- 08 Mar 17
The penultimate day of our countdown to the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, where we bring you some key tracks that didn't make it onto the final cut of the album.
Tomorrow will be 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 this occasion, Hot Press have been selecting, 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 of our choices 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. Here's our second installment, with your guide: Valentina Magli.
6) EXIT – The Hands of Love
Alright, this track did make it onto the Joshua Tree album, but I cannot omit it from this countdown. One of the album's most unremarked tracks, it is music of extraordinary power that deserves the standing ovation that has too often eluded it!
It has provided the springboard for one of U2’s best live performances of all time – the black and white version directed by Phil Joanou in the documentary Rattle & Hum, which is an incredible mix of elegance and raw power, with poignant lyrics, reverberating echoing guitars and vocals that pierce the soul.
Inspired by Norman Mailer’s Executioner’s Song, about Gary Gilmore, Bono was trying to get inside the mind of a psychotic killer while writing the lyrics. In the album, its place just before 'Mothers of the Disappeared' is very meaningful, shedding light on acts of conscious violence before exposing the theme of oppression of innocent victims. The song originally came out of a jam session. In this clip, with its echoes of The Doors and segue into the chorus of ‘Gloria’, it adds up to one of most powerful pieces of music I have ever seen on screen.
Adam Clayton has suggested that the line "the hands that build can also pull down" is also a comment on the US government and its conflicting roles in international relations in the 1980s. We may be back there again. Watch this space.