Growing up, I was raised on a wide assortment of music. I heard everything from the Beatles, to Clapton, Dvorak, Ray Charles and everything else in between. A day didn’t go by when there wasn’t music playing in one part of the house. As I got older and started to develop my own tastes, my father took me aside one day and told me there would come a moment in time when I would find the music of my generation. It would either be a singer or a group. He said. And it would be music that would help shape my identity and it would be able to withstand the test of time when I played it years later. Of course I didn’t take him seriously but a few years later when U2’s Joshua Tree album came out, there was something about the music that moved me differently than the other music that was out during that period. I had already had a few of U2’s previous albums and I had seen them in concert during the Unforgettable Fire tour. Maybe it was due to being a senior in high school and I was approaching a major transition in my life, and listening to The Joshua Tree album just made it all the more real that I was growing up and about to embark on a remarkable journey into adulthood that would be both scary and thrilling. That album made me think about my life and the world in ways I had never thought of before. At school, during some lunch periods, I would be at the bleachers sitting with my boyfriend. We would be holding hands and listening to a cassette version of the album and for those forty minutes, nothing else existed. It would just be the two us, hand in hand, being carried by the music.
That album even got me in trouble because it inspired me to ditch school with my friends and witness the video being filmed for ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’. I can still remember that moment, being amongst that enormous crowd on 7th and Main in LA and feeling absolutely free for the first time in my life. My dad wasn’t angry that I skipped school; he was more concerned about my risking my safety by being on the streets of LA. But he understood why I did it. And I think he was able to disassociate the parent –side of him for a few brief moments and enjoy seeing me bask in the glory of identifying with music of my generation. He even let me camp out for tickets with my friends a few days later.
There were many great albums that came out in 1987. I even got my first taste of REM back then. But no other album touched me the way the Joshua Tree album did, and that’s why I am still a fan after all these years.
Now I certainly don’t think that U2 is the world’s greatest band, as their foray into techno music with the Pop album didn’t really impress me. But I understood, that even one of the world’s best bands need to travel on a different road every now and then. I am happy to see they’re being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. They deserve the recognition.
What follows is a list of my favorite U2 songs and of course its starts with many tracks off the Joshua Tree album but I also included several tracks from the Unforgettable Fire album because that album was a wonderful transition, coming after the War album and before the Joshua Tree. I also included tracks of their earliest works from Boy and October; because from listening to ‘I Will Follow,’ ‘Twilight, ‘Rejoice’ and ‘Gloria’. you can feel the soul searching and uncertainty in the music. There is a rough around the edges innocence to their earliest work because it was apparent they didn’t know what the future would bring to them. And of course I included the tried and true classics as well as some of their more recent work, and all of them have touched or moved me in one way or another.