- 09 Mar 17
The Joshua Tree was the album that transformed U2 from being a big band into one of the most powerful and enduring forces in the history of rock music. On the 30th Anniversary of the release of the landmark album, OLAF TYARANSEN sets the scene, listens to some of the key players, and reflects on the extraordinary sonic magic that was conjured in a disused house in Rathfarnham, on the south side of Dublin, by a group of four Northsiders and their various musical accomplices…
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full 30 years, but the calendar doesn’t lie. On March 23rd, 1987, six months after Garret FitzGerald’s government passed the National Lottery Act 1986, the Irish National Lottery began its gaming operations with the release of the very first scratchcards.
Two weeks before that, though, four scruffy-looking Dublin rock stars had already hit the jackpot.
U2 were already a big band with a global reputation, by the time they released their fifth studio album on March 9th, 1987, but it really was the one that, as Rolling Stone put it, transformed them “from heroes to superstars.” Six weeks after The Joshua Tree – produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois – hit the streets, the Irish fab foursome made the cover of Time magazine, described as “Rock’s Hottest Ticket. Even today, this would be a very big deal indeed. Back then, before the advent of social media, it was an historic landmark.