U2 Releases New Version of “Breathe” in Honor of Nelson Mandela


When the great Nelson Mandela passed away last week at the age of 95, the civil rights leader was mourned across the world.

In response to the loss, U2 released an acoustic “Mandela Version” of their song “Breathe” on their official website.

The band’s frontman, Bono, also remembered Mandela in a post on the site, writing, “It was as if he was born to teach the age a lesson in humility, in humour and above all else is patience.”

“In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job,” Bono continues. “Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests. Stubborn til the end for all the right reasons, it felt like he very nearly outstared his maker.”

Bono closed the message by acknowledging Mandela’s death, stating, “Today, finally, he blinked. And some of us cry, knowing our eyes were opened to so much because of him.”

According to Rolling Stone, “Breathe” originally appeared on U2’s No Line on the Horizon album in 2009, and the group first announced the Mandela version of the song in late October.

The track appeared on a 10-inch vinyl with “Ordinary Love” that featured a painting of Mandela on the cover and was released in time for Record Store Day’s “Back to Black Friday” event last month.

For the uninitiated, “Ordinary Love,” too, was written in Mandela’s honor for the new biopic of his life, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, released on November 29 as well.

What do you think of “Breathe (Mandela Version)”? Sound off in the comments!