seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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Release of U2’s “Rattle and Hum”

Rattle and Hum, the sixth studio album by Irish rock band U2, is released on October 10, 1988. The album is produced by Jimmy Iovine. A companion rockumentary film directed by Phil Joanou is released on October 27, 1988.

Following the breakthrough success of the band’s previous studio album, The Joshua Tree, the Rattle and Hum project captures their continued experiences with American roots music on The Joshua Tree Tour, further incorporating elements of blues rock, folk rock, and gospel music into their sound. A collection of new studio tracks, live performances, and cover songs, the project includes recordings at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee and collaborations with Bob Dylan, B. B. King, and Harlem‘s New Voices of Freedom gospel choir.

Although Rattle and Hum is intended to represent the band paying tribute to rock legends, some critics accuse U2 of trying to place themselves amongst the ranks of these artists. Critical reception to both the album and the film is mixed. One Rolling Stone editor speaks of the album’s “excitement”, another describes it as “misguided and bombastic.” The film grosses just $8.6 million, but the album is a commercial success, reaching number one in several countries and selling 14 million copies. Lead single “Desire” becomes the band’s first U.K. number-one song while reaching number three in the United States.

At the end of 1988, Rattle and Hum is voted the 21st-best album of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics published by The Village Voice. In other critics’ lists of the year’s top albums, it is ranked number one by HUMO, second by the Los Angeles Times and Hot Press, 17th by OOR, 23rd by New Musical Express (NME), and 47th by Sounds.

Lifetime sales for the album have surpassed 14 million copies.

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Birth of U2’s The Edge, David Howell Evans

the-edgeDavid Howell Evans, British-born Irish musician and songwriter best known by his stage name The Edge and as the lead guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist of the rock band U2, is born at the Maternity Hospital in Barking, Essex, England on August 8, 1961. A member of U2 since its inception, he has recorded 13 studio albums with the band as well as one solo record.

The Edge is raised in Ireland after the Evans family relocates there while he is still an infant. He receives his initial formal education at St. Andrew’s National School in Dublin. As a child he also receives piano and guitar lessons, and practises music with his elder brother Richard. In 1976, at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, he goes to a meeting in response to an advert posted by another pupil, Larry Mullen Jr., on the school’s noticeboard seeking musicians to form a new band with him. Among the other pupils who respond to the note are Paul Hewson (Bono) and Adam Clayton. The band goes through a number of versions before becoming known as U2 in March 1978.

U2 begins its public performance life in small venues in Dublin, occasionally playing at other venues elsewhere in Ireland. In December 1979 they perform their first concerts outside Ireland, in London, and in 1980 begin extensive touring across the British Isles. Their debut album Boy is released in 1980.

In 1981, leading up to the October Tour, Evans comes very close to leaving U2 for religious reasons, but he decides to stay. During this period he becomes involved with a group called Shalom Tigers, in which bandmates Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. are also involved. Shortly after deciding to remain with the band, he writes a piece of music that later becomes Sunday Bloody Sunday.

U2 eventually becomes one of the most popular acts in popular music, with successful albums such as 1987’s The Joshua Tree and 1991’s Achtung Baby. Over the years, the Edge has experimented with various guitar effects and introduced influences from several genres of music into his own style, including American roots music, industrial music, and alternative rock. With U2, the Edge also plays keyboards, co-produced their 1993 record Zooropa, and occasionally contributes lyrics.

In addition to his regular role within U2, The Edge has also recorded with such artists as Johnny Cash, B. B. King, Tina Turner, Ronnie Wood, Jah Wobble, Holger Czukay, Jay-Z, and Rihanna. He has collaborated with U2 bandmate Bono on several projects, including the soundtracks to the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and the Royal Shakespeare Company‘s London stage adaptation of A Clockwork Orange.

The Edge, Bob Ezrin, and Henry Juszkiewicz co-found Music Rising in 2005, a charity that helps provide replacement instruments for those that were lost in Hurricane Katrina. The instruments are originally only replaced for professional musicians but they soon realise the community churches and schools need instruments as well. The charity’s slogan is “Rebuilding the Gulf Region note by note” and has helped over a hundred musicians who were affected by the hurricane. The Edge also serves on the board of The Angiogenesis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving global health by advancing angiogenesis-based medicine, diets, and lifestyle.

In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine places him at number 38 on its list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” In 2012, Spin ranks him 13th on their own list.


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U2 Album “The Joshua Tree” is Released

the-joshua-treeThe Joshua Tree, the fifth studio album by Irish rock band U2, is released on March 9, 1987. The album is produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno on Island Records. Formed in 1976, the band consists of Bono (vocals and rhythm guitar), The Edge (lead guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion).

In contrast to the ambient experimentation of their 1984 release The Unforgettable Fire, the band aims for a harder-hitting sound within the limitation of conventional song structures on The Joshua Tree. The album is influenced by American and Irish roots music, and depicts the band’s love–hate relationship with the United States, using socially and politically conscious lyrics embellished with spiritual imagery.

Inspired by American tour experiences, literature, and politics, U2 chooses America as a theme for the album. Recording begins in Ireland in January 1986. Several events during the recording sessions help shape the conscious tone of the album, including the band’s participation in A Conspiracy of Hope tour, the death of roadie Greg Carroll, and lead vocalist Bono’s travels to Central America. Recording is completed in November 1986 and additional production continues into January 1987. Throughout the sessions, U2 seeks a “cinematic” quality for the record, one that will evoke a sense of location, in particular, the open spaces of America. They represent this in the sleeve photography depicting them in American desert landscapes.

The Joshua Tree receives critical acclaim, topping the charts in over 20 countries, and selling in record-breaking numbers. According to Rolling Stone, the album increases the band’s stature “from heroes to superstars.” It produces the hit singles With or Without You, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, and Where the Streets Have No Name. The album wins Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1988. The group supports the record with the Joshua Tree Tour throughout 1987.

Frequently featured on critics’ lists of music’s greatest records, The Joshua Tree is one of the world’s best-selling albums, with over 25 million copies sold. U2 releases a remastered edition of the record in 2007 to commemorate its 20th anniversary. In 2014, it is deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry.