The Edge on recording U2's Love Is Blindness: "I poured everything into this guitar solo… I was in tears"

The Edge
(Image credit: Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

The Edge can be a divisive player for some guitar fans but there's absolutely no doubt he has crafted his own unmistakable sound on albums like The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree. 

However, 1991's Achtung Baby saw a sea change; he was stretching out into dark new places on arguably the band's creative peak. None more so than album closer Love Is Blindness, with his guitar breaks coming on like an anguished, broken anti-solo. 

It's one of the guitarist's most powerful statements on record, coming during a period of recording at Berlin's and a dark time for U2. The music was coming from a place of real personal anguish for the guitarist.

"I was going through a marriage breakup," The Edge told Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello in the second part of the latter's Maximum Firepower podcast interview. 

"I was genuinely going through the pain of the end of a relationship that I never thought would end. I remember that song, and a lot of the album, was inspired by… and there's a lot of lyrics I could point to, I don't want to go into it now, that I know Bono was drawing from my personal story and the story from another friend of his. We were both going through similar things at the same time. 

So when it came to me playing the solo on Love Is Blindness it's quite interesting," The Edge continues. "The first time I played, I poured everything into this guitar solo, I was in tears, I was just giving it up. 

"But I was down in the basement so no one could see and I was like waiting to hear a response. And Danny [Daniel Lanois, producer) said, 'That was kind of… ok. Let's try it again.' [laughs]. 

"Then I just went, you know what? It's not always about a personal thing, it's about how you can communicate that. It's not about having the feeling, it's how to communicate the feeling.

Wise words indeed. So the guitarist changed tack for another take.

"So then [for] take two, I was much more in the music than in my own head, my own sort of emotional place" he explains. 

"Then that solo was the first one [used in the song]. Then at the end… it's totally broken, that the basic thing. It's a person who is spent, who is broken, who is exhausted. 

"And that was sort of how I felt by the end of that day. That song was huge for me personally. And as an artist that's kind of the price of admission. 

"I know Bono's gone there on numerous occasions with his lyrics and vocals. It's big and if it's not, why do it? Music is life and death to us. And so if it doesn't have that sense about it, we sort of can't fake it. We can't do it if it's just entertainment, it has to mean more."

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.