"In Cold Blood" (1993)

Demo Song

Background Information

One of the experiments when recording Zooropa was trying out a poem that Bono had written over top of the instrumental for “Numb”. The poem, called “In Cold Blood” was published in Flanagan’s book U2 At the End of the World:

I read a book once, called “In Cold Blood”
About a murder in the neighborhood
Pages of facts did me no good
I read it like a blind man, in cold blood
So the story of a three-year-old child
Raped by soldiers though she’d already died
Made the mother watch as they fucked her in the mud
I’m reading the story now in cold blood
More now coming off the wire
City surrounded, funeral pyre
Life is cheaper than talking about it
People choke on their politician’s vomit
On cable television I saw a woman weep
Live by satellite from a flood-ridden street
Boy mistaken for a wastepaper bin
Body that a child used to live in
I saw plastic explosives and an alarm clock
And the wrong men sitting in the dock
Karma is a word I never understand
How God could take a four-year-old in cold blood
I live by a beach but it feels like New York
I hear about ten murders before I get to work
What’s it going to be, Lord, fire or flood
An act of mercy or in cold blood?

Bono suggested in the book that “I’m thinking of reciting it on the album with just a drum. Bring in a note of brutal reality.” That drum beat would have been the recognizable beat of “Numb”. The song was recorded, and there is evidence of it, as the line, “In Cold Blood” appears on a remix of “Numb” called the “Perfecto Mix”, released only as a promotional song.

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