Rattle and Hum

Rattle and Hum

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Rattle and Hum was the album that saw U2 build a bridge from the studio to the silver screen, with some superstar collaborations along the way. The incredible global success of The Joshua Tree was an undeniable staging post in a story that was already more than a decade old. But U2 have never been a band simply to press repeat. Now they saw the opportunity to create something different again, a record of what they had just achieved and a signpost to where they were heading next. Hence the typically innovative combination of a full-scale film to commemorate the epic tour for The Joshua Tree, and a companion double album that contained live elements, but also stood tall as their sixth studio release. All of this little more than 18 months after the album that had rewritten industry records and taken the band to the very top of their profession.

The Rattle and Hum movie was filmed in Denver, CO at the McNichols Sports Arena in November 1987. It captured the overwhelming ebullience of a U2 concert, from the opening cover of the Beatles' White Album romp "Helter Skelter" to valedictory closer "Pride (In The Name Of Love)." But, far from taking the easy option of a simultaneous album equivalent to the film, by the spring of 1988 U2 were at work on a very different type of companion release. Even as they oversaw post-production of the Phil Joanou-directed rock documentary, the band started to lay down new material, both in L.A. and Sun Studios in Memphis, for what would become Rattle and Hum, the album. At the end of September, U2 announced their return with one of the most exhilarating singles of their career. "Desire" was a breathless, vein-bursting nod to the punk-before-there-was-punk sound of the Stooges, itself distilled from a nucleus of the Bo Diddley beat. After a UK debut at No. 3, which equalled their best-ever peak with "Pride" four years before, "Desire" climbed to the top to give U2 their first British No. 1 single. It went on to land a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal.

Hard on its heels, the album rattled and hummed into view in October. Time magazine called it "the best live rock album ever made," but it was even more than that. Produced by Jimmy Iovine, it incorporated recordings from the Denver shows, others from San Francisco, New York and Tempe, Arizona, as well as new studio material and some truly striking collaborations. Rattle and Hum debuted on the British chart at No. 1 and by November was sitting atop the American charts as well. Its four hit singles - "Desire," "Angel of Harlem," "When Love Comes to Town" and "All I Want Is You" - kept U2 in singles top tens all over the world for months.


  1. Helter Skelter [Live]
  2. Van Diemen's Land
  3. Desire
  4. Hawkmoon 269
  5. All Along the Watchtower [Live]
  6. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For [Live]
  7. Freedom for My People
  8. Silver and Gold [Live]
  9. Pride (In the Name of Love) [Live]


  1. Angel of Harlem
  2. Love Rescue Me
  3. When Love Comes to Town
  4. Heartland
  5. God, Pt. 2
  6. Star Spangled Banner
  7. Bullet the Blue Sky [Live]
  8. All I Want Is You

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