The 40 Best Bono Quotes

When it comes to frontmen, few have the legacy and ability of Bono.

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The 62-year-old lead singer of the Irish band U2 has enjoyed a long career that’s encompassed rock stardom and political activism.

He’s responsible for such hits as “With or Without You,” “One,” “Pride (In the Name of Love,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” among many more. Truly, he’s a legend if there ever was one.

But what did the outspoken Dublin-born artist have to say throughout his life when it comes to life and love, liberty, and society? That is the subject of this inquiry.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the 40 best Bono quotes, shall we?

1. “I’m the man that brought you the mullet.”

2. “I think carrying moral baggage is very dangerous for an artist. If you have a duty, it’s to be true and not cover up the cracks.”

3. “You see, Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice. It makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties. It doubts our concern. It questions our commitment. Because there is no way we can look at what’s happening in Africa, and if we’re honest, conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else.”

4. “The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years—the idea of grace—is the reason I would like to be a Christian.”

5. “I have been working for Africans since I was 18 when I got involved with the Nelson Mandela concerts. I got involved with debt cancellation because Desmond Tutu demanded that the world respond to that situation.”

6. “I put Catholic guilt to work pretty good for a rich rock star.”

7. “The fact is that ours is the first generation that can look disease and extreme poverty in the eye, look across the ocean to Africa, and say this, and mean it. We do not have to stand for this. A whole continent written off—we do not have to stand for this.”

8. “Particularly conservative Christians, I was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency.”

9. “Facts, like people, want to be free—and when they’re free, liberty is usually around the corner.”

10. “I always think if you are asking somebody for something it is a good idea to give them something first.”

11. “I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God. For me, at least, it got in the way.”

12. “Overcoming my dad telling me that I could never amount to anything is what has made me the megalomaniac that you see today.”

13. “The job of art is to chase ugliness away.”

14. “U2 is sort of songwriting by accident really. We don’t really know what we’re doing and when we do, it doesn’t seem to help.”

15. “I used to—my earliest memory of waking up with a melody in my head was, you know, 8, 9, 10. I’ve always heard kind of melodies in my head.”

16. “Convictions, in the end, they can be dangerous, but a world without them is just kind of an awful kind of gray, amorphous mass.”

17. “When a nation is over-reliant on one or two commodities like oil or precious minerals, corrupt government ministers and their dodgy associates hoard profits and taxes instead of properly allocating them to schools and hospitals.”

18. “Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to 400 million of the world’s poorest people.”

19. “I really have had to swallow my own prejudice at times.”

20. “It’s annoying, but justice and equality are mates. Aren’t they? Justice always wants to hang out with equality. And equality is a real pain.”

21. “It’s so sweet, I feel like my teeth are rotting when I listen to the radio.”

22. “Hanging out with politicians and corporations is very unhip work. But I think that the U2 audience has turned out to be incredibly subtle in their understanding.”

23. “It’s not a coincidence that in the Scriptures, poverty is mentioned more than 2,100 times. It’s not an accident. That’s a lot of air time, 2,100 mentions.”

24. “When you truly accept that those children in some far-off place in the global village have the same value as you in God’s eyes or even in just your eyes, then your life is forever changed; you see something that you can’t un-see.”

25. “Music can change the world because it can change people.”

26. “To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.”

27. “We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.”

28. “Where you live in the world should not determine whether you live in the world.”

29. “What I like about pop music, and why I’m still attracted to it, is that in the end, it becomes our folk music.”

30. “What’s so powerful about the Psalms are, as well as they’re being gospel and songs of praise, they are also the blues.”

31. “Mandela’s heroism is the heroism of a man who suffered so badly for what he thought of as freedom. And yet when he had the upper hand he has this incredible self-control and these incredible leadership qualities.”

32. “Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building.”

33. “The extraction of oil, coal, and minerals brought, and still brings, a cost to the environment.”

34. “America is not just a country, it’s an idea, and real Americans are getting busy.”

35. “The less you know, the more you believe.”

36. “You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It’s very real. It’s very strong.”

37. “You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior, where we’re just nice, sort of ‘death by cupcake.'”

38. “My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them.”

39. “I’m actually starting to like more and more people who have convictions that are unpopular.”

40. “As a musician and a songwriter, it is an act of the ego to believe that other people might be interested in your point of view. But it is usually an empathetic nature that gets you going in the first place. Music keeps the heart porous in many ways.”

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