The lyrics were inspired by a story that Bono heard about the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a person's religion and income are evident by the street they live on. He recalls, "That said something to me, and so I started writing about a place where the streets have no name." According to him, the song is ostensibly about "Transcendence, elevation, whatever you want to call it." Bono, who compared many of his lyrics prior to The Joshua Tree to "sketches", said that "'Where the Streets Have No Name' is more like the U2 of old than any of the other songs on the LP, because it's a sketch - I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling."
The Joshua Tree
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