Musical Traditions
Published on January 24, 2013 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about listening to U2's "The Unforgettable Fire" in honor of Martin Luther King.

Here's an excerpt:

"There are songs for all sorts of big events — birthdays, weddings, funerals.

But I like to find songs for other types of occasions, such as election day. On election day, I pull out my copy of The Replacements song 'Election Day,' and play it before I go vote. The song reflects a far more apathetic attitude toward elections than my own, what with lyrics such as 'I don’t care who gets elected/til I find me one to love,' but listening to it has become something of an annual tradition.

This week I pulled out my copy of U2’s 'The Unforgettable Fire' in honor of Martin Luther King. This 1984 album contains two songs about King: 'Pride (In the Name of Love)' and 'MLK.' 'Pride' compares King to Jesus, and describes his assassination: 'Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/They could not take your life' before shifting into the song’s catchy refrain. 'MLK,' the final song on the album, is a haunting elegy disguised as a lullaby: 'Sleep tonight/And may your dreams/Be realized.'"

Click here to read the whole thing.

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