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Rewind: How ‘The Joshua Tree’ made U2 iconic




U2, one of the more successful bands in the world, has re-issued “The Joshua Tree” for its 30th anniversary.

‘The Joshua Tree’ album cover (

‘The Joshua Tree’ album cover

Released on March 9, 1987, the album was a landmark set for the Dublin, Ireland band as it finally allowed them to crossover to mainstream – something they have toiled hard for from inception.

Prior to the “The Joshua Tree,” the band was lumped simply among new wave acts, albeit classified among more bombastic of the lot, as based on their early efforts that include the frenetic “I Will Follow,” a single off their 1980 debut album “Boy,” and the anthemic “Gloria” from 1981’s “October.”

Around these shores, U2 didn’t garner heat until songs like “New Year’s Day,” and “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” from 1983’s “War,” and “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” from 1984’s “Unforgettable Fire” started getting massive airplay.
But then, they were only considered as big as the now forgotten Gene Loves Jezebel.

“The Joshua Tree” changed all that.

Not many expected a scruffy new wave band will be able to take on the biggies of the era including the likes of Madonna and Michael Jackson but U2 did. To think they did so by veering from the predominant sound of the timeas exemplified on MJ’s “Bad” or Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” well, who wouldn’t be surprised?

From the gentle thump of “With Or Without You,” we knew something was special about the album. It was the sound. Accessible yet raw, it might as well have been released in the ’60s. It didn’t help that it echoed the great acts of the era including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, even The Doors.

All of it these and more are relived in full, sparkling clarity via the album’s 30th Anniversary Re-issue. Of course, to entice those who have the original to splurge on this glorious throwback, the band opted to include a live set as second disc. Culled from various performances during the ’87 tour, it is a sonic snapshot of a band who has just broken through and was enjoying every minute of it.

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