"These are some of the songs that saved my life… The ones I couldn't have lived without… the ones that got me from there to here, zero to 60…” says U2’s enigmatic front man, Bono, on the band’s website.
The singer celebrated his 60th birthday on Sunday, May 10, and to bring fans in a little closer he shared some kind words and a massive, four-hour playlist of songs from artists across all genres that he says have helped him "through all the scrapes, all manner of nuisance, from the serious to the silly… and the joy, mostly joy."
Bono has compiled the songs he grew up with, defining his sound at a young age as well as tracks that he collaborated on with some of his idols. Rounding out the mixtape is music from the new class of talent that he’s currently fascinated with.
Along with the songs ranging from Joy Division to Prince, and Elvis Presley to Public Enemy, he’s including fan letters to the artists.
"I wanted to thank the artists and everyone who helped make them…" Bono explains. "They were doing the same for me… I am writing a fan letter to accompany each song to try and explain my fascination…"
The first six letters are available for reading now and are addressed to Duncan Bowie (son of David Bowie), the surviving members of Kraftwerk, CHIC founder and Daft Punk collaborator Nile Rodgers, Shara Nelson of the influential UK electronic group Massive Attack, current pop-phenom Billie Eilish, and finally Alice, the daughter of Luciano Pavarotti.
GRAMMY-winning Alt-pop singer, Billie Eilish, only a minor when she began her career, is now the same age as Bono when he wrote his first song at the age of 18.
In his letter to Billie (and her brother/producer FINNEAS) he talks about their track “everything i wanted,” saying “I step inside your song and it’s a black beauty, achingly awesomely vulnerable and terrifying, fearless and worrisome… but you are not worried by all that.”
“I think of Carole King. I think of Roy Orbison. But like them, this never existed before you did.”
In his letter to Bowie’s son Duncan, Bono says, “When I heard your Dad's song 'LIFE ON MARS?' on the radio in 1973, I was hiding under the covers of my bed in 10 Cedarwood Road listening to a pirate radio station called Radio Caroline. I wasn't thinking about the question mark in the title… I wasn't bothered about the dramatic inquiry ‘is there life on Mars?’… The song was answering a much more important question when I was 13… Is there intelligent life on earth? It was proof as far as I'm concerned.”
“Thanks for sharing your father with so many souls, like me, who he filled up to the brim.”
You can see the full playlist, read the rest of Bono’s letters, and listen to the songs here. Be sure to check for updates over the next few days!