"Stranger In A Strange Land" as written by and Dave Evans Adam Clayton....
Stranger in a strange land
He looked at me like I
Was the one who should run
We asked him to smile for a photograph
Waited a while to see if we could make him laugh

A soldier asked for a cigarette
His smiling face I can't forget
He looked like you across the street
But that's a long way here

And I wish you were here
And I wish you were here

A stranger in a strange land
He look at me like I
Was the one who should run
I watched as he watched us
Get back on the bus
I watched the way it was
The way it was when he was with us

And I really don't mind
Sleeping on the floor
But I couldn't sleep after what I saw
I wrote this letter to tell you
The way I feel

I wish you were here
Oh, I wish you were here
To see what I could see
To hear
And I wish you were here, oh, oh

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

"Stranger in a Strange Land" as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Stranger In A Strange Land song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis song was written for the U2 album 'October' in 1981 and I remember reading an interview with Bono at the end of 1981 in a Dutch magazine where he explained what the song was about. U2 was not big in those days but they had received good reviews of their debut album 'boy' and because of that they had been touring mainland Europe. When he was in Berlin he visited the Wall. There he climbed in a looking tower and from there watched into East Berlin. It was there that he saw in the distance an east german border soldier about the same age as Bono was (about 19). This song describes the feeling he had when he tried to make contact with that soldier.
    So 'the stranger' in the song is the soldier and 'the strange land' is East Germany.
    Because U2 wasn't a very rich band in those days they did not always sleep in hotels and sometimes just slept in their small touring van where they had to lie on the floor. That explains the part about "don't mind sleeping on the floor".
    FireFly65on May 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song to me is about the british occupation of northern ireland. while U2 obviously does not support the IRA etc. [just listen to sunday bloody sunday], i would say that they are opposed to the british presence.

    the stranger and the soldier are the same person. 'he looked at me like i was the one who should run' to me is the british exercising control over the irish people.

    this is often my favorite U2 song.

    'and i really don't mind sleeping on the floor
    but i couldn't sleep after what i saw'

    that is probably my favorite U2 line ever. however i don't know where it fits into my whole british occupation theory.
    kingmikekingon April 30, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the underlying theme of this song is about division.

    It could be a protest song against British troops being stationed in Northern Ireland or it could be about the Berlin Wall.
    simple80sukuson April 15, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the line after "He looked like you from across the street" is actually "But that's a long way here", which seems a clever way of encapsulating a divided community where a short physical distance hides a wider gulf of some kind. To reflect what earlier posters said, that was definitely the case in both Belfast and Berlin in 1981.
    MDC1975on April 07, 2012   Link

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