Bill Flanagan on what U2 saw 'through bus windows and in gas stations' on the road to making The Joshua Tree.
'Pride', a rousing celebration of the vision of Martin Luther King, was slightly out of place on The Unforgettable Fire, but it provided a blueprint for the broad-shouldered, big screen American visions of The Joshua Tree. U2 had spent a tremendous amount of time in the USA in the first half of the eighties. What they saw through bus windows and in the gas stations, motels and theatres along the way shaped the new music they wrote. Bono and Edge were influenced by the wasteland western plays of Sam Shepard as well as the European lost-in-America imagery of films like Wim Wenders' 'Paris, Texas.' What came out were songs that dealt less with America the country than with a mythic America of the imagination. In that way, U2 were following in the footsteps of their fellow Irishman Sean Feeney - who as John Ford made films like Fort Apache, The Searchers and The Man Who Shot LIberty Vallance, that turned the desert vistas of the southwest into a landscape for stories about temptation, redemption, and the power of myth to ennoble or destroy.
The hit singles - 'Where the Streets Have No Name', 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' and 'With or Without You' - all have titles that sound like lines John Wayne would say in a John Ford film. They suggest a quest, a journey out into the territories. And yet the heart of the album is two songs that were not hit singles, but which have endured over twenty years as the centerpiece of countless U2 concerts - 'Running to Stand Still' and 'Bullet the Blue Sky'. One is a whisper, the other an explosion and together they demonstrated how deep U2 was prepared to go....'
Extracted from the specially commissioned liner notes that feature in the new edition of The Joshua Tree. The remastered album is released in four formats.
A standard CD (US // UK ) featuring Bill's liner notes, lyrics and unseen photographs from long time collaborator Anton Corbijn.
A double 12" gatefold vinyl format (UK Only) with the original album pressed across two 180 gramaudiophile discs.
A deluxe edition (US // UK ) including a second CD of b-sides and demos from the original album sessions.
A limited edition box set (US // UK) containing two CD's and DVD featuring The Joshua Tree Tour live from the Hippodrome in Paris and other rare video footage.