Running to Stand Still (4:17)

Cover of Rock's Hottest Ticket, Volume 2

From Rock's Hottest Ticket, Volume 2 and 250 other releases

“Running to Stand Still” is the fifth track from U2’s 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. It is a soft, slow, piano-based song about a heroin-addicted woman from the Ballymun Seven Towers area of Dublin, shown in the lyric “I see seven towers/But I only see one way out.” The woman’s addiction is reflected in lines such as “She runs through the streets/With her eyes painted red” and “She will suffer the needle chill.” Bono’s lyrics evoke helplessness and frustration: “You’ve got to cry without weeping, talk without speaking, scream without raising your voice.”

Throughout its live history, “Running to Stand Still” has nearly always followed “Bullet the Blue Sky”, matching the order they appear on the album, as well. It was first played live on the Joshua Tree Tour, with The Edge playing keyboards and Bono playing guitar, usually acoustic. It was played this way until the Zoo TV Tour, when it was significantly altered. In these shows, The Edge played guitar on his Fender Stratocaster while Bono sang the song on the B-stage with a headset microphone, acting like a heroin addict. It was not played on the PopMart Tour or Elevation Tour, but it returned to U2 concerts in the 2005 Vertigo Tour, with the original combination of Edge on keyboards and Bono on guitar. During most of its performance on the Vertigo Tour, it was followed by a reading of some of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; after July 2005, it was replaced in that role by “Miss Sarajevo.


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  • TheHutchman

    Chills that could wake the pharaohs.

    17 Jan 1:12am Reply
  • Indierock93

    On New Years Concert there's the best ever version of this masterpiece! @daveandi THE best album ever recorded!

    16 Nov 2013 Reply
  • daveandi

    Only one of the best fucking U2 songs ever written on one of the best (if not THE best) U2 album ever recorded....still a life-changing experience to listen to it in entirety...hey now...

    16 Jan 2013 Reply
  • sharv11

    This song speaks to my seems to be of huge significance & I don't even know why...Miss you, Vinny...<3

    12 Dec 2012 Reply
  • sharv11

    This song brings me to poignant, so beautiful...It reminds me of you Vinny, although I don't think we ever listened to it together <3

    24 Oct 2012 Reply
  • sharv11

    Oh my gosh, what is there about this song? Absolutely breathtaking & heartbreaking...<3

    24 Aug 2012 Reply
  • musicangel1712

    stunningly beatuiful

    13 Jul 2012 Reply
  • Ksimi

    My fav of theirs. Everything in this track is (about) perfect.

    30 Oct 2011 Reply
  • Fabri_Vicentini

    Listened to it a hundred times and still give me goosebumps. Beautiful.

    9 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Pellkoppf

    ★ ღ ♫ღ ★

    4 Jul 2011 Reply
  • hooseyfloot

    one of my favourite U2 songs ever

    20 Jun 2011 Reply
  • AvinitGB

    Amazing track from one of the best albums ever, takes me back to the summer of 1987 every time I hear it

    31 Dec 2010 Reply
  • tchanluck

    merci a vous touss, que u2 dure aussi longtemps que possible

    23 Sep 2010 Reply
  • The80sFan

    One of my absolute favorite U2 tracks, the emotion and vocals from Bono on this track are just stunning. The lyrics and instrumentation are flawless as well.

    19 Sep 2010 Reply
  • Tiago_Freitas

    essa é linda demais... Grande Joshua!!!

    23 Aug 2010 Reply
  • adace

    absolutely beautiful

    1 Aug 2010 Reply
  • Echoes917

    Bono has the ability to send chills down my spine...

    7 Jun 2010 Reply
  • Themelis_Cuiper

    SEO Themelis Cuiper listening to U2 running to stand still, always like the build-ups in the songs of U2 from silent intiem to magistrale

    16 May 2010 Reply
  • olAlexAndrA

    That's why I love U2...

    11 May 2010 Reply
  • alisenr

    so sad, so gorgeous, this is why Joshua Tree is a classic

    25 Apr 2010 Reply
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