnny Cash.
The working title was "Johnny Cash On The Moon."