Wednesday, February 8, 2012

From the Record Collection (5 of 8)_ U2 "The Unforgettable Fire"

Since we are discussing U2's album "The Unforgettable Fire" (1984) today, we send out special greetings to everyone in Dublin, Ireland, where the band originally formed in 1976 when lead singer Bono was just 16 years old. The band's first album "Boy" (1980) was released four years later.

This record is my personal favorite from U2, though fans of the band said on Twitter that the recently re-released "Achtung Baby" (1991) was the best album from the band. For many years, that distinction also belonged to U2's major commercial break-through record "The Joshua Tree" (1987).

But, for me, the fourth studio album from U2 will also be the most special one. It was released in October of 1984, which is a bit ironic because U2's second record (released in 1981) was called "October."

With a running time of 42:38, "The Unforgettable Fire" refers to an art exhibit about the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

There are two songs dedicated to African-American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., including the landmark song "Pride (in the Name of Love" and "MLK."

The record was produced by Brian Eno, who is also known for producing many exceptional Talking Heads records, and Daniel Lanois, who worked with Peter Gabriel. In more recent years, Lanois has also worked with Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

"The Unforgettable Fire," which also includes my personal favorite U2 song "A Sort of Homecoming" a song about the contradiction between rock and roll and spiritual life, was partially recorded at Shane Castle in Ireland, and footage of the album's recording is included in the video for "Pride (in the Name of Love)."

The title track, which was the record's second single, features a stirring use of a guitar solo from The Edge.

In a recent documentary about U2's recording of "Achtung Baby," it was revealed that for that album's popular song "One" that The Edge came up with music for the song first and then Bono figured out some lyrics that would match it.

The band is widely considered to be the most prolific active band behind The Rolling Stones, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a band this year. But, unlike The Rolling Stones, U2 has maintained its lineup which also includes Adam Clayton (bass) and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums) since the band was founded.

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