"The Hands That Built America" as written by and Larry Mullen Dave Evans....
Oh my love
It's a long way we've come
From the freckled hills
To the steel and glass canyons

From the stony fields
To hanging steel from skies
From digging in our pockets
For a reason not to say goodbye

These are the hands that built America
Ah, ah, ah, America

Last saw your face
In a water colored sky
As sea birds argue a long goodbye

I took your kiss
On the spray of a new lined star
You gotta live in your dreams
Don't make them so hard

And these are the hands that built America
Ah, ah, ah, America

Of all of the promises
Is this one we can keep
Of all of the dreams
Is this one still out of reach?

It's early fall
There's a cloud in the New York skyline
Innocence dragged across a yellow line

These are the hands that built America
These are the hands that built America
Ah, ah, ah, America
Ah, ah, ah, America


Lyrics submitted by xgiambino25x

"The Hands That Built America" as written by Larry Mullen Dave Evans

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Hands That Built America song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song is all about the Irish who emigrated to America in the 19th and 20th century. Who grafted hard in a far off land from home, who didn’t have any money in their pockets leaving, didn’t want to leave but were forced to “from diggin in our pockets
    for a reason not to say goodbye”. Bono admitted that he lifted the song title from a song by one of Ireland’s seminal bands of the 70’s – Horslips, “The Man who Built America” from 1978, and changed the word man to hands.
    Lloyd_Coleon June 29, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is most definetly about moving from ireland. I'm not Irish, but I do know that "halle" is the irish word for "holy" and Bono says them both in the song. Also, I encourage everyone to wach the music video, it proves that its about moving from Ireland.
    karatekid2007on July 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song was on "Gangs of New York" soundtrack and yes, it's about the Irish who emigrated to America. A great song and also a great movie!
    Angel_in_blackon August 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the first 2 verses refer to America's development--hills and plains to hanging steel
    (skyscrapers) in the sky.

    I'm reminded of September 11, 2001 when I hear
    the words "It's early fall, there's a cloud in the
    NY skyline", though I don't know if that's what Bono
    means.
    jrprentice11on February 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the voyage from "freckled hills" to "steel & glass canyons" is about emigration from Ireland to the USA (specifically NYC).

    I remember reading an interview somewhere that the lyrics re: Sept. do refer to 9/11.
    loveu2on May 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUpdate for Karatekid2007, holy in Irish is "Naomh", it can change slightly depending in what context you use it, Holy Spirit would be 'Spiorad Naomh', The Holy Father would be 'an tAthair Naofa'

    Not sure what Halle means, it could be latin or indeed Hebrew for Holy....... you just never know with Bono
    Lloyd_Coleon August 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like listening to this song when I'm driving. With endless road on the horizon, against the crimson cloud background, and Bono's voice perfecting the blend, I'll never be bored of driving.
    chico23on September 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Seabirds argue a long good-bye."
    Theresa1on October 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA brilliant song from a briliant film!!! I love it!
    jerseychickon March 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts early fall
    There's a cloud in the New York skyline
    Innocence dragged across a yellow line

    thats about september 11th. the rest of the song isnt, its about how new york grew, and about how irish imigrants played a large role in this. the last line about sept 11th is just bringing it up to date, maybe showing how new york is defined today, whereas the rest of the song tells what made the city
    ramshotelon June 19, 2007   Link

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