U2’s Bono to read poem about Elvis Presley on radio

It's 'effective but bonkers,' says man who recorded poem

A 14-minute poem written by U2 frontman Bono about Elvis Presley is to receive its premiere next Wednesday (May 13).

Entitled ‘American David’, the poem is thought to have been written by Bono in 1994. A spoken word version of the piece – read and recorded by the U2 frontman two years ago – will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 11pm (BST) next Wednesday.

Originally recorded during a documentary about the history of Sun Records, Bono was convinced to recite the poem by director Des Shaw.

“I said I’d love to hear it and he ran upstairs and grabbed it and just read it for us,” Shaw explained to The Times. “He said, ‘There you go, do with it what you want’.

“I suppose, really, it’s his thoughts on Elvis. He’s a huge fan and he knows an awful, awful lot about his music.

“We’ve been tossing ideas around for two years, keeping on going back to it and trying to work out how we’d use it. It took a while to work out how to produce it in a very effective but bonkers way. It’s a difficult one for Radio 4.”

The poem is set to be preceded with a warning about its language. It includes the following lines:

Elvis the bumper stickers/Elvis the white knickers/Elvis the white nigger ate at Burger King and just kept getting bigger”.