Bono and Ali are the sweetest thing

Somehow, though I’ve loved U2 for decades, I’ve only just learned that U2’s song “The Sweetest Thing” (lyrics here) was written by Bono as an apology to his wife, Ali, for missing her birthday back when the band was in recording sessions for “The Joshua Tree” (first album I ever bought on CD).

Originally the B-side to “Where the Streets Have No Name,” the song was redone in 1998 for a new compilation, and they gave it a lovely video that seems to involve about half the city of Dublin. (Scroll down a bit to watch it.)

Ali is the lady who climbs into the carriage at the start of the video, putting on a suitably annoyed face, and during the ride down Fitzwilliam Place, various characters pop up to help Bono “apologize,” including Irish pop group Boyzone chiming in on the “Oh oh oh”s, Irish boxer Steve Collins, the “Massive Heeds” (dancers with giant fiberglass U2 heads from a Galway performance group), the Artane Boys Band, part of the cast of “Riverdance,” the rest of U2 appearing just in time for the Edge’s pretty guitar part, Chippendale dancers on a firetruck and some unnamed pilots assisting with the “blue skies ahead” line.

Thankfully, she had long since forgiven him (one hopes!), and she asked both in 1987 and 1998 for the song’s proceeds to go to charity.

Subtly, Bono is miming some of the actions in the song (e.g. “my love, she throws me like a rubber ball” at the opening; taking off his trademark shades to show the blue eyes Ali loves at “blue-eyed boy to brown-eyed girl,” etc.)

Ah, and that’s Bono’s big brother, Dublin restaurateur Norman Hewson, popping in as the chef at the end. (I don’t know about the dog. Anyone?)

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