To celebrate his 60th birthday on May 10, rock god Bono made a list of 60 songs that saved his life — with plans to write a thank-you note to each artist, or their heirs.
He’s posted the typed notes on u2.com, including one to Prince, for “When Doves Cry,” and one to Bob Dylan, for “Most of the Time.”
To Prince, Bono began, “You are the most cinematic of musical geniuses.
“Little Richard, Miles Davis and Marc Bolan all had it… and boy did they know it… but you had it the most of all the movie stars, rock stars, instinct avatars, and improviser auteurs. You were writing, producing, directing and starring as all the characters busting out from your magical, vivid soul. All you. All the time.”
Bono called Prince the “Master of the establishing shot” and then quoted some opening lines from Purple songs.
Bono gushed to the late Minnesota icon: “Was there ever a songwriter who understood the relationship between voice and drums more? James Brown is your only peer.”
And the U2 hero concluded, “I don’t believe anybody’s a genius… I think people just access it for a moment or a while…. but you came close. Your fandango, Bono.”
To “Dearest Bob,” Bono wonders “where to start?” Then he rattles off a list of Dylan songs that impacted him, including “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” “Senor,” “Every Grain of Sand,” “Dignity,” “Brownsville Girl” and finally “Most of the Time.”
He explains why he turns to it more often than any other Dylan song: “Because we love the idea that you/we can still have our heart broken. Can a life so full be capable of the emptiness love leaves behind? We know the price of love is grief, so we make friends with the void and the consolation prize is of course beauty, and the fun you seem to have filling that hole…”
He signs it: “Your Irish fan club, Bono.”
The 60-song, four-hour playlist is on u2.com.
The list contains big hits, including Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
Also included are Bono’s collaborations with Frank Sinatra (“Under My Skin”) and Pavarotti and Zucchero (“Miserere”). Teenaged newcomer Billie Eilish gets a nod for “Everything I Wanted,” and David Bowie is the only artist to be mentioned twice, for “Heroes” and “Life on Mars?”