"I wrote the lyric based on the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. It’s a story of intellectual wanderlust. The preacher wants to find out the meaning of life and so he tries a bit of everything. He tries knowledge, educates himself, reads every book, but that doesn’t do it. He tries travel, sees every sight, but that doesn’t do it. He tries win, woman and song, that doesn’t do it. All he says, is vanity, vanity of vanities, striving after wind."
- Bono on The Wanderer
did you know
While the band and crew were working on the Joshua Tree album's mixing, Lillywhite's wife, singer Kirsty MacColl, volunteered to set the running order for the album. The band told her to put "Where the Streets Have No Name" first and "Mothers of the Disappeared" last, with the rest sequenced according to her preference.