~ The live version is the one you want ~
U2 has always been socially-conscious and this ’80s era offering was supposedly written to bring the experience of the El Salvador Civil War to the listeners. I’m far more aware of current military affairs than most people I know and I had no idea this was supposed to be about El Salvador until reading some liner notes somewhere down the way.
What I can say is that the live version from the Rattle & Hum soundtrack is fantastic. The bassline really drives the song, and the drums have a rhythm you can follow with just enough variation to make sure you pay attention when your air drumming along in your car.
You can sing along, shout along, or just stick with the “Oooooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooooooooo” underneath the chorus, and it all works. The spoken word interlude gives the band plenty of space to lay out and follow the groove in the live setting, and you kind of wish they had done that a little more on Rattle & Hum instead of just trying to approximate the track from the album.
This is closest video I can find to the live version of the recording I have. The one you really want is the one where the lyrics were modified to count up to $400, and “turn the key to Sarajevo’s door” in the spoken-word bridge.