James VanOsdol

U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’: 5 facts

U2’s “The Joshua Tree” album turns 30 this year, and the band’s hitting the road for a tour that will find them playing the entire album on each date.

Over a quarter billion copies of “The Joshua Tree” have been sold to date, thanks to timeless songs like “With or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” U2 will roll through the album, from “Where the Streets Have No Name” to “Mothers of the Disappeared,” at Soldier Field on June 3. In the meantime, here are five “Joshua Tree” facts:

1. “The Joshua Tree” won Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in the 1988 awards ceremony.

2. As successful as the album became, the band had no intention of making a commercial album. Adam Clayton told Rolling Stone, “If anyone had even breathed that idea… .” Edge added, “With Joshua Tree, (Bono) managed, without sacrificing the depth of his words, to get what he wanted to say into a three- or four-minute song.”

3. The majestic, album-opening “Where the Streets Have No Name” was a challenge to create. Producer Daniel Lanois said, “That was the science project song… I remember having this massive schoolhouse blackboard, as we call them. I was holding a pointer, like a college professor, walking the band through the chord changes like a… nerd. It was ridiculous.”

4. The tree on the album cover fell roughly 17 years ago… and it wasn’t located in Joshua Tree National Park. It was in the Mojave Desert.

5. “The Joshua Tree” could’ve been a double album. Bono was all for a version that also included B-sides like “Beautiful Ghost” and “Spanish Eyes;” Edge argued against it… and won.

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