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U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree': The Story Behind Every Song

Island Records
Island Records

For the past few weeks, we’ve celebrating the 30th anniversary of U2‘s landmark 1987 album The Joshua Tree, bringing you inside the creation its 10 songs. You can find links to all of those stories below.

You’ll read about how an innovative guitar created the sounds that helped propel “With or Without You” become their first No. 1 single and how their immersion into gospel and blues informed “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Trip Through Your Wires.” But creating the music wasn’t so easy, as our piece on “Where the Streets Have No Name” illustrates.

The record’s lyrics, which touched on global, national and personal themes, are explored in depth. There are stories about U.S. involvement in Central America (“Bullet the Blue Sky”), the effect of the British miners’ strike on personal relationships (“Red Hill Mining Town”), the dangers of heroin addiction (“Running to Stand Still”) and a look into the mindset of a killer (“Exit”).

Read About Every Song on U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’

U2 Gets Cinematic on “Where the Streets Have No Name”

U2 Updates the Gospel on “I Still Haven’t Found What I”m Looking For”

U2 Goes Minimalist on “With or Without You”

U2 Mixes Scripture, Politics on “Bullet the Blue Sky”

U2’s “Running to Stand Still” Explores the Dark Territory of Addiction

U2’s “Red Hill Mining Town” Explores Personal Costs in an Economic Downturn

“In God’s Country” Sends U2 to the Desert

U2 Plays the Blues on “Trip Through Your Wires”

U2 Plunge Into Darkness on “Exit”

U2 Honors the “Mothers of the Disappeared”

U2 Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness

Next: Top 10 U2 Songs

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