- 02 Mar 17
There were a number of key tracks from The Joshua Tree sessions that didn’t make the final album cut. Today, we unveil the first in a series of seven.
We are counting down the seven days to March 9 – the date when The Joshua Tree was launched, all of 30 years ago, in 1987. It was the album that fired U2 into the stratosphere, reaching No.1 all over the world and going on to sell 25 million copies.
To mark the occasion, Hot Press has selected for your delectation seven of the less familiar tracks from the recording sessions that generated The Joshua Tree – one every day from now till March 9th. Some – like today’s selection – were never intended for a U2 record. Others might arguably have made the album even stronger. And more again just didn’t fit the flow, in an era when artists were far more limited by a requirement to come in at or under the 40 minutes you could fit comfortably onto a vinyl record.
There are any of a dozen reasons why decisions can be made to include or exclude tracks. But what we can say is that herein is an even greater abundance of U2 gold. So sit back, listen to the first of our selection – and tune in again tomorrow for another instalment. Your guide: Valentina Magli.
(1) SWEET FIRE OF LOVE
Having initially worked at Danesmoate in Rathfarnham and Melbeach House (owned by The Edge), in August 1986, U2 returned to Windmill Lane Studios to record. That same month, Robbie Robertson (formerly of The Band) visited Dublin. He was working on his self-titled debut solo album with U2 producer, Daniel Lanois.
During his time in Dublin, Robbie recorded two tracks with the band. One of them was the incendiary 'Sweet Fire of Love'. The lyrical improvisation between Robbie and Bono resulted in an amazing 22min track that was then edited into the version we know. The song is heavily marked by U2’s sound. It opens with the echo of The Edge’s guitar and Bono’s vocals act as a counterpoint to Robertson’s deep tones. Eventually, Bono’s passionate cries make the song what it is today, and Robertson’s vocals become the perfect companion in a sequence of high and low tones that is a musical wonder.
It reminds us of the potent spiritual imagery present in the lyrics of the songs on The Joshua Tree.
“Broken idols by the side of the road/
Fate didn't fall on the side of the law/
Here she comes a-shining like a light/
Here she comes salvation in the night”