"With or Without You" was the first single released by U2 from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. It became their first #1 song in the US and topped the charts in several other countries as well. Originally written during The Unforgettable Fire tour the song was taken out and dusted off in 1986 when the band sat down and began to plan their next album. Several rough versions were recorded but none met with the band's satisfaction. At one point producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois abandoned the song but Bono felt there was something there that could be saved. In the end it was The Edge's experiments with a device called "infinite guitar" which allowed for practically endless sustain to be created that proved to be the breakthrough everyone had been looking for. The resulting song begins slowly as though rising from an early morning fog and then builds to a huge, landscape-crossing, church-bell-ringing climax before disappearing again into the mist. The final minute, with The Edge's chiming guitar notes playing off Larry Mullen's priapic back beat, is enough to send shivers down my spine even today.

The song can be taken many ways; Bono himself has often spoken of it as being about the difficulties in trying to balance a rock and roll life with family but it can also be heard as a song about spiritual conflict or, in the context of the album in general (whose working title was "The Two America's"), as an outsider's view of the US.