U2 frontman Bono celebrated his 60th birthday recently by posting a playlist of what he described as “60 Songs That Saved My Life”.
Bono's playlist, available on Spotify, YouTube Music and other music services, features several classics: Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, I Want to Hold Your Hand by The Beatles and Daniel by Elton John.
But it also has some contemporary songs you might not expect from the Irish music legend, such as such as Billie Eilish's Everything I Wanted, Kanye West's Black Skinhead and Lady Gaga's Born This Way.
"These are some of the songs that saved my life," Bono said in a statement.
"The ones I couldn't have lived without . . . the ones that got me from there to here, zero to 60 . . . through all the scrapes, all manner of nuisance, from the serious to the silly . . . and the joy, mostly joy."
Because the songs mean so much to him, Bono added that he’ll write a "fan letter to accompany each song to try and explain my fascination”.
The first batch of letters, posted on Sunday on U2's website, was written to Eilish, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, Luciano Pavarotti and Massive Attack. The gallery of letters to his 60 lifesavers is set to expand on the website over the coming days.
“I wanted to thank the artists and everyone who helped make them . . . They were doing the same for me,” Bono added.
Eilish’s Everything I Wanted, released as a standalone single last November, is the newest track on Bono’s list.
“Dear Billie (Finneas too),” he writes. “My ears long for such empty spaces to wander, to sneak away from the density of digital surfaces with too much information. I step inside your song and it’s a black beauty, achingly, awesomely vulnerable and terrifying, fearless and worrisome. But you are not worried by all that. You express it so you can own the feeling that nags. I think of Carole King. I think of Roy Orbison. But just like them, this never existed before you did. Your fan, Bono.”
His letter honouring Bowie’s hit song Life on Mars? is addressed to the late rocker’s son, Duncan Jones.
“‘When I heard your dad’s song Life on Mars? on the radio in 1973, I was hiding under the covers of my bed in 10 Cedarwood Road listening to a pirate radio station called Radio Caroline,” Bono recalls.
“I wasn’t thinking about the question mark in the title. I wasn’t bothered about the dramatic inquiry: “Is there life on Mars?” The song was answering a much more important question when I was 13. Is there intelligent life on Earth? It was proof as far as I’m concerned.”
Bono’s playlist also includes three songs on which he collaborated with other artists – Pavarotti, Kendrick Lamar and Frank Sinatra.
He addresses Alice Pavarotti, the singer’s daughter, about one of those collaborations. “[1992’s] Miserere. I can hardly remember what it was about . . . other than forgiveness, that is. And a toast to being alive.”
*Covid-19 is keeping many of us indoors. Our shopping trips have become brief, normal activities have been halted. Many have been wondering if they’ll still get their copy of their favourite YOU magazine. And how will we find things to do while indoors?
Though YOU magazine is available in most grocery stores, you can also subscribe online with no fuss. Click here to purchase a digital copy.