Author Topic: Breathe - nine-o-nine  (Read 4451 times)

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Offline pug909

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Breathe - nine-o-nine
« on: March 04, 2009, 09:40:46 PM »
I have another question about the lyrics in Breathe - at one point Bono sings "nine-o-nine."  I'm wondering if anybody knows what that means to Bono?  If you look at my screen name, it's pug909.  I took the 909 from one of my favorite Beatles songs, "The One After 909," and also the fact that the number 9 was John Lennon's favorite number. 

Maybe it means nothing to Bono, and is just a coincidence that the phrase nine-o-nine is in a U2 song, but it made me stop and listen to the song again.  It's weird with me and the number 909, and it appears a lot for me.  Often, I happen to glance at the clock just as it's 9:09.  I also have some decorative clocks that don't work, and I actually set them all to 9:09.  O.k., now I sound strange, sorry.  But does this number mean anything to Bono that anyone knows about?



daveyg

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 02:07:58 AM »
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I have another question about the lyrics in Breathe - at one point Bono sings "nine-o-nine."  I'm wondering if anybody knows what that means to Bono?  If you look at my screen name, it's pug909.  I took the 909 from one of my favorite Beatles songs, "The One After 909," and also the fact that the number 9 was John Lennon's favorite number. 

Maybe it means nothing to Bono, and is just a coincidence that the phrase nine-o-nine is in a U2 song, but it made me stop and listen to the song again.  It's weird with me and the number 909, and it appears a lot for me.  Often, I happen to glance at the clock just as it's 9:09.  I also have some decorative clocks that don't work, and I actually set them all to 9:09.  O.k., now I sound strange, sorry.  But does this number mean anything to Bono that anyone knows about?

I am assuming is a casual look at the clock, it being 9:09

Offline ItJ

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2009, 02:19:35 AM »
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I have another question about the lyrics in Breathe - at one point Bono sings "nine-o-nine."  I'm wondering if anybody knows what that means to Bono?  If you look at my screen name, it's pug909.  I took the 909 from one of my favorite Beatles songs, "The One After 909," and also the fact that the number 9 was John Lennon's favorite number. 

Maybe it means nothing to Bono, and is just a coincidence that the phrase nine-o-nine is in a U2 song, but it made me stop and listen to the song again.  It's weird with me and the number 909, and it appears a lot for me.  Often, I happen to glance at the clock just as it's 9:09.  I also have some decorative clocks that don't work, and I actually set them all to 9:09.  O.k., now I sound strange, sorry.  But does this number mean anything to Bono that anyone knows about?

I know it's......ind of absurd, but using Google and Wikipedia this is what I found:
First of all the full line on the song is:
Nine 0 nine, St John Divine, on the line, my pulse is fine

So if you look for St. John Divine apparently is a very well known Catherdral in New York City (which is a city that seems to be very relevant to U2 lately) You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
and on their web-sites read this:
Breakfast is served at 10 AM, guests are welcomed into the dining area at 9:00 AM where social workers offer advocacy and counseling.


So at 9:09 you might be on the line to get your breakfast....

Offline pug909

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2009, 03:49:12 PM »
Thanks for researching this.  It totally makes sense!

Offline Trillian

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009, 04:52:49 PM »
It also brings up John of Patmos, the writer of the Book of Revelation:You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login

I think nine 0 nine shows the passing of time (the first verse has nine 0 five), but the way 16th of June, nine 0 five is given in the booklet (16.06_9:05) it may be referencing one of Revelation's passages? I've had a look as to the passages the numbers bring up, but they make very little sense to me in relation to the song.??? The only way I make sense of, "9:09, Saint John Divine on the line, my pulse is fine" is like saying, "I'm being told it's the end, but I'm still alive," and being able to overcome the fatal illness (Doc says you're fine or dying, Man at the door says if I want to stay alive a bit longer) through the grace he's found in the music. In that case, I can only imagine 9:09 being the time (though the random "three" in the first verse of the song still bugs me). But anywho; my two cents, as it were. 

Offline pug909

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2009, 05:49:52 PM »
I'm finding this all very fascinating.  I just picked up on 909 from my Beatles connection - and they were just writing about taking a train... "the one after 909."  Of course, it makes sense that with Bono it has a much deeper meaning. Again, thanks for the ideas.  I'm really fascinated and interested in this.

On a side note, John Lennon's love of the number 9 lives on.  A Beatles music xbox thing (sorry, I don't know what it really is; a video game thing) is being released on 9-9-09.

Offline NoLine86

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2009, 07:47:24 PM »
In the opening line, it's 9:05.  I've just been taking this to mean that 9 oh 9 is 9:09, four minutes later.

Offline silkenskies

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2009, 07:50:29 AM »
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I'm finding this all very fascinating.  I just picked up on 909 from my Beatles connection - and they were just writing about taking a train... "the one after 909."  Of course, it makes sense that with Bono it has a much deeper meaning. Again, thanks for the ideas.  I'm really fascinated and interested in this.

On a side note, John Lennon's love of the number 9 lives on.  A Beatles music xbox thing (sorry, I don't know what it really is; a video game thing) is being released on 9-9-09.

YES! cannot wait for the Beatles Rock Band. it's going to be worth every penny I'll have to spend. I agree with you though pug, I do think it may be a reference to Lennon. though the other research sounds good too. may be multiple meanings at work here.

Offline fresno dave

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2009, 09:47:35 AM »
Bono is so often talking about Coltrane..St John the Divine Cathedral is a key place for Coltrane...supported him, his wife Aice's funeral was there

AND

St. John Divine IS ancient name for  John, who wrote Revelation

Offline pug909

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2009, 11:11:12 PM »
The more I listen to the song, I'm thinking it's the passage of time,  and standing in line at St. John Divine.  I'm thinking it probably has no relation to John Lennon and his fascination with the number 9.  But, who knows.  I guess I'll have to ask Bono when I see him - which may only happen in my dreams. 

It's very interesting to read the different takes on the lyrics.  That's what makes music great - each person hears and interprets each song differently - and often in a different way than the artist intended.  And, it's why I love U2 - the songs are so multi-dimensional.

And, cool - my post is post #9 on this thread!  I like that!

Offline fresno dave

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 02:15:47 PM »
as you all probably know, an early draft of the album had time references on every song. Some survived (9:09, 6'o clock in "Being Born..").  So i think it is part of that intended narrative, and not surprising that some time refrerences would be random.
But of course, Bono loves the symbolism of numbers (Jeremiah 33:3 etc), so this is also likely a reference to Coltrane, the cathedral, and the Beatles song..
No obvious Bible reference this time (:

It's obviously still 16th of June (as was mentioned, see previous lyric) and as  another post (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login) has discussed, all of James Joyce's "Ulysses" takes place on that day.
One theory is in the original design, the album's time references were all in one day.

ALSO, Bono has made a book deal about African Youth Day, which is 16th of June (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login)

I love what Scot Calhoun said in in "Exploring U2" (contec\xt there was about Bono's use of the "Joyful, Joyful" hymn in live version of "Boots".."all these allusions packed into a fifteen second sample.. Bono knows full well" that he intends them all.

Offline Chip

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 09:21:57 PM »
"Breathe" is one of those songs that originally had a character but later changed to an essentially personal, confessional lyric for Bono, who often visits St. John the Divine. I think we're just getting a bit of a peek into Bono's world here.

Offline briscoetheque

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 03:55:13 AM »
Pretty sure it's a reference to God.

Offline Dali

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 03:55:23 AM »
The new lyrics to "Breathe" from that movie about South Africa read much better than the album version. Now, I'm kind of curious which words came first. Has that recently surfaced version of "Breathe" maybe even been an outtake of 46664?

Offline theocean

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Re: Breathe - nine-o-nine
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 06:27:45 AM »
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The new lyrics to "Breathe" from that movie about South Africa read much better than the album version. Now, I'm kind of curious which words came first. Has that recently surfaced version of "Breathe" maybe even been an outtake of 46664?

funny, thats the song i put in my valentine cards....cant wait to hear the new lyrics...great song.