Listen: Niall Stokes and Jimmy Smyth Record U2’s 'Where The Streets Have No Name' For Hot Press

With U2 continuing their Joshua Tree tour in Paris this week, the focus is still on the album that turned the band into superstars.

The great Irish guitar player Jimmy Smyth, who teaches in BIMM, as well as doing high profile gigs and sessions all over the world playing with the likes of Mary Coughlan and Van Morrison among numerous others, came into the studios in Hot Press to play a song or two with Hot Press editor Niall Stokes.

"I can never fully explain why I want to sing a particular song," Niall Stokes says. "They tend to sneak up on you and start singing themselves in your head. And then by the time you begin to think about them, they have started to take on the shape that makes sense for you.

"I think I heard in 'Where The Streets Have No Name' something of a starker, more despairing, bluesier heart than the propulsive rhythm and ringing guitars that feature on the U2 original would allow. Anyhow, I gave it a whirl often enough at home that I felt it'd be nice to see what it would sound like with Jimmy providing colour and mood.

"We played together before on a Hot Press single from 1979 or so, which only seems like yesterday. And I've heard him play with others, of course: he is one of the very best guitar players this country has ever produced. So we ran through this once and then started to record. It was meant to have that spontaneous quality.

"The Joshua Tree is such a phenomenal record. Hearing it played live in its entirety on the weekend was a huge privilege. It was the centre-piece of what was an extraordinary show – one that has encouraged us to focus again on all that U2 have achieved artistically, creatively and socially. Long may they run!"


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