The Mother of All U2 Quizzes: 30 Questions for those who have ears to hear

David Buckna, a freelance writer who produces a regular column entitled The Pop Gospel, has put together a tough quiz on the Irish Rock Band U2 — a band that I have been known to listen to on occasion (on my final exam for my religion and popular culture class I had the following true/false question: “The instructor kind of likes the Irish rock band U2.” Most students circled false and wrote in “he LOVES U2” or the like).

This quiz is a tough one, however. I passed by the skin of my teeth! (16 out of 30!) I feel like my membership in the U2 fan club was just revoked!

If you think you know anything about U2, I challenege you to try it and post your results in the comments. (The following is reproduced from the ASSIST News Service.)

The Questions

  1. In what year did U2 release its first album, “Boy”?
  2. According to Beth Maynard, co-editor of Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog, what musical pairing on “Boy” was “U2’s very first foray into leading listeners musically through an experience of sin and redemption”?
  3. This member of U2 told journalist Terry Mattingly in 1982:”I really believe Christ is like a sword that divides the world, and it’s time we get into line and let people know where we stand. You know, to much of the world, even the mention of the name Jesus Christ is like someone scratching their nails across a chalkboard.” Who said it?
  4. This 1983 song ends: “The real battle just begun/To claim the victory Jesus won/On…” Name the song.
  5. The song “40” is directly based on what Old Testament scriptures?
  6. From “Pride (In The Name of Love): “Early morning, April 4/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/They could not take your pride”. To whom does this refer?
  7. What U2 album title is a subtle reference to the cross of Christ?
  8. In the “Rattle and Hum” documentary (1988), U2 holds up traffic by performing an impromptu version of a Dylan song on a flatbed truck. Name the song.
  9. While in New York City, U2 visited Harlem and sang “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” with a church choir. Name the choir.
  10. From “God Part II”: “Heard a singer on the radio/Late last night/Says he’s gonna kick the darkness/Til it bleeds daylight./I, I believe in love.” Who’s the singer Bono is referring to?
  11. In this 1989 book Bono remarks: “You know the Christ I read about in the Gospels is steel not straw.” Name the book.
  12. This song on “Achtung, Baby” (1991) includes the lyric: “If you want to kiss the sky/Better learn how to kneel”. Name the song.
  13. At the 1993 Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival, Willie Williams–U2’s show designer–phoned Bono from the main stage. Williams asked Bono if he had anything he wanted to say to the audience. What was Bono’s reply?
  14. What book by C.S. Lewis was the inspiration for Bono’s onstage “devilish” persona, MacPhisto, during the ZooTV tour?
  15. This U2 tour programme contains an image of an angel holding a sign on which Psalm 34:7 is printed: “THE ANGEL OF THE LORD ENCAMPETH AROUND ABOUT THEM THAT FEAR HIM AND DELIVERETH THEM.” What tour was the programme from?
  16. This song includes the lyric: “Lookin’ for to fill that God shaped hole”. Name it.
  17. BBC host Chris Evans once asked Bono what he’d sing if it was the last song of the last show. What song did Bono pick?
  18. On the album cover of “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (2000) what scripture is visible on the airport gate-sign?
  19. From: “Beautiful Day”: “See the bird with the leaf in her mouth/After the flood all the colours came out”. According to Genesis 8, what type of bird was it?
  20. What U2 song was played to Joey Ramone on his deathbed?
  21. The London Sunday Times Magazine (Sept. 29/01) mentions that Bono and Noel Gallagher (from the band Oasis) had a long conversation about faith. A few days after the conversation, Bono sent a package to Gallagher and his girlfriend Sara that included a book by Philip Yancey. Name the book.
  22. In a 2002 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, what did Bono call “the new leprosy”?
  23. In the foreword to this 2003 book, Eugene H. Peterson (Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver, B.C.) writes: “Is U2 a prophetic voice? I rather think so. And many of my friends think so. If they [U2] do not explicitly proclaim the Kingdom, they certainly prepare the way for that proclamation in much the same way as John the Baptist prepared the way for the kerygma of Jesus.” Name the book.
  24. According to Darleen Pryds (a professor at the Franciscan School of Theology) this U2 song “is played at GenXer funerals and GenXer weddings.” Name the song.
  25. In May 2004, what Illinois pastor visited U2 in their Dublin studio, and at the band’s request led “a time of prayer for them, their families and the [How to Dismantle] CD project”?
  26. In June 2004, Bono reportedly asked singer Michael W. Smith: “Do you know how to dismantle an atomic bomb?”. When Michael said “no”, Bono answered his own question with what answer?
  27. Bono told Robert Hilburn (Los Angeles Times):”We can be in the middle of the worst gig in our lives, but when we go into that song, everything changes….The audience is on its feet, singing along with every word. It’s like God suddenly walks through the room. It’s the point where craft ends and spirit begins. How else do you explain it?” Name the song.
  28. What song on “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb” (2004) uses the Hebrew word for God?
  29. The back cover of this 2005 book includes a quote from Bono: “The Left mocks the Right, the Right knows it’s right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try and understand each other’s point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.” Name the book.
  30. In March 2005, this U2 member told George Varga (San Diego Union-Tribune):”…on this record in particular, [How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb] we really complete the journey from fear to faith, and that’s sort of the way the running order on the record goes, from ‘Vertigo’ through to ‘Yahweh.'” Who said it?


Here are answers, don’t cheat!

  1. 1980. One of the most notable songs on the album is “I Will Follow”. The chorus: “If you walk away, walk away/I walk away, walk away/I will follow” is reminiscent of Ruth 1:16: “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
  2. “An Cat Dubh/Into the Heart”. Maynard continues: “The sin portion of the pair, ‘An Cat Dubh,’ has an attractiveness-of-evil theme that fits with ‘Vertigo.’….The redemptive portion of the pair, ‘Into the Heart,’ is about rebirth, about becoming an innocent child again. HTDAAB: ‘I’m at the door of the place I started out from and I want back inside.’ Enough said.” More…
  3. The Edge, in CCM Magazine, August 1982, p.24. Revelation 1:16-18: “In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.'”
  4. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, from the album “War” (1983)
  5. Psalm 40: Bono begins: “I waited patiently for the Lord/He inclined and heard my cry/He brought me up out of the pit/Out of the miry clay/I will sing, sing a new song/I will sing, sing a new song…” However the next line, “How long to sing this song”, was adapted from Psalm 6:3.
  6. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). On April 4, 1968, while King stood on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers, he was assassinated. More…
  7. “The Joshua Tree” (1987). Joshua is an anglicanization of the Hebrew name for Jesus [“Yeshua”] and for centuries the word “tree” has been a term used to describe the wooden cross on which Christ was crucified.
  8. “All Along the Watchtower”. In 1968 Jimi Hendrix recorded what is considered by many to be the most notable cover.
  9. The New Voices Of Freedom, who had recorded their own version. When U2 heard it, they arranged to sing it with the choir in their Harlem church. This led to the performance in Madison Square Garden seen in the “Rattle and Hum” documentary.
  10. Bruce Cockburn, who sings on “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”: “When you’re lovers in a dangerous time/Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime/But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight/Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight/When you’re lovers in a dangerous time”–from the album, Stealing Fire (1984) More…
  11. “U2: Three Chords and the Truth” (p. 142)
  12. “Mysterious Ways”. A letter writer to BC Christian Info (Feb. 1992) comments: “Perhaps the best lyric is from ‘Mysterious Ways’…and is the triumphant Christian epitaph of the sixties Man-Is-Wonderful-Drugs-Will-Set-Us-Free ethos. Jimi Hendrix, bless him, wrote the exemplary lyric of the psychedelic age, ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.’ To which absolutely no one else but Bono could reply: ‘If you want to kiss the sky…Better learn how to kneel. On your knees, boy!'”
  13. “Tell them: ‘Everything you know is right.'” And the Greenbelt crowd erupted. ZooTV exposed the postmodern media as a constant flashing of slogans; one of them was: ‘Everything you know is wrong.’ Willie Williams publishes U2 tour diaries here
  14. The Screwtape Letters (1942), a series of letters from Screwtape, an experienced devil, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter on his first assignment. Tony Bowden and Jennifer Stewart write in “U2’s Mysterious Ways“: “Bono’s ‘Satan’ persona, MacPhisto, has probably raised more Christian hackles than anything else U2 have ever done, with most Christians failing to understand what Bono is up to. In an interview with a prominent Irish paper earlier this year Bono commented that the whole concept of the MacPhisto character was one of mockery – taking his idea from the adage ‘mock the devil and he will flee from you.’ Such irony and tongue-in-cheek humour is common throughout the work of the band and is a very effective way of bringing people to think about the good and evil in the world. Bono mocks to make his point — and this point is transferred to thousands of people with an effectiveness that preachers can only dream about.” U2’s animated video, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”, shows Bono crossing a street reading a book. In the background one sees a speeding car headed for him. Bono is knocked to the ground and the book flies out of his hand. A close-up of the book’s cover shows it to be The Screwtape Letters.
  15. PopMart (1997). Psalm 34:7 is followed by the artist’s own words: “TO HAVE PEACE IN THIS WORLD IS TO MAKE PEACE WITH GOD, FOR HE CAN SAVE THIS WHOLE WORLD FROM SIN.” More…
  16. “Mofo”. “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus” –Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher and physicist, 1623-1662). From Augustine’s autobiography, Confessions, written in A.D. 397 to 401: “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in You.”
  17. “Amazing Grace”, lyrics by John Newton (Olney Hymns, 1779).
  18. J33-3 (Jeremiah 33:3) “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Bono told Rolling Stone (January 18/01): “It was done like a piece of graffiti — It’s known as ‘God’s telephone number’.”
  19. A dove. Genesis 8:10-11: “[Noah] waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.”
  20. “In A Little While”. On the DVD “Elevation 2001 – U2 Live From Boston” Bono introduces the song: “When we started out we were, I guess, 15, 16, Larry was 14, still is. Ah, the Ramones were the band, and ah, without The Ramones it’s hard to imagine that we…we would have felt like we felt about, you know, joinin’ a band and all. So this is a song that Joey Ramone loved. They played it to him while he was lying in his hospital bed a couple of months back. It was the last song that Joey Ramone heard in his life here, and…that’s an amazing thing for somebody who grew up as a fan of Joey Ramone, I can tell you that. Anyway, Joey turned this song about a hangover into a gospel song I think, ’cause that’s the way I always hear it now…through Joey Ramone’s ears.”
  21. What’s So Amazing About Grace? (1997). From the song “Grace”: “What once was hurt/What once was friction/What left a mark/No longer stings/Because Grace makes beauty/Out of ugly things”
  22. AIDS. Bono commented: “Christ’s example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here. If it wakes up to what’s really going on in the rest of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn’t, it will be irrelevant.” More…
  23. Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog (Raewynne J. Whiteley and Beth Maynard, editors, Cowley Publications, 2003).
  24. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. Pryds writes: “Couples who have the song played at their weddings boldly shatter all of our easy assumptions about romantic love and happily-ever-after, by using this song to declare their deeper search for God. And friends and families, preparing to bury their young people, choose this song to be sung at funerals as a reminder that the search and struggle of the deceased is finally over.” (in Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog, p. 102)
  25. Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Hybels is on Time magazine’s list of “The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” (Feb. 7/05)
  26. “With love…with love.” Bono and Michael both attended the launch of The One Campaign in Philadelphia.
  27. “Where the Streets Have No Name” More…
  28. “Yahweh”. The chorus: “Yahweh, Yahweh/Always pain before a child is born/Yahweh, Yahweh/Still I’m waiting for the dawn.” Kenneth Tanner writes on “‘Yahweh’ is a postmodern Christmas hymn. It looks in hope to the birth of Christ (‘always pain before a child is born’) as it presses home a question the Father’s long-awaited gift evokes in honest souls: ‘Why the dark before the dawn?'” Yahweh is one of the most important names for God in the Old Testament, from the verb, “to be,” meaning simply but profoundly, “I am who I am”. The Hebrew word “Yhwh” was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). And from the New Testament: “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). Bono: “The title’s an ancient name that’s not meant to be spoken. I got around it by singing it. I hope I don’t offend anyone.”
  29. The Politics of God: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (2005) by Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine.
  30. Adam Clayton: “We see it as a more joyous and up record. I mean, there’s always a degree of introspection and melancholy to what we do. The other end of the spectrum is there is also joy and celebration. And on this record, in particular, we really complete the journey from fear to faith, and that’s sort of the way the running order on the record goes, from ‘Vertigo’ through to ‘Yahweh.’ So ‘Vertigo’ is an expression of vulnerability, I guess, and by the time you get through to ‘Yahweh,’ it’s an expression of faith.”

So how did you do? Let me know in the comments!

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