The Saints Are Coming – Green Day & U2

This might be the first appearance of U2 on SteveForTheDeaf. What might surprize you is the news in which I confess that is strange. I frikkin’ love U2. Well, a certain era of U2 anyway.

And funnily enough… not this era. By the time of Hurricane Katrina it had been a few years since U2 had done anything I considered vital. They were still a potent force, but they were being eclipsed by younger bands like Green Day and Foo Fighters for the crown of The Biggest (credible) Band in the World™

And yet for all the right reasons they still had some strokes of genius in them.

The genius at work here comes in three aspects…

Firstly the collaboration of these two bands shows a righteous and pure motivation. Shit’s gone down, the government are not helping, the right minded want to step in. Knowing their combined might would shift some records and raise much needed funds is one thing. Also, it’s a good thing. There is no doubt about that. However, for the message to stick. For it to really help, long term? Well good art has a habit of doing that rather well.

Secondly then. Picking a song like The Saints Are Coming does a lot. The Skids were a Scottish punk band in the 70’s who recorded tracks like Into The Valley and Working For The Yankee Dollar. They were there in ’77 when it all kicked off but they didn’t make it onto the fist of five that everyone remembers (Clash, Pistols, Ramones, Damned, Blondie) so they became donors of the odd track on compilation albums about the era in the minds of any who remembered them.

The song also had relevance to New Orleans. The Saints of the title being the local football team. Billie Joe sneaks in another legendary New Orleans rock reference right at the top of the track with a bar of House Of The Rising Sun. Although The Saints name had been associated with the marching variety most would connect with Louis Armstrong, using The Saints Are Coming as a statement tied in beautifully with the Third aspect of inspiration at play…

The Video for The Saints Are Coming is as subversive a piece of Pop Art as any you could care to name. Using CGI to *ahem* fake news footage of how the powers that be should have responded to the very real humanitarian crisis on their own soil is the very definition of good art. This may be one of the most important music videos, short films and pieces of protest art of our time.

This is MTV’s Guernica. ‘This is what you should have done’ the video tells the US Government. You could have been the good guys. You could have been heroes. In your own time.

The multi-millionaire rock stars used their power, their money and their time for good here. They saw something needed to be done. They stepped up and did it. Bono gets a lot of stick for this sort of thing. I think he’s bob on with this one (I actually think he’s right a fair amount of the time, but that’s just me).

They called out the President, the military and the media and they gave us a brilliant record and music video to boot.

And they gave The Skids a new generation of fans. Good work.

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4 thoughts on “The Saints Are Coming – Green Day & U2

  1. This song brings together the top two bands that I sometimes like and sometimes want to hit in the face. I had never seen this video; strong stuff; sad times. Now you should put on “Wide Awake ” by Chris Cornell. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

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