World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

40 (song)

Article Id: WHEBN0003306417
Reproduction Date:

Title: 40 (song)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: U2 songs, 1983 singles, Lovetown Tour, Rivers of Babylon, DC Talk
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

40 (song)

Single by U2
from the album War
Released August 1983
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded August 1982; Windmill Lane Studios, Dublin
Genre Rock, post-punk
Length 2:35
Label Island
Producer(s) Steve Lillywhite
U2 singles chronology
"Sunday Bloody Sunday"
"40" (Germany only)
"Pride (In the Name of Love)"
War track listing

Under a Blood Red Sky track listing
"New Year's Day"

"40", also known as "40 (How Long)", is the tenth and final track from U2's 1983 album, War. The song is noted for its live performances, often involving the audience singing along for minutes after the band has left the stage. The lyrics are a modification of the Bible's Psalm 40.

The song was released as a commercial single only in Germany, simply to promote U2's appearance at the Loreley Festival in 1983.[1] The single was released on a 7" gramophone record with a B-side of the album version of "Two Hearts Beat as One". Since its live debut on February 26, 1983, in Dundee, "40" has been a staple of U2's live concerts, having been performed almost 400 times.[2]


  • Recording 1
  • Live performances 2
  • Track listing 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The song was recorded right at the end of the recording sessions for War. Bassist Adam Clayton had already left the studio, and the three remaining band members decided they didn't have a good song to end the album.[3] Bono, The Edge, and Larry Mullen, Jr. quickly recorded the song with The Edge switching off to both the electric and bass guitar. Bono called the song "40" as he based the lyrics on Psalm 40.

When we were making our third record, the War LP, we were being thrown out of the studio by the studio manager because we had overrun or something and we had one more song to do. We wrote this song in about ten minutes, we recorded it in about ten minutes, we mixed it in about ten minutes and we played it, then, for another ten minutes and that's nothing to do with why it's called '40'.
— Bono, Concert April 29, 1987[4]

The first verse of the song is based on Psalm 40:1-2, and the second verse of the song is based on Psalm 40:2-3. The chorus is loosely based on the first two verses of Psalm 40:3, which reads "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God..."

Live performances

"40" debuted live on February 26, 1983, in Dundee as the final song of the show, and closed every single concert on 1983's War Tour. It became very popular as a concert closer, and between its debut and January 10, 1990, there were roughly only twenty tour concerts that did not feature "40" as the closing song. During live performances, Adam Clayton and The Edge would swap instruments so that Adam played guitar and Edge played bass, and the band members would progressively leave stage, with Bono the first to depart, then Clayton, then Edge, and finally, Larry Mullen, Jr. The crowd would often continue to chant the refrain of "How sing this song?" even after the band had left the stage. Live performances of the song are included on the live album Under a Blood Red Sky and the concert film Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky.

Between January 1990 and March 2005, full performances of "40" were extremely rare, though on 2001's Elevation Tour, it was regularly snippeted at the end of "Bad" before the song segued into "Where the Streets Have No Name". "40" made a return to the regular setlist in March 2005 on the Vertigo Tour and has closed many of the tour's shows: it closed most on the first leg, three on the second, rotated with other songs (mainly "Bad") for closing duties on the third leg, made only a few appearances on the fourth leg, and was snippeted a few times rather than being played in full on the fifth leg. During the U2 360° Tour, it was snippeted in Pittsburgh (the final American tour date) and was revived on the last night of that tour in Moncton, New Brunswick as the tour's final song.[5] It is U2's fifteenth most performed live song,[6] or twelfth most performed if snippets are included in its total.[7] The song made its Innocence + Experience Tour debut on 27 May 2015 in Inglewood, and was dedicated to the memory of their recently deceased tour manager Dennis Sheehan.[8] This song was also played on July 2, 2015 as the closer to the last Chicago show at the United Center, and again on July 31, 2015 as the closer to the last New York City show of the Innocence and Experience Tour at Madison Square Garden.

Track listing

  1. "40 (How Long)" (Album Version) – 2:35
  2. "Two Hearts Beat as One" (Album Version) – 4:02

This is the only known single release, distributed only in Germany. The song was titled "40 (How Long)" for this release.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Aaron J. Sams. ":: U2 Discography - 40 Single / U2". U2Wanderer.Org. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  2. ^ "U2 40 - U2 on tour". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  3. ^ On the Edge Entertainment Weekly. Accessed January 4, 2007
  4. ^ "Transcribed U2 Quotes". 2009-11-19. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  5. ^ "U2 Moncton, 2011-07-30, Magnetic Hill Music Festival Site, 360° Tour - U2 on tour". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  6. ^ "U2 songs sorted by number of live performances, excluding snippets". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  7. ^ "U2 songs sorted by number of live performances". Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  8. ^ " - U2 Innocence + Experience Tour 2015". 

External links

  • "40" Lyrics — Lyrics to the song
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.