With U2 about to embark on their next 2017 tour May 12th in Vancouver (and their 15th outing since the 1979-80 U2-3 tour) Bono,Edge,Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton celebrate the 30th anniversary of their 5th and most popular album to date, “Joshua Tree”. Released on March 9th 1987. Eleven songs, Fifty minutes and eleven seconds. The first new release to be made available on cd, vinyl and cassette tape formats on the same date. Produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.
10 cool facts about Joshua Tree:
1/ It became the fastest selling album in British History at the time, selling over 500,000 copies in 2 days.
2/ Of the 15 albums in U2’s career, Joshua tree is the best selling album to date with over 25 million units sold. In 1999, The Joshua Tree was awarded the RIAA’s highest certification, Diamond, with 10 million units sold. However, exact numbers are hard to pin down. check out U2 interference for more on that.
3/ The release of The Joshua Tree saw the band on the cover of Time Magazine billed as ‘Rock’s Hottest Ticket.
4/ That’s not the Joshua Tree from Joshua Tree National Park in San Bernadino County Ca. on the cover. The photo was taken at Zabrinskie Point in Death Valley National Park in Inyo County. The band, photographer Anton Corbijn and album art designer Steve Averill took a road trip after finishing the album in December 1986. A stand alone Joshua tree was spotted by Corbijn in the Mojave desert and he took the famous shot for the cover. Sadly that tree has since been decimated by fans and the weather over the years. The 200 yr old Tree died in 2000.
5/ U2 has never performed near the tree. Closest U2 got was the 1983 US2 festival in San Bernadino California, alongside what now would be considered a who’s who of some of the most famous bands in rock n roll. Van Halen was there, so was Bowie, the Clash, Pretenders, Ozzy and a rising band called U2. (and I was fortunate to see them all first hand)
6/ One of the album’s best tracks, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” became one of the most difficult to record. At one point producer Brian Eno became so fed up with it that he tried to destroy the tape. Producer Daniel Lanois said “it took forever to get the track right. We had this giant blackboard with the arrangement written on it. I felt like a science professor, conducting them.”
7/ 17 songs were worked on during the sessions. One of which was “the Sweetest Thing” which became a B-side of “where the Streets Have No Name”. The song was later re-recorded and re-released, as a single in October 1998 for the U2 compilation album, The Best of 1980-1990.
8/ Before recording began, the group spent time rehearsing at Clayton’s house in Dublin. Then The band spent about three months on the album, recording at Dublin’s Windmill Lane Studios, at the Edge’s house and at another Dublin studio, S.T.S.
9/ The opening song on Joshua Tree, “Where the Streets have no Name” and third single was released in August of 1987. The song debuted on the Joshua Tree Tour that year and has been a staple in U2’s live shows since. The video was shot on the roof of a liquor store at the corner of 7th St. and S. Main in Los Angeles. The video won a Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video. It has been viewed approximately 50 million times on YouTube.
10/ The U.S. Library of Congress has preserved the record. n 2014, ‘The Joshua Tree’ was added to the National Recording Registry’s collection of works considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” indeed.
2017 Joshua Tree Tour kicks off in Vancouver on May 12th for a run of 33 dates (so far) across North America, and Europe including U2’s first ever U.S. festival headline appearance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. U2 will perform the Joshua Tree album live in it’s entirety and more. See you at the show(s)