It’s without a doubt, not only one of the most influential albums for U2, but one of the most important albums in rock history.
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Triple M’s Jay Mueller reflects on the iconic record:
U2’s The Joshua Tree turned 30 on March 9. Wikipedia tells me the band released the first single, ‘With or Without You’ on my birthday in 1987. I was 15.
My first memory of the album is from MTV. The video clip is grainy, moody, with parts of it in black and white. It has more than 215-million views on YouTube.
The song was and still is huge and beautiful. The other singles from the album, ‘Where the Streets Have no Name,’ ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For,’ and ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ are all huge and beautiful. They are songs that force you to pay attention. Millions have paid attention for the last 3 decades.
Wikipedia also told me this bit of trivia: The Joshua Tree was the first album to be released simultaneously on vinyl, cd and cassette. I eventually had all three. I needed the cassette so I could listen in the car (nobody I knew had a cd player in their car) and when I bought a CD player a few years later, the Joshua Tree was one of the first CDs I purchased (Hendrix’s Radio One recordings and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon the others).
Apart from MTV, vinyl is where I first experienced The Joshua Tree in full. Because of this, I still think of the album in two parts. Side one features the hits. All of the singles plus ‘Running to Stand Still.’
Side two is home to the reflective, subtle glory of song. Side two is my favourite. I have songs 5-11 on my iPhone. I don’t bother with the first four because I still hear those songs in other places. They still sound great in those other places, but when I want to immerse myself in something special, I turn to side two of The Joshua Tree.
I love the lyrics. The mood. All of the guitars: acoustic, slide, electric, fuzzy. The Harmonica. The rhythm.
Side two captures all the imagery of life. The familiar and the foreign. The mundane and the exotic. The authentic and the fantastic. It’s all there on one side of a 12-inch vinyl record.
Listen to the album: