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Kelly Clarkson Honors Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Cover of U2’s ‘Pride’

Kelly Clarkson is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a special performance.

On Monday’s episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, coinciding with MLK Day, the singer performed a cover of U2‘s “Pride (In the Name of Love),” the song Bono wrote, in part, about the civil rights leader.

“One man come in the name of love/One man come and go/One man come he to justify/One man to overthrow,” sang Clarkson. “In the name of love/What more in the name of love.”

“Pride (In the Name of Love)” began as a response to Ronald Reagan’s military-focused leadership but as the song developed, Bono found for the lyrics a more hopeful figure: King and his leadership during the civil rights movement.

“Early morning, April four/Shot rings out in the Memphis sky/Free at last, they took your life/They could not take your pride,” sang Bono in the third verse, referencing MLK’s assassination, and his “I Have a Dream” speech. (MLK was shot on the evening of April 4, 1968, and Bono has since addressed his mistake in the lyrics, often singing “early evening” during live performances. Clarkson switched it to “evening” as well.)

The 1984 single came a year after Reagan signed a bill making the third Monday in January a federal holiday in observance of King’s legacy. The first time it was observed was on Jan. 20, 1986.

“[He] kept us faithful to peace and community. Made us believe in joy and justice,” Bono said of Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Day 2021. “Showed us the way to a shared humanity. Dr. King’s voice is louder today than it has ever been. He is one of the true fathers of our American dream.”

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Clarkson’s cover of “Pride (In the Name of Love)” isn’t the first time Clarkson has performed a U2 song on her talk show. Back in 2021, she sang “Beautiful Day,” and the year prior, she performed “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” amid the Black Lives Matter protests.

Last week, the singer delivered a tender performance of Miley Cyrus’ “Used to Be Young.”

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