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The Joshua Tree (1987) - U2 - All about the album

“People respond to our naivete,” Clayton said in the same article. "I think they see four guys from Ireland who don't want to give up on their dreams..."

U2's breakthrough album "The Joshua Tree" and its history

"The Joshua Tree" is the legendary album of U2, which stands out from the background of the band's early recordings with its uncompromising sound... The album was inspired by American and Irish cultures, as well as the folk music of these countries. Filled with spiritual images, the lyrics from it touch upon political issues ... The recording came to an end only in November 1986: all this time the group worked on what was called "cinematic in music." U2 went to great lengths to evoke a sense of presence in the audience - in particular the American one (as evidenced not only by the sound of the record, but also by the cover, in which the group poses against the backdrop of the landscapes of the American desert ...)

Joshua Tree was a huge success among both listeners and critics: the album became the chart leader in 20 countries, and its worldwide circulation today is more than 25 million copies ... So, thanks to the resounding success, U2 became the fourth group in history, whose photo graced the cover of Time! Today we will talk about how the legendary record was recorded ...

Prerequisites…

Top U2 Songs: Timeless, Undisputed Hits
U2

By the mid-1980s, U2 were masters of their craft both in the studio and on tour! In 1985 they played to 55,000 fans at Dublin's Croke Park. And their 1984 album The Unforgettable Fire became the band's new signature in the US, going triple platinum in that country... A few weeks later, an audience of billions saw Jack Nicholson, via satellite from Philadelphia, present U2's almost breathtaking contribution to Live Aid at Wembley Stadium… Later, Rolling Stone readers recognized their performance as one of the best, and this played a role: the success and talent of U2 began to be talked about all over the world…

Bono, Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury sing "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
Bono, Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury sing "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Bono's voice was now heard in all sorts of places: as a guest on the star-studded anti-apartheid single "Sun City" as well as on Clannad's mournful hit single "In A Lifetime"...

In June of the same year, U2 joined Amnesty International's caravan for the "Conspiracy of Hope" US tour. Among their colleagues on stage were Sting, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Bryan Adams. But as the year progressed, the need and desire for a new studio became more and more tangible for U2. During the summer, after sessions elsewhere, they reconvened at their safe haven at Windmill Lane Studios. Their allies, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanoye, were a production couple that helped them create the iconic "The Unforgettable Fire" to great heights!

Album recording

U2 (early years)
U2 (early years)

Bono would later say that most of the material for "The Joshua Tree" was recorded in Clayton's living room or Larry Mullen Jr's room: in fact, these were sessions that, in their spontaneity, were more like demos ...

“It could have gone in completely different directions!” Bono recalls. “We wanted to make a one-piece record, not something like Side One, Side Two…”

Indeed, the result was a laid-back and sometimes unadorned character that blended folk music nuances with a rock canvas! This is especially noticeable in "Running To Stand Still".

The flavors of the sound ranged from bluesy to biblical, and even the famous hymns that became their first number one singles in America burned slowly but surely... The recurring spiritual themes were perfect for the album's visuals, inspired by a photo shoot with Anton Corbijn in the Mojave Desert. The name itself is a reference to an Old Testament prophet...

List of tracks

U2
U2

"Bono Hewson's lyrics on 'The Joshua Tree' are more consistently focused and eloquently framed than on past albums, and his singing underscores the band's expression of frustration and hope with newfound strength and passion..." wrote the Los Angeles Times. Rolling Stone wrote that the album "sounds majestic and deep..." And indeed: there is a place here for the frank "Bullet The Blue Sky", and the ebullient track "In God Country", and the anthem "Where The Streets Have No Name"... There was also sadness in the One Tree Hill dedication to Greg Carroll, the band's roadie who died in a motorcycle accident in Dublin...

"Where the Streets Have No Name"

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

"With or Without You"

"Bullet the Blue Sky"

"Running to Stand Still"

"Red Hill Mining Town"

"In God's Country"

"Trip Through Your Wires"

One Tree Hill

"Exit"

"Mothers of the Disappeared"

World success!

Upon release in the spring of 1987, the album went platinum in the UK in 48 hours! It also sold 235,000 copies in its first week, becoming Britain's best-selling album that year! It topped the charts all over Europe! In the mid-1990s in America, the album received a 10-fold "platinum" status, and subsequently - a "diamond" award! The "Joshua Tree" took root and soon U2 became true legends of their time! Five nights at the Los Angeles Arena, the same number at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, then in the summer in Europe - there were two epic nights at Wembley Stadium. The band then returned to the coliseums and stadiums of North America for another two and a half months... No one could say that U2 didn't become the most popular band in the world: all the members made a really great effort, diligently indulging in spectacular rock events...

"People respond to our naivete"...

U2 (early years), today...
U2 (early years), today...

Capturing the essence of their attractiveness, the public took a fresh look at immigrants from Ireland ...

“Bono pursues the song as much as he sings it, and the moment he takes the stage, there is no doubt how huge his terms are: unconditional surrender. Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. have found a solid musical foundation, while lead guitarist Edge's riff is epiphany...

U2 (Bono and Edge)
U2 (Bono and Edge)

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