U2: Pride (in The Name Of Love) Meaning
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Song Released: 1984
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Pride (in The Name Of Love) Lyrics
One man come and go
One man come here to justify
One man to overthrow
In the name of love!
One man in the name of love
In the name of love!
What more? In the name of love!
One man caught on a barbed wire...
anonymous Nov 18th, 2012 11:30am report
"One man caught on a barbed wire fence" Man killed trying to escape to West Berlin - Love of freedom
"One man he resist" Man killed trying to resist the Nazis occupation - Love of liberty
"One man washed on an empty beach" Aftermath of D-Day after troops moved inland - Done out of love of one's country
"One man betrayed with a kiss" Jesus allowing betrayal by Judas - Love of mankind
I grew up watching "World at War", so that influenced what I visually pictured for the first three.
anonymous Jan 4th, 2007 1:45am report
The song refers to many people who have sacrificed their lives in the name of love. Some of these are famous individuals; others are representative of a group or generation of people.
First verse - discusses in general how people do many things in the name of love, some good and selfless, some selfish and evil.
One man caught on a barbed wire fence - the soldiers of WWI
One man he resist - the pacifists who opposed the war
One man washed on an empty beach - I think this is Roger Casement, who was captured on Banna Strand, arrested and executed for his part in the Easter Rising
One man betrayed with a kiss - Jesus, of course
Obviously, the last verse is about MLK.
anonymous Jan 31st, 2007 1:04pm report
The greatest aspect of this song is its ambiguity. Sure, Martin Luther King and Jesus are both obvious references here, but I think the unclear lines are meant to refer to others who have died 'in the name of love'. I like the idea that 'One man washed on an empty beach' refers to a soldier at Normandy on D-Day, but that's not the only possible interpretation. In fact, most of this song's lines do not have a clear interpretation one way or another. I think it spoils the song to say that particular lines ONLY refer to specific characters throughout history.
Contrary to what I presume the popular opinion is, I do not believe the song's theme is that Martin Luther King and Jesus died because of their love for society. I think the title, 'Pride (In The Name Of Love)', refers to the 'love' that the assassins strongly felt for their beliefs. As Bono repeats the line 'One More In The Name Of Love' over and over, I can't help but think of all the great leaders who have died or all the wars that have been fought for mistaken ideologies. 'One more' refers to another great leader dying and 'In The Name Of Love' refers to the foolish reasons a person might have for wanting them dead. In many cases such as Mark David Chapman (John Lennon's assassin), the assassin does not even hate their target, they are merely in love with the act of taking another life. Bono laments such an immense loss for misguided love, but proclaims that even the act of assassination cannot diminish the leader's pride or accomplishments.
anonymous Sep 25th, 9:53pm report
"One man caught on a barbed wire fence" makes me think of images of people escaping from East Germany in the 70s and 80s.
"One man he resist" is probably about Lech Welesa, the Polish solidarity movement founder who was imprisoned at the time this song was written.
"One man washed on an empty beach" leaves me scratching my head.
"One man betrayed with a kiss" is obvious.
anonymous Aug 17th, 2018 8:02pm report
Read this to understand meaning of man washed up on an empty beach.... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mincemeat
anonymous Apr 23rd, 2018 4:41pm report
"They could not take your pride"
pride does not always mean: satisfaction derived from your own achievements, achievements of friends, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired,
it can also mean: Awareness of one's own dignity; self respect.
I think a lot of people Don't understand the meaning of the song correctly, because the most common definition of pride is not the one that the song was referring to. When U2 wrote the whole song They probably weren't talking about boasting, or being a show off. It is more likely that they were talking about the second definition existing of self worth.
anonymous Nov 25th, 2017 11:45pm report
What more in the name of love.... how much more brutality will there be in the world that is done in the name of religion or beliefs? Why is there so much violence that is justified by claiming that one group or another is doing it in the name of God or for the greater good?
anonymous Oct 10th, 2017 10:29pm report
Awesome song that's obviously about men of God that fought and sacrificed Their lives for our freedom and salvation. Where from the beginning, all came from God. And is given to us freely by faith in Him, not to be suppressed and taken away by men. And yes, the beginning of this song is about JESUS who fought and struggled against the sins of the world and the Pharisees self righteous pride that held the law of God clean on the outside of themselves, but needed the fulfillment of CHRIST's consciousness that came in the name of love. Forwanting to go on the inside of Their souls and ours in order to truly become clean and humble. With and for the rest of humanity. Who were the meek and the poor in spirit. This song is also in relation to Martin Luther who followed HIM, that also fought and struggled for our freedom and salvation by faith in learning to know the words of JESUS CHRIST. All in order for humanity's believers that also believed in CHRIST, could receive true freedom and salvation directly. That God would give Freely. Away from the indulgences of the Catholic Church, with which you had to buy your way to Heaven back then. And What more came in the name of love for bonding together this God given freedom and salvation for one, was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who also sacrificed His life with a God given pride that fought and struggled against the same kind of the Pharisee mentality in order to win His people Their God given rights and freedom from ''The Man'' made law of the land that suppressed Him and many of us.
anonymous Jun 8th, 2017 6:09am report
One man washed on empty beach, may be referring to Jonah
anonymous Aug 30th, 2014 8:57am report
Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
This part is about MLK, Jr. He was assisnated in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday April 4, 1968.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Apr 13th, 2013 4:44pm report
I always thought that the man who resisted was NLK, as he resisted violence.
I assumed that one man washed on an empty beach was Ghandi. Another leader of peaceful change. I did not know who was referred to with the barbed wire fence. I am under the impression that the man betrayed by a kiss is Jesus Christ by Judas.
anonymous Mar 2nd, 2013 3:40am report
There seems to be conflict in many of the bands lyrics in regards to the struggle of spirituality, which is what makes there songs so real,pretty sure these guys have spent a good amount of time in the bible and knowing that God IS LOVE in the name of love takes on greater dual meaning. "What more in the name of Love" Still havent found what im looking for, again believing but not quite getting to that finished place or a mature spiritual walk. tough to do. just think they do an incredible job of showing the struggle of living in this world while persuing a godly relationship and do it on secular radio.
anonymous Sep 3rd, 2012 9:32am report
I feel people shouldnt direct the song to just religion. In many cases the lyrics have nothing to do with Christ. Even If the bans is openly Cheistian it doesn't mean every song they make is a allusion to christianity.
One man caught on a barbed wire fence
Most likely has something to do with one of the world wars. There was no such thing as barbed wire in Jesus's time.
One man to overthrow
has something to do with Gandhi. As he was trying to overthrow the British rule over India.
One man washed on a empty beach.
This is my idea but I believe this refers to JFK. When JFK served in WW2 he was washed ashore onto a deserted island after a major battle in the pacific.
I have nothing against religion but when people believe everything revolves around there religion it shuns everything in the dark. In my opinion God is there to show us the path and not lead the way. He is the light at the end of tunnel and we choose to follow it. We choose our path he does not.
anonymous Jul 31st, 2012 7:46am report
I don't think most of the second verse is about Jesus, except of course for the "betrayed by a kiss" line. On the other hand, I think the first verse is. Let me explain:
Start from the lines "one man come here to justify, one man to overthrow". Now the "overthrow" line could be about anyone, but there aren't many (any?) great people who claim to "justify" others, except for Jesus.
Therefore I think the first verse is about Jesus and Barabbas. For those who don't know, Barabbas was a violent revolutionary who itself assassination as a political tool to try and overthrow the Romans - basically a first-century terrorist. He's the one who came "to overthrow".
How does this fit in with the first two lines? Well, Jesus and Barabbas were arrested around the same time, and the Roman government offered to pardon one of them. The people chose to let Barabbas go free ("one man come and go") and have Jesus killed.
Alternatively, the contrast in lines 1 and 2 could be this: Jesus came in the name of love, and his influence is still felt in the world today. Barabbas came to overthrow, but he "came and went" - he's been mostly forgotten by history.
It seems to me this song isn't all about one person. I feel like Bono is lamenting the way people respond to social change - so often, we embrace violence, like the people who set Barabbas free, and the people who embrace non-violence, like Jesus, are sacrificed instead.
anonymous Dec 29th, 2011 12:49pm report
Why not check this U2 website that talks about the lyrics.
I dont know about the war being in the song, but other interpretations say its has more than one biblical reference such as Jesus being betrayed with a kiss.
Jesus is alive and is King of my life!
anonymous Nov 17th, 2011 11:05pm report
I was reading "The Letter from the Birmingham Jail" and watched "Elizabeth Town" ( the part he visits the Lorraine Motel at the end on his way home) when I heard this song from my youth. Until I saw the scene, I never realized the depth of meaning; inspite of having loved this song for two decades. This dialogue has helped me immensely as I will lead a discussion in high school about it.
Tom Robinson is probably not the reference; after all, he's a fictious character while the others are historical, but I could be wrong.
The lines in a loose sense seem to be couplets, so could the third line "justify" be reference to Christ- he justified us- His believers.
The fourth line "overthrow" could be King, who led a peaceful, loving revolt and "overthrew" hate. Of course, Jesus did the same for the Pharisees and Sadducees, and King justified the "humanity" of Blacks and other minorities.
The beach and barbed wire fence- I don't know. I'm not really a history buff, but I would think that he is referring to some great or well known historic events that would, in a sense, parallel the recognition of the betrayed kiss and Memphis shots.
anonymous Aug 29th, 2011 8:54pm report
Its about both MLK and Jesus. A song about the love these two men had for mankind and the sacrifice they made all "in the name of love".
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