The Best Of 1980-1990 (2 Nov, 1998)
Produced By: multiple
U2's first compilation comprised two discs: the first entitled 'The Best of U2 Volume One 1980-1990' consisted of 14 tracks from the Boy to the Rattle and Hum era. The second, entitled 'The B-Sides', was a collection of 15 b-sides from the same era. The two discs were combined into a limited edition double release for the first week of sales. After the first week, the b-sides disc was deleted from the band's catalog. The Canadian release had a numbered, limited edition of 175,000 units pressed.
The single disc Best Of peaked at No.5 on the Canadian album charts and No.4 on the US album charts. The combined Best Of/B-sides reached No.1 and No.2 in Canada and the US, respectively. In the US, U2 had the largest opening week for a greatest hits collection for any group in the Soundscan era. Likewise, in Ireland, the Best Of holds the record for the highest sales in a single week since 1993 when IRMA started keeping records. The album reached No. 1 on Ireland's album charts and stayed in the charts for a total of 76 weeks. In Switzerland, the Best Of reached No.1 on the album charts and stayed in the charts a total of 23 weeks. The Best Of also reached No.1 in Germany. In the United States, the single disc Best Of was certified gold by the RIAA. Whereas the combined Best Of/B-sides was certified multi-platinum by the RIAA with 2 million units sold. In Australia, the Best Of was certified 5 times platinum by the ARIA. In New Zealand the Best Of entered the charts at No.1 and remained on the chart for 28 weeks and has since achieved Platinum status.
'Compilation records don't deserve the kind of welcome U2's 'Best of 80 to 90' received and of course it's not a qualitative thing, in our heads it was housekeeping, a bit of tidying up for the era conscious... you'd probably call it cleaning up which is eh... fair. I must say the success of the 'best of' and Sweetest Thing has raised the game on our next studio album lest its original title, 'U2, Love Your Early Stuff' proved a pronouncement on our new material....'
from Bono's diary of 1998, published in Q Magazine