“With or Without You” is a song by the Irish rock band U2. It is the third track from their fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree (1987), and was released as the album’s lead single on 21 March 1987. The song was the group’s most successful single at the time, becoming their first number-one hit in both the United States and Canada by topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and the RPM national singles chart for one week.
“With or Without You” features sustained guitar parts played by guitarist the Edge with a prototype of the Infinite Guitar, along with vocals by lead singer Bono and a bassline by bassist Adam Clayton. The song originated from a demo recorded in late 1985 that the group continued to work on throughout The Joshua Tree sessions. Ostensibly a troubled love song, the track’s lyrics were inspired by Bono’s conflicting feelings about the lives he led as a musician and domestic man.
Critics praised the song upon its release. It is frequently performed on the band’s tours, and it has appeared on many of their compilation albums and concert films. “With or Without You” is U2’s second most frequently covered song. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at number 132 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“