Book Review: Phases and Stages

Sheet Music

Phases and Stages

U2: Into the Heart

by Niall Stokes

Thunder's Mouth Press,

184 pp., $23.95 (paper)

In Niall Stokes' U2: Into the Heart, the editor of Dublin music rag Hot Press provides the details behind every song on the band's 10 studio albums, plus all the B-sides, collaborations, and other curiosities they've plucked from the ether in their 20-plus years. In doing so, he's created a Wizard of Oz-style narrative that tracks the Poet, the Scientist, the Fashion Plate, and the Drummer all the way down the yellow-brick road to the current beautiful day. Many of the stories should be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in U2: the origins of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Bullet the Blue Sky," for instance. Many others will not, like that Bono composed Zooropa's "Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car" with John Lee Hooker in mind, "Pride" was originally going to be about Ronald Reagan, or that "One," the song that, according to Bill Flanagan's stupendous U2 at the End of the World, essentially saved the band was originally nothing more than the middle eight to "Mysterious Ways." Perennial live staples "Bad" and "40," meanwhile, sprang to life in an instant and were completed in a single take (excepting the odd overdub). Copiously illustrated, not just with shots of U2, but with inspirations like John Lennon, the Village People, William Butler Yeats, and Charles Bukowski, Into the Heart is a vital chronicle of the inner workings of the Best Band Ever™.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Wasn't That a Time: the Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America
Once, folk singers faced jail time and worse for their political affiliations

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 21, 2018

You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Tori Amos's Boys for Pele
The cult of Tori Amos and how to navigate a life of writing

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 21, 2018

More by Christopher Gray
Margaret Moser Tribute: Alvin Crow
Alvin Crow
Summer camp with the kids

June 30, 2017

Margaret Moser Tribute: The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
That Margaret Moser, she’s a rainbow

June 30, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

U2

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle