Is about Bono and his wife Ali, going to Ethiopia, to help in all the problems with the famine. Bono was the only other performer from Live Aid, apart from Bob Geldof, to actually go there, and see the devastation for himself. It was however Ali's idea in the first place.
Vimal Aditya U9437959oxygen.sys.uea.ac.uk (contributed before the 20:th of February 1998)
The refugees lived in an big "cities" of tents, a dusty place where the streets had no names. I want to hide, I want to run in the beginning probably is about the frustration he must've felt, but can also reflect the wishes of the refugees.
Jonas Steverud (Maintainer of U2MoL) (contributed at an unknown date)
I came across this quote somewhere (I don't remember where), in which Bono explains the significance of this song: An interesting story that someone told me once is that in Belfast, by what street someone lives on you can tell not only their religion but tell how much money they're making - literally by which side of the road they live on, because the further up the hill the more expensive the houses become. You can almost tell what the people are earning by the name of the street they live on and what side ot that street they live on. So, the song is about how when he went to Ethiopia with Ali, he realized just how much we judge people before we even know them.
Kathy Murphy kathy11885hotmail.com (23:rd of March 2001)
'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. I often feel very claustrophic in a city, a feeling of wanting to break out of that city and a feeling of wanting to go somewhere where the values of the city and the values of our society don't hold you down.'
'An interesting story that someone told me once is that in Belfast, by what street someone lives on you can tell not only their religion but tell how much money they're making - literally by which side of the road they live on, because the further up the hill the more expensive the houses become. You can almost tell what the people are earning by the name of the street they live on and what side ot that street they live on. That said something to me, and so I started writing about a place where the streets have no name....' - Bono, speaking to Propaganda 5, 1987
rahulrana rahulranaic24.net (27:th of November 2001)
Like anything, there is much speculation. The video places the band walking through Las Vegas. The album The Joshua Tree lends its self to the fact that Joshua Trees, a cactus plant-tree only grows in the Mojave desert, a place location 60 to a 100 miles north, north-east of Los Angeles, CA. Palmdale and Lancaster CA are the two primary city's in this area. The valley street plan is basically a grid pattern. Streets running north and south are numbers (10th 20th 30th east or west depending on which side of town) Street running east and west are alphabetical (A B C, A-2, A-4, etc) PLus, the lyric, high on a desert plane, this could be the place. There are very few named streets out there, just number x alphabetical intersections. Prior to the release of this album, the band was spending a lot of time in Los Angeles, and in Las Vegas. Geographically, it makes sense.
David Edwards builditmanmsn.com (14th of November 2005)
The meaning of this song is quite obvious to those of us living north of Los Angeles. To begin, the title of the album in which the song is found is titled "Joshua Tree." This is an obvious reference to the Mojave Desert where the Joshua Tree is indigenous. In the Mojave Desert there is a valley named Antelope Valley. This valley is located "high on a desert plain," because the Antelope Valley is located in the "high desert," The high desert experiences torrid summers and freezing winters. It is a place where I can almost always "feel the sunlight on my face." because it is almost always cloud free and sunny. This God forsaken place is extremely windy and dusty and you can see a "dust cloud disappear without a trace." It is ALWAYS so windy that you would feel that "We're beaten and blown by the wind, Trampled in dust." This valley is extremely flat, and even though it is a lousy place to live the land is cheap so there is a huge amount of homebuilding always happening. So again "We're still building," fits perfectly. The flatness of course does nothing to stop the constant wind. Moreover, because of the flatness, when it does rain the water has nowhere to go and "The city's a flood," as the streets flood immediately whenever there is rain. Oh, and as to the names, or rather the lack of names of the streets, when the streets were originally laid out the streets that run east and west are named "A Street," "B Street," "C Street," and so on. Every tenth of a mile a street picks up a number like "A-3 Street." No kidding you can look all this up on Google maps. The streets that run north and south are named by numbers, so the street names read like "45th Street East. Thus it's a place were "The Streets Have No Names." Q.E.D.
Steve Weston stevewestonymail.com (23rd of July 2008)