I had heard of "U-2" off their "war" album with "New Years day" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" making the video circuits on the new fangled MTV...back when they played music video's. I liked the music and had the album on CD. When the "Joshua Tree" album hit the market in 1987 it was BIG, I was in Germany near Stuttgart and it seemed that everybody bought the album...including me. I really liked this song and the accompanying video. I also was and still a fan of "Bloom County" and they had released a book with a parody of the cover that you see on the blog. I included it in the "Monday Music" I showed the parody to show the influence on popular culture that the album had back then and still has today. the album cemented U-2 as superstars.
"Where the Streets Have No Name" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the opening track from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree and was released as the album's third single in August 1987. The song's hook is a repeating guitar arpeggio using a delay effect, played during the song's introduction and again at the end. Lead vocalist Bono wrote the lyrics in response to the notion that it is possible to identify a person's religion and income based on the street on which they lived, particularly in Belfast. During the band's difficulties recording the song, producer Brian Eno considered erasing the song's tapes to have them start from scratch.
"Where the Streets Have No Name" was praised by critics and became a commercial success, peaking at number thirteen in the US, number fourteen in Canada, number ten in the Netherlands, and number four in the United Kingdom. The song has become one of the band's most popular songs and has remained a staple of their live act since the song debuted in 1987 on The Joshua Tree Tour. The song was notably performed on a Los Angelesrooftop for the filming of its music video, which won a Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video. Recently, the song has been used by theNFL's Baltimore Ravens as their entrance song in Super Bowl XLVII.
The lyrics were inspired by a story that Bono heard about the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a person's religion and income are evident by the street they live on. He contrasted this with the anonymity he felt when visiting Ethiopia and said, "the guy in the song recognizes this contrast and thinks about a world where there aren't such divisions, a place where the streets have no name. To me, that's the way a great rock 'n' roll concert should be: a place where everyone comes together... Maybe that's the dream of all art: to break down the barriers and the divisions between people and touch upon the things that matter the most to us all. According to him, the song is ostensibly about "Transcendence, elevation, whatever you want to call it." Bono, who compared many of his lyrics prior to The Joshua Tree to "sketches", said that "'Where the Streets Have No Name' is more like the U2 of old than any of the other songs on the LP, because it's a sketch—I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling.
The video begins with an aerial shot of a block in Los Angeles, and clips of radio broadcasts are heard with disc jockeys stating that U2 is planning on performing a concert downtown and expecting crowds of 30,000 people. Police show up to the set and inform the band's crew of the security issue that the film shoot is causing, due to the large number of people who are coming to watch the performance. Two minutes into the video, U2 are seen on the roof of a liquor store and perform "Where the Streets Have No Name" to a large crowd of people standing in the streets surrounding the building. Towards the end of the song, the police tell the crew that the performance is about to be shut down, and eventually police walk onto the roof while the crowd are booing the police.
The video for "Where the Streets Have No Name" was directed by Meiert Avis and produced by Michael Hamlyn and Ben Dossett. The band attracted over 1,000 people during the video's filming, which took place on the rooftop of a liquor store in Downtown Los Angeles on 27 March 1987. The band's performance on a rooftop in a public place was a reference to The Beatles' final concert, as depicted in the film Let It Be.
During the shoot U2 played an eight-song set, which included four performances of "Where the Streets Have No Name".Prior to filming, a week was spent reinforcing the roof of the liquor store to ensure it would not collapse if it were to be intruded by a group of fans. A backup generator was put on the roof so the shooting could continue in the event that the authorities shut off the power on the primary generator, which happened during filming.
The depiction of the police attempting to shut down the video shoot due to safety concerns actually happened during filming, just as seen in the video. Hamlyn was almost arrested following a confrontation with the police. According to Avis, the events depicted in the video show what actually happened that day "almost in real time", and that "getting busted was an integral part of the plan." Band manager Paul McGuinness revealed in 2007 that much of the confrontation with the police was exaggerated; the group were hoping to get shut down by the authorities in order to dramatize the music video, but the police continually gave them extensions for shooting the video. In the background of the video is a sign for The Million Dollar Hotel, which was rebuilt to create some interest, in case no one showed up at the film shoot. Although the video is of a live performance, the audio used is from the studio-recorded version of the song] The video won the Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video at the 1989 Grammy Awards.
The cover artwork contains parodies of the covers of two of the best-selling rock albums of 1986/87: the front cover is a send-up of Bruce Springsteen'sbox set "Live/1975–85"; the back cover includes a spoof of U2's "The Joshua Tree" (the original blurry/"narrow-heads" version of the cover; the spoof deliberately imitates these traits). In both cases, the band member(s) in the original artwork are substituted with members of Billy and the Boingers.