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U2’s Bono and The Edge paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Monday night at an intimate gathering honoring the duo at the Sunset Marquis.
Bono wrote the song “Ordinary Love” — U2’s first song in three years — for The Weinstein Co.’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, starring Idris Elba as the former South African president, who died last month at age 95.
STORY: ‘Mandela’ Star Idris Elba Opens Up About Playing Nelson Mandela in Vogue (Exclusive)
The song is about two people trying to stay together while dealing with personal and political struggles. Bono said that when he was writing the song, he was inspired by the love letters that Mandela sent to his wife, Winnie, while he was imprisoned on Robben Island. Mandela producer Anant Singh sent the letters to the singer.
“It didn’t feel appropriate to write an anthem for this movie,” Bono said. “We found a theme of common decency that inspired us, and it’s a plea for a common decency in a marriage.”
U2 also had a close relationship with Mandela and performed at anti-apartheid shows early in their career.
STORY: The Night Nelson Mandela Died: Biopic Writer on Royal Screening (Guest Column)
Among those turning out for Monday’s event were director Jim Sheridan, Mandela star Naomie Harris and music industry veterans Alexandre Desplat, David Foster, Mike Stoller, Rod McKuen, Mark McKenzie, Brian Tyler and songwriter Diane Warren.
Philomena Lee, whose story was the inspiration for the Stephen Frears film Philomena, also was in attendance (pictured below, at far left).
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