"Silver And Gold" as written by Richard Anthony Hewson and Tony Macaulay....
In the shit house a shotgun
Praying hands hold me down
Only the hunter was hunted
In this tin can town
Tin can town

No stars in the black night
Looks like the sky fell down
No sun in the daylight
Looks like it's chained to the ground
Chained to the ground
The warden said
The exit is sold
If you want a way out
Silver and gold

Broken back to the ceiling
Broken nose to the floor
I scream at the silence, it's crawling
It crawls under the door
There's a rope around my neck
And there's a trigger in your gun
Jesus say something
I am someone, I am someone
I am someone

Captain and kings
In the ships hold
They came to collect
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Seen the coming and going
Seen them captains and the kings
See them navy blue uniforms
See them bright and shiny things
Bright shiny things

The temperature is rising
The fever white hot
Mister, I ain't got nothing
But it's more than you got

Chains no longer bind me
Not the shackles at my feet
Outside are the prisoners
Inside the free
Set them free
Set them free

A prize fighter in a corner is told
Hit where it hurts
Silver and gold
Silver and gold

Yep, silver and gold
This song was written in a hotel room in New York city
'Round about the time a friend or ours, little Steven,
Was putting together a record of artists against apartheid
This is a song written about a man
In a shanty town outside of Johannesburg
A man who's sick of looking down
The barrel of white South Africa
A man who is at the point
Where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor
A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the west
While they argue and while they fail to support a man
Like bishop Tutu and his request for economic sanctions
Against South Africa

Am I buggin' you, I don't mean to bug ya

Okay Edge, play the blues

Lyrics submitted by yuri_sucupira

"Silver and Gold [Live]" as written by Dave Evans Paul Hewson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Silver And Gold song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAhh, I love this song.
    Obviously, in the spoken part, Bono explains what it was about, but this song and Bullet The Blue Sky are definitely my high points of the Rattle and Hum movie.
    I love The Edge's guitar work in this song, that man is so talented.
    Go U2!
    Arianrhodon September 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the idea of comparing black and white to silver and gold - that both colours and people are equally awesome. or maybe thats not what it means at all?
    every lyric in this song is fan-bloody-tastic - but there are two moments where bono and co just take me to another place - on the words "bright shiny things, bright shiny things, yeah" and the verse following that. also when he says "ok edge play the blues" - the solo following that is nothing technically clever but amazing sounding.

    bono was a truly great lyric writer. this is a prime example, along with songs like 'one' and 'so cruel'. and he could sing ok i spose, a little bit, sort of.
    atthedrive-inon November 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbono can sing 'ok'?
    what?! he is one of the greatest rock vocalists...has one of the clearest voices ive ever heard...his voice is freakin awesome...
    johnnycabollion January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song that will never played played on air on radio for whatever reason. Probably because it's not pop-lite and requires a little thought and appreciation. And I agree with Arianrhod that Bullet the Blue Sky is along the same vein. Great song, great lyrics, simple yet great music. Some people can argue Bono doesn't have the greatest voice but no one can deny that when U2 puts out, the whole sound is wayyyyyy greater than the sum of the individual parts. And THAT is why they are still such a great band.

    daedoloson October 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes this sound familiar to anyone else?

    I remember buying the Sun City album in 1986 or 1987. It was around the time when a lot of artists were recording for different causes (ie. Do They Know It's Christmas?, Feed The World, etc.) The featured song was a bunch of artists performing a song entitled "I Ain't Gonna Play Sun City" (or something like that). There were other songs on the album and among them was "Silver and Gold". And although Bono had sung the lyrics, the music was performed by Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones. Just thought it was an interesting note.
    celticray47on February 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCelticray - it's the same song. Bono w Keith and ron...and a microphone on a tapping foot for percussion.

    In my opinion the Sun City version is far far superior. I find the rattle and hum version overwrought and corny by comparison. Don't get me started about Edge "play(ing) the blues" on the album cut.

    But if you can ever find a copy of the Sun City version snap it up. It's intense and intimate and menacing in a way the rattle and hum version is very much not. More reminiscent of Springsteen's Nebraska than of the mega production that can rob even the best songs of their feel.

    U2 started losing me after that recording to be honest.

    Thanks for reading.
    ashburnhamrodandgunclubon September 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really love this song specially the live rattle & hum version...its played to perfection!
    otiztikon March 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGives me shivers during the "blues" at the end.
    skulptFireon April 01, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the Eighties, South Africa was under the racially oppressive system of apartheid. Bishop Tutu, as the lyrics indicate, asked for the major Western nations to impose economic sanctions on his own country as a way to force a change. In 1986, the US Congress passed a bill imposing such sanctions. Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill, but the Senate overrode his veto. The lyrics here express frustration that the West acted with such hesitation to do the right thing.

    "Silver and Gold" are precious metals and are used as a symbol of all economic power. "A prize fighter in a corner is told, 'Hit where it hurts – silver and gold'" summarizes the entire dynamic: Tutu tells the "prize fighter" (the major Western nations) to "hit where it hurts" (impose sanctions). A truly beautiful line, expressing the power of the West, the frustration that they remain "in a corner" (refusing to act), and the sure solution that their action could produce.

    The Apartheid era ultimately ended with the first multiracial elections in 1994.
    rikdadon June 30, 2017   Link

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