The Odd No. 1 Song Topping Bono’s List of ‘Songs That Saved My Life’

U2 star Bono recently shared a list of songs close to his heart. They’re so close, in fact, he’s called them the “songs that saved my life.”

Bono at the beginning of his U2 career
Bono at the beginning of his U2 career | Peter Noble/Redferns

Many of them make perfect sense as anthems representing seasons of his life and the artists that influenced his own musical style.

His No. 1 pick, however, is the most surprising one.

Bono chose 60 songs to commemorate his 60th birthday

It’s actually an interesting idea to select songs to represent each year of your life, and that’s what the U2 frontman did.

Some of his choices are pieces he performed in, while many are simply songs that he, “couldn’t have lived without…,” he said in an open letter on the official U2 website, “the ones that got me from there to here, zero to 60… through all the scrapes, all manner of nuisance, from the serious to the silly… and the joy, mostly joy.’”

The musician and philanthropist has revealed himself to be, like the rest of us, a fanboy taken back to another time and another place when he hears a certain song or melody. In fact, Bono is posting on his band’s website a note of admiration to each artist whose song he’s chosen.

“I wanted to thank the artists,” he said, “and everyone who helped make them. . . They were doing the same for me. I am writing a fan letter to accompany each song to try and explain my fascination.”

The songs Bono chose

From rock classics such as Peter Frampton’s “Show Me The Way” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” to ballads and techno-pop, including Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” and Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” the now-60-year-old impressively has a broad range of musical tastes.

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Love to all Douglases everywhere Bono

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Billie Eilish’s “everything i wanted” also made the Irish singer’s list.

“I step inside your song and it’s a black beauty,” Bono wrote Eilish and her brother and song collaborator, Finneas, in his fan letter to them, “achingly awesomely vulnerable and terrifying, fearless, and worrisome. . . but you are not worried by all that. You express it so you can own the feeling that nags. I think of Carole King. I think of Roy Orbison. But just like them, this never existed before you did.”

The No. 1 song from Bono’s ‘Songs That Saved My Life’

The “With or Without You” singer revealed that his No. 1 song from his list features Luciano Pavarotti, Zucchero Fornaciari, and Bono himself singing the operatic piece, “Miserere,” which Bono composed with Fornaciari.

In his fan letter to the late Pavarotti, Bono addressed himself to the opera giant’s 17-year-old daughter, Alice.

Luciano Pavarotti with Bono
Luciano Pavarotti with Bono | Giuseppe Cacace/Getty Images

“Dear Alice, ‘Miserere’ is one of my favourite of your father’s crescendos. We sang it live in Modena.”

Bono’s father’s adoration of opera ignited in the singer a love as well for it and inspired the theatrical in his performances. “Miserere” for Bono was that love set to music.

“When I hear this, I miss my father as well as yours. He loved the opera . . . he was one.”

Read more: This Is Bono’s Favorite U2 Song