U2 :: :: My Favorite Artists/Bands


U2 :: :: My Favorite Artists/Bands

In some ways I was late to the musical bandwagon with U2, not getting taken over by them until The Joshua Tree album, in 1987. I knew of them before that. I’d seen their videos on MTV. I’d heard their music at youth group events as they were somehow “blessed” by the church I went to (I spent most of my years in parochial schools, until I jumped ship my Senior year of high school). I even owned their live album, Under a Blood Red Sky – one of two CD’s I bought when my Mom got us a player for the house in the mid-80’s. Still, it wasn’t until The Joshua Tree that their music affected me and got under my skin.

You can read my post just on The Joshua Tree album here.

Songs like Running to Stand Still and Where the Streets Have No Name and With or Without You fit exactly where I was in my life. The songs sang to my dissatisfaction and restlessness, and became a soundtrack to graduating and starting college and breaking out of the girl I once was. The album resurfaced again, in 1990, when I moved out of my childhood home and into my first apartment. Again, it sang to that change in my life, and I clung to it, blasting it from my over-sized stereo speakers that sat in that tiny living room of my second floor new “home” on Truslow Avenue.


I never did fall for any of their other albums quite as hard as I did for The Joshua Tree, though I would go on to love Achtung Baby and All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and then go backwards and fall for Boy, as well. I would also be hopelessly devoted to some of the band’s b-sides (especially the cover of Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot) and their soundtrack songs (especially All I Want is You).

Now I can finally call myself a fan of U2, even if it was a long-time coming. They have definitely found their place on my list of all-time favorite artists/bands, and will be there for good.

This past week whilst in Portland, Oregon, I picked up a CD (yes, a CD, more on that in a later post) of The Joshua Tree, and this morning I played it through almost twice in my Los Angeles traffic Monday commute. Listening to it this morning I realized how much I still love every single song, and how I know each song so well that it almost felt like listening to a “greatest hits” compilation. Bullet the Blue Sky soared through my speakers as the sun rose in the not-quite-blue sky and I felt beyond moved by the experience. This is what music means to me, I thought, moments like this.

Photo of Adam CLAYTON and THE EDGE and BONO and U2

U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion).

The band formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. Within four years, they signed with Island Records and released their debut album Boy. By the mid-1980’s, U2 had become a top international act. They were more successful as a touring act than they were at selling records until their 1987 album The Joshua Tree which, according to Rolling Stone, elevated the band’s stature “from heroes to superstars“.

Reacting to musical stagnation and criticism of their earnest image and musical direction in the late-1980’s, U2 reinvented themselves with their 1991 album, Achtung Baby, and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour; they integrated dance, industrial, and alternative rock influences into their sound, and embraced a more ironic and self-deprecating image.

The band embraced similar experimentation for the remainder of the 1990’s with varying levels of success. U2 regained critical and commercial favour in the 2000’s with the records All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000) and How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004), which established a more conventional, mainstream sound for the group.


Their U2 360° Tour from 2009–2011 was the highest-attended and highest-grossing concert tour in history.

U2 have released 13 studio albums and are one of the world’s best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band; and, in 2005, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.

Rolling Stone ranked U2 at # 22 in its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time“, and labelled them the “Biggest Band in the World“.

Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, the ONE/DATA campaigns, Product Red, and The Edge’s Music Rising.

u2-rattle-and-hum-1988-08-gMy Top 10 Favorite U2 Songs:

1. Running to Stand Still
from the album, The Joshua Tree

“You got to cry without weeping,
talk without speaking,
scream without raising your voice.”

2. Stay (Faraway, So Close)
from the album, Zooropa

“A vampire or a victim,
it depends on who’s around.”

3. All I Want is You
from the album, Rattle and Hum

“But all the promises we make,
from the cradle to the grave,
when all I want is you.”

4. Red Hill Mining Town 
from the album, The Joshua Tree

“Hanging on,
you’re all that’s left to hold on to.
I’m still waiting,
I’m hanging on,
you’re all that’s left to hold on to.”

5. Bad 
from the album, The Unforgettable Fire

“If I could,
you know I would.
If I could,
I would let it go,
this desperation,
In temptation,
Let it go and so fade away.”

6. One 
from the album, Achtung Baby

“Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus,
to the lepers in your head?

7. With or Without You 
from the album, The Joshua Tree

“Through the storm we reach the shore,
you gave it all,
but I want more,
and I’m waiting for you.”

8. Love is Blindness
from the album, Achtung Baby

“The thread is ripping,
the knot is slipping;
love is blindness.”

9. Desire 
from the album, Rattle and Hum

“She’s a candle burning in my room,
yeah I’m like the needle,
needle and spoon.
Over the counter,
with a shotgun,
pretty soon everybody got one.
I’m the fever when I’m beside her,

10. The First Time
from the album, Zooropa

“I have a lover,
a lover like no other,
She got soul, soul, soul, sweet soul,
and she teach me how to sing.”

U2-St Patrick's day Parade new york city NEW YORK CITY, 1982

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