U2: Where the Streets Have No Name Meaning
Song Released: 1987
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Where the Streets Have No Name Lyrics
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name
I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
anonymous Jan 16th, 2009 1:18pm report
I actually think this song is about a better place then here, like Heaven or so. Bono seems to be talking about escaping from such a flawed place and going to someplace better. "I want to tear down these walls that hold me inside/I want to reach out and touch the flame/where the streets have no name. In Heaven, the streets are paved with gold and I'm guessing don't have names. "I want to feel sunlight on my face/see that dust cloud disappear without a trace/I want to take shelter from the poison rain/where the streets have no name.
anonymous Jan 17th, 2008 1:38pm report
After watching's Bono's brief interpretation of this song, he elludes to it being a place without social distinction, something that weighs heavily upon him. He yearns for a place where social classes are not readily apparent by areas within a city.
anonymous Mar 28th, 2006 3:01am report
It's about class segregation. In Dublin, people know what social standing you have based upon the street you live in. So the song is about a world where streets have no names; where there is no segregation based on where you live.
anonymous May 10th, 2018 5:58pm report
in dublin people will know if your catholic or protestant y what street you live on-that is straight from u2 interviews and books.
anonymous May 6th, 2017 5:56pm report
I feel this song is about Heaven. It's always the 'feeling' I got when I listened to this song when it was first released. I listen to it now, and think of my dad, who is in heaven, and other family and friends who have passed. I know there's a place. HOWEVER since I have read other's thoughts on the song meaning, I can see how it could be related to class segregation etc. The video was filmed in a not so nice section of town, in Los Angeles. Where I am sure some wonderful people live. Even if it's not so 'nice' there. But I'd also still like to point out heavenly influence as it is after all The City of Angels.
I like the fact that music means something different to everybody - that demonstrates the power of the words in the song. Almost everybody here is right, and I guess I would add one more interpretation. Our brother just died - a horrible battle with cancer that was painful and long. We buried Johnny on Thursday in the cemetery, where the streets have no names, where the wind blows across the ridge of the hill against the eternal flame. To us, the song gives Johnny his voice. In a cemetery, everybody is the same - all loved, all missed, all gone, lying cold on plots sided by little streets with no names. Sometimes the meaning of a song depends on when you listen to it. The fact that so many of us get so many different things from just one song, one string of words, says that Bono is a true poet.
In Jpanese,this song is ransrated as "the Land of Promise". As you know,this name appears in the Old Testament.Then, what is BONO singing about? It is definitely about the place where we can feel God's love. Maybe it is heaven.Maybe it is just faith in God.Anyway,through this lyrics,we can see BONO's honest faith in God.I'm really happy to see that.
anonymous Mar 26th, 2014 3:49pm report
I think we need to look at both the concept of streets with no name along with the repeated phrase "blown by the wind" and one of the best most enduring ends of all songs "Oh, when I go there, I go there with you It's all I can do".
"Streets with no name" many have already said represent the class-less gold paved streets of heaven.
"We're beaten and blown by the wind" -- James 1:6: "But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind." Represents our nature of doubt and sin
"Oh when I go there, I go there with you It's all I can do" seems like a clear reference to Christ. And the complete nature of his saving grace and entryway to heaven.
anonymous Jun 8th, 2012 6:35pm report
Bono's never said what's about so I think it's about 1. Haven, 2. Ireland and 3. Africa.
anonymous Mar 31st, 2012 3:44am report
You guys are all wrong. They wrote it about Africa. "Where the streets have no name" is that the people there are so poor that they can't even afford to give their streets names or even have roads,
anonymous Feb 23rd, 2012 2:34pm report
The song is actually about Ireland. In Ireland (and Northern Ireland), the many cities are divided: rich/poor, Catholic/Protestant, etc. By knowing which street a person lives on you can tell their religion, wealth and beliefs - it's where the streets have no name.
anonymous Mar 31st, 2011 3:30am report
I read that in Belfast you can tell if someone is a catholic or a protestant and even how much they earn just by knowing wich street they live in. There's a quote of Bono telling this story somewhere, in reference to this song. I also think that he might be inspired by his experiences in Ethiopia. And that the poison rain also is a reference to the acid rain.
I think that people somehow miss the fact that artist can adress more than one issue in a song. The guy is talking about a better place, and that better place is not only a place without segregation, but a place where humans live in harmony with nature. And many other things. A place where he imagines there would be freedom.
I don't think that the song references one actual place where streets are numbered or have "no names" there's plenty of cities and towns and villages all over the world where streets haven't proper names.
anonymous Mar 9th, 2011 3:09pm report
Interesting so many possible layers of meaning previously mentioned, many of which could be correct & good example why U2 music endures..
Not to forget the obvious literal interpretation, (as steveareno? referenced above) Joshua Tree, California, USA - where i grew up camping, climbing on my grandfathers desolate plot of land, complete with firepit, outhouse and dirt streets - where navigating was difficult because many streets didn't have signs at the time of this album & my young adulthood.
I heard they wrote many of the lyrics at joshua tree national monument (rock climber's paradise). Go there and you might see how location undoubtedly inspired them on some level. Again probably many interpretations have deeper truths as well. Imagine only original band members know for sure. - peace
anonymous Jan 9th, 2011 1:24pm report
It may refer to the practice of confusing British soldiers occupying Northern Ireland, it definitely laments the social and class meanings of street names there and everywhere else, but its larger reference is to Heaven, where our differences will be swept aside in the direct embrace of God, "the flame", to whom he is reaching out in the first verse.
That this is no ordinary place should be obvious - it is a place without poison, without dust clouds, where love won't "turn to rust" - in short, Paradise, which in the beliefs of the tradition in which these men were raised, they enter with Jesus, the "you" of the chorus.
Far from being Bono's version of "Imagine", where Lennon sings hopefully for the fall of religion, it is opposite - Bono sings of God elevating us from our quarrels and self-destructiveness.
anonymous Jan 6th, 2011 1:54pm report
It's Bono's version of "Imagine."
anonymous Jan 6th, 2011 1:31am report
According to TIME magazine, a year after iconic rocker Bono visited Nicaragua in 1986 to raise awareness about Central American war refugees, U2 released its hit album The Joshua Tree, and one song was immediately identified as inspired by his experience... Managua, Where The Streets Have No Name.
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