A landscape monochrome photograph of U2 in the desert sits in the center of a black background. U2 are standing on the left half of the photograph, with a mountain range on the right half. Tiny gold text reading "THE JOSHUA TREE U2" is stretched across the top of the black background.

20202 Album Draft- Round 10- Pick 10- Hanspostcard selects- U2- The Joshua Tree.

We have come to the end of the regular draft- we have added three more rounds- one for music soundtracks, one for compilation albums and one for music related movies/ documentaries- the soundtrack round will begin tomorrow.

As MSJADELI wrote on Monday- last pick- and so many albums still out there that I want to pick. The thought occurred to me to add another ten rounds- but it’s probably best not to run a good time into the ground. I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s picks- I’ve heard a lot of music I wasn’t familiar with- and I’ve really enjoyed the passion that everyone has for the music they’ve selected.

U2's Joshua Tree: 25 Years In God's Country | Sojourners


  • I became a big U2 fan with their third album- War in 1983. They came back with album #4 [ with U2’s lack of production over the past couple decades its mind boggling when I think they released four albums from 1980-84.} The Unforgettable Fire in 1984. Then there was a three year gap before The Joshua Tree. I felt during that three year lull that U2 was on the verge of getting greatness. I was anticipating their next album would be the one that gave them that title of The Greatest Rock Band of that period. The band just seemed to be growing to that point. It was probably unreasonable to think that would happen- but I knew the first time I played The Joshua Tree that that hunch I had about them- was going to come true. I would say they were the biggest band in the world until abandoning the title with the release of Zooropa in 1993.
U2 Musician Joshua Tree Era Magazine: Bono: 7501055300075: Amazon.com: Books

  • My good friend Helmet- going into the mid-80’s -his two favorite bands/artists were Bruce Springsteen and U2- they were all he talked about. When Bruce went from cult hero to superstar with Born In The U.S.A. he abandoned him- I don’t think he’s bought a Bruce album since. When U2 came out with The Joshua Tree and went from arenas to stadiums like Bruce had a few years earlier- Helmet abandoned them too. I haven’t heard him say a good thing about either one of them in 30 plus years. Once in a while I will mention something positive about them- example the Bruce Springsteen On Broadway – suggesting he would like it- he just grumbled a few sentences and dismissed the idea.
Unmaking The Joshua Tree
  • I cannot think of another album that can match the greatness of the first three songs on an album- as U2 has here with “Where The Streets Have No Name”/ “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”/ and “With Or Without You. I always found it odd that the three best songs on the album were 1-2-3 on side 1- turns out there was a reason. After they had completed the album- here is a story on it from The Guardian- “There’s a story that Kirsty McColl- who was married to producer Steve Lillywhite- sequenced The Joshua Tree for U2, and she did it in order of her favourite songs, but that’s probably unusual,” says Hugo Turquet, A&R man at EMI, who says that ideally albums should be sequenced like vinyl, with an imaginary two sides. “Start each with a really good track and end with a really good track. You want a strong Side B starter and strong Side B ender … if you have those four points everything else can fit around it. You don’t want two songs with the same theme next to each other. The best albums sequence themselves.”
Watch U2's Joshua Tree Tour from 1987 [VIDEO] - JACK 96.9
  • Remember the days before The Internet- when tickets for a concert would go on sale and people would camp out over night to buy tickets? I did that once on The Joshua Tree Tour- U2 was coming to Pittsburgh on October 13, 1987. Tickets went on sale Friday September 11th-{I had a radio with me that night and heard that Loren Greene had died. Camped out outside of Three Rivers Stadium- and the next morning at 8am they started selling tickets. I got tickets and now just had the month long wait for the show. That night there were two opening acts- Little Steven and Los Lobos- I was a fan of both-and although Three Rivers Stadium wasn’t an ideal place for concerts- U2 delivered that night.
U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017: Louisville.com Photo Gallery | Louisville.com
  • Flash forward 30 years later- in the summer of 2017 U2 did a 30th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree Tour and my friend Heinrich and I saw them on that tour in Pittsburgh and Cleveland- at the football stadiums. It was great to see the play the albums from start to finish. At the 1987 show they played 8 of the 11 songs from the album.
  • The first three songs on the album were all huge hit singles- “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” both went to #1- “Where The Streets Have No Name” #13. The songs I am going to feature are three great songs that were not hit singles from the album- “Running To Stand Still”- a ballad that describes a heroin addicts couple living in Dublin’s Ballymun flats. In the lyrics “I see seven towers, but I see only one way out” refers to the seven high rise residential towers built in the Ballymun area of Dublin in the 1960’s. “Running To Stand Still” has been called one of the most powerful songs written about drug addiction.
  • “One Tree Hill” was written in the memory of Greg Carroll a New Zealander who the band met on their 1984 tour in Auckland. He became a close friend of Bono’s and a roadie for the band. Greg Carroll was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin in the summer of 1986.
  • “Bullet The Blue Sky” was influenced by Bono’s trip to Nicaragua and El Salvador and his firsthand account of what he saw as the effect that U.S. military intervention had on local peasants in the region. One of their most overtly political songs.
  • Earlier this week in a BBC 2 listeners poll The Joshua Tree was voted the greatest album of the 1980’s- since The Clash’s London Calling was released first in the UK in December 1979- I would agree with that. The Joshua Tree has sold 25,000,000 copies- U2′ biggest selling album. Rolling Stone ranked it #26th in 2003, #27 in a 2012 update of their 500 Greatest Albums list- in the recent 2020 one which I personally think is a joke- The Joshua Tree fell to #135. It has been solidly in my Top 20 since the first time I heard it.


  1. First off Hans, thanks for getting this whole event together! It’s been fun and also informative, I think we all have found some new music we like and probably recalled some music we love but had forgotten! Glad we have three ‘bonus’ rounds to look forward to!
    Glad another U2 album got picked, definitely would rank in my top 10 artists, hard for me to pick a favorite album though … half of The Unforgettable Fire is nearly perfect to me, but half is only so-so; Achtung Baby is very good, perhaps “All That You CAn’t Leave Behind” might have the biggest number of consistently great songs on it (to me)… this one is a contender too, though I’ve come to like the “album tracks” like Bullet the Blue Sky and Red Hill Mining Town better than the singles. Still hard to quibble with it as a pick… but is hard to quibble with Rolling Stone, 2020 style! What 108 albums surpassed it – the Kanye West and Taylor Swift canon?

  2. Of the albums I left off my island, this was probably the most difficult one. This was my first concert, St. Louis 12 days after you saw them (BoDeans opened), and they were as big as it could get for me at the time. I saw INXS on their Kick tour a few weeks later, and I equate it with seeing the Dave Clark Five after seeing the Beatles. And INXS was pretty hot at the time. The first three tracks are classics, but it’s the rest of the album that keeps me dropping the disc into my player all these years later.

  3. Great pick Hans and I’m still looking forward to the next 3 picks that we have to go. It was a great idea you had and you picked 10 bloggers who were passionate about music…so thanks again.

    This is the album that did it for U2…you couldn’t get out of it’s way at the time and it lived up to the hype. I do miss the days of waiting in line for tickets by the way…chatting with other fans…

    The Rolling Stone magazine top 500…This at #135? It’s hard to take it serious…it seems they were trying to make too many people happy.

  4. Yeah you kinda knew these guys were going to hit a good way. I was super happy for them. Just because bands become popular doesnt mean the music has to suffer. U2 (and Bruce) are great examples. These guys and this album are just plain good. Looks like I’m busting this one out today. Sorry Iggy.

  5. Hans I agree that the 2020 RS list is a real joke. Did they get a new editor or something? Crazy it dropped to 135. I figured The Joshua Tree would have been picked long before the last round but am glad it has been added now. I adore every song on it and appreciate your info on the ones you chose. U2 is a thinking person’s band if ever there was one. You are blessed to have seen them live, in the early days and in the later days. Excellent write-up.

    • This is true and they set out to do a couple things I believe- one make it look more modern- and also to appeal to the younger readers- the magazine years ago went south-and three- they wanted to appeal to the events of 2020- Marvin Gaye’s album being #1- that is a great album no question but its an album that is relevant to this year. Note- it wasn’t selected in our draft.

    • Somethings gone awry there, but I’m sure that’s what our parents said when Lawrence Welk fell off the list… Oh right, Rolling Stone didn’t exist back in their days. I’d like to know what the (paid) readership age demographics are these days. They are taking a gamble that having a younger slant to the paper means more young people will buy it. My guess is no.

    • Thanks- I really like Auctung Baby- and it may be a better album I don’t know but The Joshua Tree is one of those special albums to me.

Comments are closed.