U2 is currently on tour to commemorate the 30 year anniversary of their iconic album The Joshua Tree which was released in 1987. The album, which also could have been named The Desert Songs or The Two Americas, took the band from a household name to a global phenomenon and they have since continued their dominance as one of the best rock bands of all time. The Joshua Tree spawned hit singles like "With or Without You," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where the Streets Have No Name" and also became one of the best-selling albums of all time with over 25 million copies sold. Here are 5 things you didn't know about U2's The Joshua Tree.
Along with the album turning 30 years old, the band is touring it in its entirety for more than the nostalgia. Three or four years ago, it would have been just that but the album was written during the Reagan-Thatcher era in a time of political uncertainty in both the U.S. and their native U.K. The Joshua Tree and its political messages resonate more than ever 30 years later as national populism has been emerging across the U.S. and Europe, particularly in the U.S. That alone demonstrates that the band wrote a timeless classic all those decades ago.
In 2014, the album was inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. The National Recording Registry preserves albums that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Throughout U2's entire career, they have strived to make a difference in the world both through their music and through their activism.
3. U2 earned their first two Hot 100 No. 1 songs from the album
The Joshua Tree was an instant hit upon release. Two of the set's most recognized songs, lead single "With or Without You" and follow-up "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," became U2's first two Hot 100 No. 1 songs in the U.S. It's been 30 years since those songs were released and the band has yet to score another No. 1 on the ultimate songs chart though they have had multiple top 10 hits.
4. The album won two Grammy Awards
The Joshua Tree took home two Grammy Awards in 1988 following its initial success. The set took home Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the entire album (albums and songs were both nominated until after 1993 when U2 would also win the award for Achtung Baby). It also would take home the greatest prize of the night, Album of the Year. Throughout U2's career, the band has won 22 awards total, more than any other band. (Fun fact: 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb would earn a total of seven Grammy's, eight including Best Short Form Music Video, between 2005 and 2006).
5. "Where the Streets Have No Name" continues to evolve
"Where the Streets Have No Name" almost didn't make the album.The album took quite some time to complete and the track contributed to half of that recording time. The signature and chord changes were difficult for the musicians to capture a solid take and producer Brian Eno frustrated, he came close to completely erasing the tapes. Thankfully, the song made the cut and since has continued to be an evolving song on tour. The band feels the song was never properly finished and strive to continue working on the track via touring. In 1988, the track took home the Grammy for Best Performance Music Video.