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"I am a singer and a songwriter but I am also a father, four times over. I am a friend to dogs. I am a sworn enemy of the saccharine; and a believer in grace over karma. I talk too much when I'm drunk and sometimes even when I'm not."

-- Bono, 2001 Harvard graduation speech

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The Hands That Built America Lyrics

Found On:


The Best Of 1990-2000 (2002)


The Complete U2 (2004)

Note: U2 has released different versions of most singles in different countries. We are not showing every cover image in this space, just one that's representative of each release.

"The Hands That Built America"

"'The Hands That Built America' was written to order for Martin Scorsese's film The Gangs Of New York. We have enormous respect for Scorsese, he has a genius for incorporating music in film, so when he calls, you pay attention. We worked with William Orbit, who's like another Brian Eno character, he loves textures and atmospheres, the spirit in the machine." - Bono, U2 By U2 2006

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 sky
From digging in our pockets for a reason not to say goodbye

These are the hands that built America
Wishing and dreaming for something better
America
Wishing and dreaming

Last saw your face in a watercolor sky
As sea birds argue, a long goodbye
I took your kiss on the spray of the new land star
You gotta live with your dreams, don't make them so hard

And these are the hands that built America
It's a journey, it's a journey
America
Wishing, wishing

Of all the promises, is this one we could keep
Of all of the dreams, is this one still out of reach
Halle, holy

It's early fall, there's a cloud on the New York skyline
Innocence dragged across a yellow line

These are the hands that built America
These are the hands that built America
America
America

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