Bullet the Blue Sky (4:32)

Cover of Rock's Hottest Ticket, Volume 2

From Rock's Hottest Ticket, Volume 2 and 299 other releases

“Bullet the Blue Sky” is the fourth track from U2’s 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. The song is one of the band’s most overtly politically toned songs, with live performances often being heavily critical of war and guns. Today it receives regular airplay on rock radio stations.

The song was originally written about the United States’ military intervention during the 1980s in the El Salvador Civil War. Bono told The Edge to “put El Salvador through an amplifier”. The song is a combination of The Edge’s guitar slides, Adam Clayton’s laid back bassline, Larry Mullen Jr. ’s cold drumming and Bono’s aggressive and growly vocals during the verses, and a spoken word section during the bridge. Clayton played the song in a different key from the rest of the band: Clayton’s bass riffs are in E flat minor while The Edge is playing D flat. Bono was thinking of American President Ronald Reagan as he sang “This guy comes up to me / His face red like a rose on a thorn bush / Like all the colors of a royal flush / And he’s peeling off those dollar bills / Slapping them down.”

Although it was never released as a single, “Bullet the Blue Sky” has been played at nearly every one of the band’s live concerts since its first performance at the opening night of the Joshua Tree Tour on April 2, 1987. Its live performances have traditionally been paired with “Running to Stand Still”; this took place on the Joshua Tree Tour, Lovetown Tour, Zoo TV Tour, and the first 46 concerts of the Vertigo Tour.


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  • kokocijo

    Slappin' them down... One hundred! Two hundred!

    28 Apr 2:21am Reply
  • white_lemur

    Brilliant! Killer track, that's true.

    5 Apr 6:30pm Reply
  • MartianReaper

    soundtrack for the doom to come...

    12 Nov 2014 Reply
  • Ozric94

    That guitar work is...disparate compared to so many other "orthodox" groups.

    5 May 2014 Reply
  • Bluesegon

    minimal = maximal Topp

    3 Apr 2014 Reply
  • mot00rzysta

    To this day, the only U2 song that I like. Killer track! [4] well not the only one, cause there are a few more that I like - but this one is THE GREATEST :)

    12 Jan 2014 Reply
  • Info_Broker

    It is by far my favorite U2 song as well, but like the studio version far better than the live version I am hearing.

    22 Jul 2013 Reply
  • violettte1

    a man breathes into his sexaphone/ and through the walls he hears the city groan/ outside it's america. <3

    15 May 2013 Reply

    To this day, the only U2 song that I like. Killer track! [3]

    14 May 2013 Reply
  • pladepilot

    To this day, the only U2 song that I like. Killer track! [2]

    4 Apr 2013 Reply
  • liam7777

    Love this song! The guitar riff is exactly the same as on Ted Nugent's Stranglehold, which came out many years earlier (from his first and IMHO only good album).

    3 Jan 2013 Reply
  • dmulah

    To this day, the only U2 song that I like. Killer track!

    12 Dec 2012 Reply
  • KConn3711


    22 Nov 2012 Reply
  • remfam

    Oh, yes. In the howlin' wind, comes the stingin' rain...

    16 Aug 2012 Reply
  • b-boy64


    12 Aug 2012 Reply
  • Liloucat

    great one :)))))

    27 Jul 2012 Reply
  • wackersska

    fuckin have it !!!!!

    14 Jul 2012 Reply
  • Cheburaloid

    WHOOOOOoooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo [2]

    16 Jun 2012 Reply
  • Kobra_Generosa

    I especially love "Rattle and Hum" version of it.

    15 May 2012 Reply
  • hsxeric

    Fav. U2 song. Just so different from everything else they or anyone else has done.

    9 Dec 2011 Reply
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