Sunday, September 20, 2020

"Where the Streets Have No Name" by U2

Rated 10 Alert!

Song#:  3263
Date:  09/12/1987
Debut:  70
Peak:  13
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Irish band's album The Joshua Tree was turning into a massive success thanks to two #1 hits including "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." For a third single, this LP-opening track was selected. The song would just miss out on the Rock and Pop Top 10s peaking at #11 and #13, respectively. Just a couple of weeks after this single debuted, the album would be certified for selling over 3 million copies in the US. By the end of the year it would reach the 4 million mark. In September of 1995, it would hit diamond status (10+million).

ReduxReview:  Apparently, this song took the longest to complete during the recording sessions. They kept making changes and it got to the point where producer Daniel Lanois wanted to "accidentally" erase what the band had recorded and do a forced start-from-scratch thing. Luckily, he didn't get to do that and eventually the band came up with one of their most iconic concert songs. When I got the Joshua Tree album, this first track started and I was just blown away. I remember that I almost didn't listen to the rest of the LP right away as I wanted to immediately repeat the song. It gave me chills. It still does. The song still resides near the top on my list of faves from U2. Just brilliant.


Trivia:  For this song's associated video, the band decided to stage a little rooftop concert (a la The Beatles' Let It Be roof performance). The location selected was atop the Republic Liquor store at 7th and Main in Los Angeles. Although an "impromptu" performance where permits and other things were virtually ignored, some prep was involved because they didn't know exactly what would happen. Or if even anyone would notice or be interested. The band's crew reinforced the roof of the store in case the band somehow got stormed by fans and a generator was set up in the event that power would be shut down by law enforcement. On March 27, 1987, U2 were set to perform and local radio stations mentioned the mini-event. Crowds gathered, traffic stopped, authorities came in to talk with the U2 reps about safety issues, and over it all U2 began to play "Where the Streets Have No Name." They ended up playing that song four times, but also performed four other tunes. The thing was, the band did want to have police show up and shut down the performance for dramatic effect, but just when they thought they'd get the hook, the police granted an extension to keep going. Most of it all was captured in the video just as it happened. Oddly, although the band played live, the film was edited to go with the studio version of the song. The video ended up winning an MTV Music Video award for Best Performance Video.


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