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12 Years Ago: U2’s ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ Album Released

Interscope Records

Before they jumpstarted their career with ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ in 2000, U2 were coming off a pair of mediocre records: 1993’s ‘Achtung Baby’ leftover set ‘Zooropa’ and 1997’s techno mess ‘Pop.’ It’s no wonder fans were both excited and a little suspicious when early reports hinted at a return to the classic sound that made them stars in the mid-‘80s.

Working again with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois (who helmed the band’s best albums, ‘The Joshua Tree’ and ‘Achtung Baby’), U2 ditched most of the electronic elements that occupied them over the past decade and built a sturdy set of songs on the basic foundation of guitar, bass and drums. The result is one of the band’s best records.

‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ (which celebrates its 13th anniversary today) asserted U2 as one of the world’s biggest groups. Its lead single, ‘Beautiful Day,’ became of their biggest and most popular songs, and other tracks — including ‘Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,’ ‘Elevation’ and ‘Walk On’ — have taken their place alongside the best U2 music.

Although the album stalled at No. 3 on the U.S. charts, it won seven Grammys and became one of the U2’s biggest-selling records. And several of its anthem-like cuts became songs of hope following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It re-sparked the band, leading to a decade of music that’s as forward-looking as it is nostalgic.

 Watch the Video for U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’

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