Wake Up Dead Man
by U2

Album: Pop (1997)
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  • The "Dead Man" is a reference to God.
  • Edge borrowed the "wake up dead man" phrase from a chain-gang song. He wrote the verse and the chorus, and Bono finished it. Says Bono: "Really, this is in the tradition of the psalms of David, which offer an honest dialogue with God. I always wondered why was David so beloved of God? I think it was probably honesty. Because in a lot of the psalm's he's really giving out: 'Where are you when you're needed? Call yourself God? Look, I'm surrounded by my enemies. You got me into this, get me out of here!' It's so direct. I think it's very important that people feel able to address God from whatever state they're in, whether that's devotion or anger. Both are present here."
  • U2 guitarist The Edge started this as a gothic rock song during the Zooropa sessions, with the working title, "The Dead Man." He says in the book U2 by U2: "It began as an escapist concept and then slowly, almost like the coming up of the dawn, the morning after, it ended with the realization that there is no escape and you're back to the grim realities. The first line of that song was written in my car at dawn as I arrived back in the driveway of my house in Dublin, about to walk into the house on my own. 'Jesus help me, I'm alone in the world and a f--ked-up world it is too.' That is really the truth of our lot. You are on your own, even in a crowd. Whatever you're doing, ultimately, it's about you and your Maker."
  • This was intended as a live B-side, but they liked the results and decided to put it on the album.
  • On the cover of Zooropa, purple letters spell out WAKEUPDE. It is a reference to this track, which was not finished yet.
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Comments: 9

  • Jonse from EdinburghCorrection: the latest comment, or the one before it as the latest is now mine.

    Need to mention that this song isn't intended to be "moving" like songs on their 80's milestones. Whatever though, I would agree to disagree if you considered Pop their low point and that was that, but if you're implying How to Dismantle... is "a lot better" then....yeah, no. Just no.
  • Jonse from EdinburghComments like the first are astounding. Really, you're very closed minded and based on what you've said I'm not surprised you think this is a bad record while liking And All That You Need A Pretentiously Long Title For Et Al.

    If there is a god - and Bono clearly is a believer of the Abrahamic god - what makes you think god even remotely cares about what you think Bono is 'mistaken' or 'misguided' about?

    "I'm alone in this world, and a f--ked up world it is too."

    Sounds like a pretty good approximation of what someone at their lowest low might say. That there's profanity, in the *English* language, and it defeats the purpose for you is absurd. These are words of man, not of god. Christianity derives from Judaism and as such our words are a translation. Not a single word in the new testament was ever spoken in English, if at all in reality some two thousand years ago. Why would it offend god? People have considered phrases such as "oh my god" to be taking the name in vain. While it isn't inherently, wouldn't this be far more offensive to god than a made up word? A made up word being used as an expletive at that.

    Jesus of Nazareth uses what would have been considered "bad" words, insults or phrases in his era at various points in the new testament numerous times. They're words. They have nothing to do with the point of Christianity.
  • Leo from Westminster 1, MdI love U2-but to paraphrase Bono's more garish assertions, some songs are better than others. Take Pop's denouement/coda/finale Wake Up Dead Man, for example that is misguided-Perhaps the absolute worst song U2 have ever recorded-a bad song from a bad album. In fact, Pop is their only bad record. U2 have made some brilliant records-Pop sure isn't one of them. Their masterpieces are War, Tree, Baby and All That, You won't find any rock & roll, inspiration, enlightenment or transcendence on Pop. Bono mistakenly mixes Jesus and God with profanity in the opening couplet of the song and it gets worse from there-"Jesus, Jesus help me!/I'm alone in this world/And a screwed-up world it is too!" Clearly, Bono has his priorities mixed-up. Bono can
    talk about Christianity, religion and all the problems in the world but it clearly doesn't matter if the music isn't good, heartfelt or moving like U2 usually is. And sorry, it ain't! Their work after Pop, All That, Dismantle...Atomic Bomb and Horizon is fortunately a lot better and rockier but Wake Up Dead Man-and Pop-are low points for U2. No shamrocks, unicorns or lucky charms for this one!
  • Brendan from Dublin, Irelandi think dead man can represent both people and god depending how you look at it,like wake up dead man-wake up god in these people's lives or wake up dead man-wake up people so you can see god
  • Donald from Hamilton, OnIt is another one of Bono's on ones with god. Just like Until the End of the World.
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, Australia'Dead Man' is Christ, even the lyrics say this... 'Jesus, Jesus help me, I'm all alone in this world and a $%^#ed up world it is too'. It is a brilliant song, the Pop album is much better than people give it credit for. Two of the best U2 songs are on this album. Please and Wake Up Dead Man.
  • Boris from Maribor, United StatesOne of my personal favourites. It's about current situation of humanity which is chaotic. And for this reason Bono is somehow calling for God to help us. The lyrics of this song are just amazing. "If there's an order in all of this disorder Is it like a tape recorder? Can we rewind it just once more?" - it just brings tears on my face. By the way some people say that Pop album is bad and not good enough for a group like U2. Are they kidding me? Of course it is not bad, right the opposite, it is brilliant!!
  • Noelle from Melbourne, FlThe "Dead Man" could be a reference to Jesus Christ, who died and rose again.
  • Daisy from Vancouver, CanadaI would like to know where did you get that "The 'Dead Man' is a reference to God"?
    I think the 'dead man' is reference to the people...not God
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