U2/Green Day: “The Saints are Coming”

U2/Green Day: “The Saints are Coming”

Reading the lyrics of “The Saints are Coming”, it’s no surprise that U2 chose it as a song to celebrate the re-opening of New Orleans’ Superdome with Green Day. The song, written by singer Richard Jobson and guitarist Stuart Adamson of Scottish punk group The Skids, made an impression on the Dublin band as it had a deep history.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Jobson remembers that the track was written for a friend of his who joined the army to learn a craft and quickly found himself patrolling the streets of Belfast. He was later killed. “His partner had just had their first baby shortly before he got killed. The lyrics are written from the perspective of the kid trying to speak to him.
“Like us, he didn’t want to be a part of all that sectarian stuff. In The Skids, I was a Catholic while the other three guys were Protestants – but it didn’t matter to us.” When he got the call from U2’s The Edge, Jobson thought it was a prank. “The Edge said something really beautiful to me,” revealed Richard. “He said, ‘You know, good work never dies, it just goes to sleep for a while until somebody wakes it up’.

Click “Read more” for the lyrics and some impressions.

Lyrically, it’s easy to see why U2 and Green Day chose the track. It has all the classic tone of a U2 song, with strong imagery, despair and hope. It could also have been written specifically for New Orleans.

The Saints are Coming

I cried to my daddy on the telephone
How long now
Until the clouds unroll and you come home

the line went
But the shadows still remain since your descent
your descent

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
No matter how I try, I realise there’s no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming

A drowning sorrow floods the deepest grief
How long now
Until a weather change condemns belief

The stone says
This paternal guide once had his day
Once had his day

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
No matter how I try, I realise there’s no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming

Written by Richard Jobson and Stuart Adamson. Recorded by The Skids and U2/Green Day.

One thought on “U2/Green Day: “The Saints are Coming”

  1. I think this song has hope in it. Despite the permenance of death, and the reality that death comes with war it’s a song that says to the listener no matter how bad things get, the saints are coming.

    I’m protestant but I believe that the Saints are those who believe in the resurrection of Christ and have been adopted into the family of Christ through this. They are people whose lives have been transformed by the message of grace found in the Bible. They are famous and unknown people who also change the lives of others. They are teachers, beggers, missionaries, and vicars. They are nurses, scholars, dustmen.

    When Christ returns he’s bringing his Saints with him.

    So there is some truth to the phrase “The Saints Are Coming”. I think they really are. They are there to lead us to the light through the darkness that surrounds us.

    So to a child or family that is greiving over the loss of their loved one through Hurricane or War, this song is a song of hope.

    Don’t give up, the Saint’s are coming, and they are bringing the Prince of Peace with them.

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