Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses
by U2

Album: Achtung Baby (1991)
Charted: 14 35

Songfacts®:

  • U2's frontman Bono married his high school sweetheart, Ali, in 1982 and has been with her ever since. He can relate to the ups and downs of his own relationship, but he's at a disadvantage when writing about the pain of divorce. For "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses," he drew on what his guitarist, The Edge, was going through: splitting from his wife, Aislinn O'Sullivan, with whom he has three daughters, after seven years of marriage. To compound the heartache, divorce was very difficult in Ireland, where it was frowned upon.

    Bono was the best man at Edge's wedding. Watching his bandmate go through the breakup inspired much of the lyric. The Edge later married Morleigh Steinberg, a belly dancer on their Zoo TV tour.
  • This was very difficult to record. Many techniques and mixes were attempted before it was completed. On the album you can actually hear the audio levels being raised at the beginning of the song. The song was eventually Re-Recorded (The Temple Bar-Remix) and released as a single. The new version, which the band felt was superior, gave the song an acoustic sound. The video actually features the Temple Bar Edit/Remix rather than the actual song that appears on the album.
  • The single is a remix of the album version and is the one the band prefers. It replaces the guitar with keyboards.
  • Steve Lillywhite, who produced the first two U2 albums, was brought in to help on this song. He, Daniel Lanois, and Brian Eno are all given producer credit on the track.
  • The line "Who's gonna taste your salt water kisses?" is a reference to oral sex.
  • The song was released in 1992 as the album's fifth and final single. The other B-Sides on the single include covers of "Fortunate Son" and "Paint It Black," and a longer version of "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses."
  • When the covers to the singles of "Even Better Than the Real Thing," "The Fly," this song and "Mysterious Ways" are arranged, a picture of the band members driving a Trabant is formed. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Saint - New Orleans, LA, for above 2

Comments: 6

  • Brian from Boston, MaWhen this album [CD] came out I listened to it constantly.This and the Joshua Tree are without question U2s' best.I feel that ever since however they have gone down hill. Everysong on this is melodic.Some great guitar too.This album although popular was in my opinion uderrated.All anyone could talk about around this time was Nirvana.This was great because it really rocked and was not just a band from the 80's doing the same old stuff.
  • Gregory from Memphis , TnCause I needed the cash
    And you killed it
    Cause I needed revenge
    Well you lied to me
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>well on the version i heard it said ( Cause i wanted revenge )but other than that very good
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtGreat song and pretty under-rated...but I prefer the version in the music video. It's a more "acoustic" version, more stripped-down.
  • Angela from Hagerstown, Mdthe B-side also has a cover of CCR's "Fortunate Son" and another version of "WGRYWH?"
  • Nessie from Sapporo, Japan<> I heard it was an affair between Winona Ryder and Bono.
  • Gavin from Chicago, IlThis song is about an affair that an unnamed member of the band had while on tour, but he realized that he had to break it off. "You're dangerous because you're honest", for example, comes from the fact that if she told anybody about the affair, it wouldn't be good for the member of the band.

    In later tours, U2 changed the line "can we still be friends?" to "we still are friends", indicating that everything had been resolved.
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