Bono and the Edge release new version of Sunday Bloody Sunday on anniversary of massacre

Video includes images from the shooting that claimed 14 lives in Derry

Bono and the Edge from U2 have released a dramatically reworked acoustic version of Sunday Bloody Sunday on Instagram to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry. Video: @u2

Bono and the Edge from U2 have released a reworked acoustic version of Sunday Bloody Sunday on Instagram to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry.

Underneath the video posting a short caption read, simply: “January 30th 2022 - with love, Bono and Edge.”

The video, filmed in black and white and featuring images from the British army shooting that claimed 14 lives, includes a reworked final verse which re-emphasises the righteous anger which fuelled the original song while reflecting the reality of some of the more toxic elements of the 21st century.

The new verse in full reads:


“Here at the murder scene

The virus of fiction, reality TV

Why so many mothers cry

Religion is the enemy of the Holy Spirit guide

And the battle just begun

Where is the victory Jesus won?”

It appeared without any fanfare or notice on the band’s Instagram account on Sunday afternoon and within an hour of landing on the social media platform it had been viewed close to 100,000 times.

Sunday Bloody Sunday was one of the most talked about – and controversial – songs to feature on U2’s third album War which was released in 1983. It opened that album and reappeared on the band’s first live recording Under A Blood Red Sky which was released later that same year.

Introducing the song on that live album, Bono stared off by saying over the now famous militaristic drum beat: “There’s been a lot of talk about this next song, maybe, maybe too much talk. This song is not a rebel song this song is Sunday Bloody Sunday.”

Speaking about the song soon after its release in 1983, U2 drummer Larry Mullen jnr addressed how the song had been received and what it was about and, as importantly, what it was not about.


He said that when people heard it they were inclined to think about the Bloody Sunday massacre. "That's not what the song is about," he said. "That's an incident, the most famous incident in Northern Ireland and it's the strongest way of saying, 'How long? How long do we have to put up with this?' I don't care who's who Catholics, Protestants, whatever. You know people are dying every single day through bitterness and hate, and we're saying why? What's the point?"?

The religious reference in the new verse chime with the original version which repeatedly borrowed biblical references from New Testament verses attributed to Matthew, John and Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

While the band made clear on that live recording, and on many occasions before and after it, that it was not a rebel song and always stood firm against it being adopted as an anthem by those who endorsed violence throughout the 1980s and beyond, it has become one of the most important songs of protest ever recorded.

It detailed the horror felt by someone living through the Troubles in general and witnessing the brutality of Bloody Sunday in particular.

It is one of the most enduring songs ever recorded by the band and is still a staple on U2 playlists almost 40 years after they first asked how long they would have to sing this song and exactly 50 years after the tragic event that proved to be its inspiration unfolded on the streets of Derry.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor