by U2

Album: War (1983)
Play Video
  • I waited patiently for the Lord
    He inclined and heard my cry
    He brought me up out of the pit
    Out of the mire and clay

    I will sing, sing a new song
    I will sing, sing a new song

    How long to sing this song
    How long to sing this song
    How long, how long, how long
    How long, to sing this song

    He set my feet upon a rock
    And made my footsteps firm
    Many will see
    Many will see and fear

    I will sing, sing a new song
    I will sing, sing a new song

    I will sing, sing a new song
    I will sing, sing a new song

    How long to sing this song
    How long to sing this song
    How long, how long, how long
    How long, to sing this song

Comments: 25

  • Ramón Arellano from San Bernardino Ca. I was there in their Unforgettable Fire tour in 1985 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena , it was raining as we enter the place , and yes , the fans were singing "how long to sing this song" all the way to the parking lot , me and my friends were walking to the car in silence , out of words , nobody made a single comment , it was only when we were home that we opened a beer and started talking about it , we were in kind of a shock , what a great experience.
  • Steve Collier from Kings LynnIt is called "40" because it is, essentially, Psalm 40 in the Bible
  • Janet Aldrich from Estlake, OhioJustin from CA - you're misreading the lyrics in God Part II. They're talking about the Albert Goldman bio of John Lennon. That's the devil/his book. The Bible is the Lord's book, and Bono quotes it quite frequently. If you've ever seen the halftime show after 9/11 at the Super Bowl, at one point, Bono quotes Psalm 51:15 between songs.
  • Pieter from South Africa@ Justin: Firstly, you've got the lyrics wrong. He doesn't sing "Don't believe the devil or the book" - he sings
    "Don't believe the devil
    I don't believe his book
    But the truth is not the same
    Without the lies he made up"

    See: HIS (the devil's) book.

    As an aside, real Christians don't worship any book in any event - they worship God. The Bible is a wonderful, dangerous, easily misunderstood collection of writings where God used normal people to tell His exceptional story. It was told a long time ago to ancient cultures within certain contexts in languages that has since been translated into many others. A lot of it is also poetry. One doesn't read poetry the same as one reads a legal document, so it's imperative to take great care (and have a truthfully searching heart) when reading the Bible.
  • Micke from Angelholm, SwedenJustin, you cannot be more wrong. At one time early in their career they actually almost put the band to rest because they was not sure if playing rock'n'roll music was OK with their faith in God.
  • Shawn from Frostburg, Md Justin from Ca, Once again You are wrong. Bono and his mates are Christians. It doesn't take much listening to figure that out. Their songs are riddled with bible verses and this song is a prime example of that.. Geesh !
  • Claude from Kingston, MaI saw U2 in '85 on their Unforgettable Fire tour and they closed with this song. Adam and The Edge switched instruments for it. They left the stage one at a time while the music was still playing until only Larry was left alone playing the drums and the crowd singing "How long to sing this song..." over and over and over again. When the lights came up the crowd of around 15,000 was still singing and continued to sing as we made our way outside. Everyone was still singing it all the way to the parking lot. It remains one of the coolest concert moments of my life.
  • Justin from Pioneer, CaRead the first line to their song "God Part II" and tell me that they're christians if they DON'T BELIIEVE the devil or the BOOK.
  • Shawn from Frostburg, MdJustin, -- Bono along with his other bandmates are christians and do, in fact, beieve strongly in their religious faith... Might want to learn your facts before commenting...
  • Justin from Pioneer, Caso bono doesn't believe in the Bible, yet he takes words from It to write his music and make money? u2 is garbage.
  • Shawn from Frostburg, MdI agree with Sammy from New York, NY. This song makes me want to beieve in something. It seems to touch the soul.
  • Fabricio from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaOn the DVD Vertigo 2005 Live from Chicago, the last song they play is 40. After finishing it and before he leaves the stage Bono hangs a cross from the microfone. (probably in reference to Pope John Paul II who was dying at that time). After Bono, Clayton and Edge left the stage, Larry Mullen Jr. did an excellent drum solo just for the audience. Beautiful Song.
  • Lily from Godrics Hallow, Englandwow that does sound awesome i really want to go to a concert! how do you guys get tickets? i heard they sell out in minutes!
  • Moe from Boston, MaI saw U2 twice on the vertigo tour. On both occasions they closed the concert with this song. The first concert was by far the most memorable for me. Seeing as halfway through Bono brough out a placard signed by Mayor Thomas Menino(Mayor of Boston) saying that May 28th or something like that was the official U2 day in Boston. I am pretty sure it was their last concert no the first leg of their American tour so all of the emotion seemed to get put out through this song. Just unbelievably awesome.
  • Getúlio from João Pessoa, BrazilDon't be fool! This a great and emotional song, but till now it serves only for U2 to close its shows without hear any asks for bis
  • Sammy from New York, NyThis song makes me wanna believe in something. Great bass, I was not aware that The Edge played it on this song. Wish I were there at a U2 concert to see such an exit. Someday! Hope they'll plan another tour soon.
  • Dawson from Draper, UtI saw U2 on their Vertigo tour, and they play this song, then Bono stops singing, but the band keeps playing their part. After a while, The Edge leaves, and Adam Clayton keeps playing on the bass and Larry Mullen stays on drums, then after a few minutes Adam Clayton leaves, and Larry Mullen stays banging on the drums, then, after a while he'll leave, and the concert is over. It is really cool, because the crowd kept singing the line 'How long to sing this song' after Bono leaves, and it sounds really awesome.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtI saw U2 in concert December 7th this year (2005)...best concert I've been to as of yet, and I'm not just saying that because they're my favorite band. Martin and Tom, I completely agree with you and know exactly what you're talking about with this song being the concert closer. Truly magic.
  • Tom from Newark, DeI will second Martins sentiments - I saw U2 in 1985, and they closed with 40. Bono finishes singing and the crowd picks up the verse "How long to sing this song" while the band plays on. Eventually the band stops but the crowd sings on. The singing very slowly fades away so that even 15 minutes later as you are walking out of the building, you hear and even feel the song faintly being sung. It was/is really an amazing thing to be around
  • Martin from Limerick, Ireland'40' has been played only on occassion during the Vertigo tour, usually on the 2nd or 3rd night if playing in the same venue- or at the very end of tour like in Lisbon.
    At the end of the song the band leave the stage individually one at a time leaving Larry playing drums on his own- he then stops, stands up throws his drum sticks to the crowd and departs.........magic... leaving the crowd to sing 'How long to sing this song' all the way home.
  • Terry from Ocean Springs, MsSean is right. Edge plays bass on this song because he gives the backing vocals. The guitar on the song is mostly controlled feedback which requires alot of hanging back near the amplifier... and away from any microphones. So they swap instruments.
  • Richard from Dublin, IrelandHere is the psalm from Psalm 40.
    U2's lyrics are in parenthesis.

    I waited paitently for the Lord's help; (Waited paitently for the Lord)
    Then he listened to me and heard my cry (He inclined and heard my cry)
    He pulled me out of a dangerous pit, (He lifted me up out of the pit)
    Out of the deadly quicksand. (Out of the miry clay.)
    (I will sing, sing a new song
    I will sing, sing a new song
    How long to sing this song?
    How long to sing this song?
    How long... how long...
    How long to sing this song?)
    He set me safely on a rock (He set my feet upon a rock)
    And made me secure. (And he made my footsteps firm.
    Many will see
    Many will see and hear.
    I will sing, sing a new song
    I will sing, sing a new song
    How long to sing this song?
    How long to sing this song?
    How long... how long...
    How long to sing this song?)
    He taught me how to sing a new song,
    A song of praise to our God.
    Many who see this will take warning
    And will put their trust in the Lord.

  • John from Philadelphia, PaRumor has it that U2 is playing this on theor current Vertigo tour (2005)
  • Kaleigh from Vancouver, WaI have that album. It shows so much pain that they went through...but they made it, and that is far-out, dude!
  • Sean from Middlesex, Englandon their 1987 Joshua Tree tour when they would close with this song, The Edge would play Bass & Adam Clayton would play Guitar.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

John Doe of X

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

Charles Fox

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat WorldSongwriter Interviews

Jim talks about the impact of "The Middle" and uses a tree metaphor to describe his songwriting philosophy.