As Bono turns 60, we look back at how the Irish greats turned scratchy post-punk into a stadium-filling proposition — and continue to move with the times. Bafflingly left off Pop — it was released on the B-side of Staring at the Sun — North and South of the River is audibly better than swathes of that album: a low-key excursion into something resembling trip-hop, replete with breakbeat and lo-fi orchestral samples and particularly yearning Bono vocal. Once they had shaken off their youthful obsession with Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division, U2 seldom sounded like anyone other than U2. In a Little While, however, has a 70s Rolling Stones feel to it. Kraftwerk apparently lurked among the regular musical diet of the nascent U2, but it took until for their influence to really make itself heard. As befits a song originally intended for Frank Sinatra, Stay pared back the sonic overload of much of Zooropa, leaving U2 more or less au naturel. Its shifts from soft and sad to rousing are the sound of a band not worrying about their place in the modern pop landscape and being themselves. As straightforward a lunge for anthem status as they had yet recorded, Pride worked.
9) The Unforgettable Fire (1984)
39. Vertigo (2004)
The best U2 songs feature important contributions from a man known as David Howell Evans. Of course, he is better known to most by his rock and roll name of 'The Edge,' and it's a tag that fits him well. Believe it or not, Edge turns the big today, and we're looking at some of his band's best songs to celebrate.
10) All I Want (1988)
Yes, they own houses in the south of France, they show up in the occasional gossip column, and Bono jets off to Davos every year, but they are still very much a band. The traditional path to success in the music business pretty much no longer exists, and even if it did, a band like U2 would never, ever have gotten the creative control they asked for and received. No record label still in business today would have let them release a third album after the battles around the second one, October. And even after achieving international fame and fortune with The Joshua Tree , their fifth album, back in , they came crashing back to earth with its follow-up, Rattle and Hum , which every rock critic in the world interpreted as U2 trying to teach America about American music. Record companies certainly want bands to keep doing the thing that made them all that money, over and over again. Every single of member of U2 was convinced at one moment or another in the early days at Hansa Studios — the same place that David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and others have gone to find magic, or at least inspiration — that this was the end of U2. And then one day Lanois suggested to the Edge that he combine two separate guitar parts.