While it’s not exactly St. Patrick’s Day yet, today is surely a great day to get your Irish up because it is the thirtieth anniversary of the blockbuster album by U2 called “The Joshua Tree”. Yep. You fans of a certain age are probably shaking your head at the fact that is was on this day thirty years ago that you had added this one to your LP collection but its indeed true. The album was a hit almost immediately if I am remembering correctly and I remember hitting my local music seller shop to get a copy on CD. I had moved on from vinyl and was preferring this medium. Yes, I was a tried and true bleed for the Metal sort of guy but I really enjoyed the tunes that were playing on so many of the radio stations of the day. Back during this time, it was an album that EVERYONE I knew owned and it was easy to find this being the case since MTV was behind this album with a force that isn’t seen all that often in today’s media world. It came out on Island Records and was produced by both Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno and according to research has sold over 25 million copies since its release. That is some kind of accomplishment for sure.
Before I get any further I should stress how this is a toast and not a line by line overview of the release because that stuff is already well documented on its Wikipedia entry (provided at the close). I’m here to offer up some personal insight about what it meant to me as a fan. So in 1987 I was not only a fan of Metal stuff but I was also regularly playing my areas “circuit” but that didn’t deter my appreciation for this release. I had been a fan of U2 for a few years by then so I had some anticipation for this album and what it was going to bring to the table for their fans. There was no Internet yet so it was all traditional interviews in magazines like Rolling Stone or Billboard and the occasional news item on MTV. I mentioned hearing it everywhere and that extended into the seeing it everywhere since the MTV videos were numerous for this one. I think my favorite clips were “With Or Without You” and “Where The Streets Have No Name”. Below is the full original track listing so let’s review that and then I will line out the songs that were my favorites.
1. Where The Streets Have No Name
2. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
3. With Or Without You
4. Bullet The Blue Sky
5. Running To Stand Still
6. Red Hill Mining Town
7. In God’s Country
8. Trip Through Your Wires
9. One Tree Hill
11. Mothers Of The Disappeared
Looking back on the albums full track listing, I am going to have to admit that since its release way back in the bygone days that I am still listening to its most prominent tracks. For me begins with “With Or Without You” and this would become a popular one among the karaoke crowd as well much to the chagrin of many in the audience for that often-horrible caterwauling. Next up I think its “Streets” for me because of the great guitar sound of The Edge and then ”Bullet The Blue Sky” since I was a big fan of the solid drumming of Larry Mullen Jr. Bono sings across this whole release with a great power and passion and pretty much rose to the level of Rock Icon from it all. Oh, I should say that I greatly enjoyed “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” even though I felt it a little bit of a sadder track than I would usually follow and my favorites close with “In God’s Country”. Back then I didn’t really listen past these numbers even though I would occasionally let the full thing play out. For me a bunch of the album was too slow for my own liking but remember I was also listening to the super heavy stuff at the time so this was going to be the case. I would play these songs all the time of course and I am very surprised that I didn’t manage to see them live in concert back then. I still haven’t actually and now it’s pretty impossible to get a good ticket for a reasonable price. You can let me know what songs you loved the most and what the album did for you as a fan of the band or as a music fan overall down in the comments when we’re done. You didn’t have to purchase it back in the days of yon like my friends and I did of course.
U2’s upcoming tour will be called “The Joshua Tree Tour” and it’s not only going to deliver some of the bands biggest hits but it’s also going to showcase the entire “The Joshua Tree” album from front to back. I don’t recall if they ever did this before so it will surely be interesting. I posted the full press release about the tour on THIS LINK so check that out when time allows. Okay so now it’s your turn. Did this album change your life at all? Let me know.