Bono has revealed the death threats he has faced during his career after crossing swords with the IRA, Dublin mobsters and the American far right.
In his soon-to-be released memoir U2’s lead singer recounts how the fear of violence has stalked the band with figures including Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, stoking anger against their pro-peace stance.
There’s a verse to Van Diemen’s Land which appears on the sleeve notes but not the track.
This song is about John Boyle O’Reilly, the leader of an 1864 Irish uprising after the Great Famine. He was banished to Australia for rebelling against the government.
That last verse?
Still the gunman rules and the widows pay
A scarlet coat now a black beret
They thought that that blood and sacrifice
Could out of death bring forth a life
Yeah, that’d piss Gerry off.
I’ve wondered, ever since I bought the album on release, whether there was a certain pressure over that last verse. Still don’t know of course…..