Six U2 Albums in Rolling Stone 100

2 Oct 2002
Rolling Stone readers have placed six U2 albums in their 100 Greatest Records of all time - two in the Top Ten.

The six albums are War (1983), The Unforgettable Fire (1984), The Joshua Tree (1987), Achtung Baby (1991), Zooropa (1993) and All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000).

Check the poll results for yourself here

Meanwhile, here's the six U2 albums in the Readers 100, in descending order, complete with the magazine's comments.

70. Zooropa

"When we start records, Edge is a slow starter. But at the end, he's the guy who's up all night for weeks." - BONO

During a two-month vacation from the Zoo TV Tour, U2 improvised some of their strangest songs.

Essential track: "The Wanderer," with lead vocals by Johnny Cash.

You said: "This album is the embodiment of a period from the most creative, intelligent band in a time when one-hit-wonders and over-produced, no-talent, pseudo-artists ruled the charts."

Chart peak: 1
Sales: 2 million

53. The Unforgettable Fire

"The greatest threat to the career of this band, or any other band, is financial success." - THE EDGE

The band's first collaboration with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois traded in martial guitars for murky soundscapes.

Essential track: "Pride (In the Name of Love)," even though it got the time of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death wrong.

You said: "Magnificent lyrics, great build-up, fabulous chemistry and absolute classic masterpieces!"

Chart peak: 12
Sales: 3 million

49. War

"Sadomasochism is not taboo in rock & roll. Spirituality is." - BONO

To get the drums to boom properly, the band recorded them under a staircase behind the studio receptionist's desk.

Essential track: "Sunday Bloody Sunday" -- even if you don't know what it's protesting (the death of Irish civilians at the hands of British soldiers in 1920, and again in 1972), it makes you want to storm the ramparts.

You said: "Initially, it is the album that declared to the world that U2 would take over rock & roll and attempt to raise consciousness at the same time -- an admirable feat."

Chart peak: 12
Sales: 4 million

15. All That You Can't Leave Behind

"Joy in our group comes out of vowels, words with very few consonants, words that form when you're singing." - BONO

"Beautiful Day" was once a surf-punk song, then a New Age hymn. Then the Edge added a guitar part that the group dubbed "the Classic Coke riff."

Essential track: "Elevation," built around one of the Edge's most sinuous licks.

You said: "There isn't a song on the album that doesn't touch you in some way. This album changed my life; it actually SAVED my life in the days following September 11th. Music is a great thing, and it is never greater than when it comes from U2."

Chart peak: 3
Sales: 3 million

10. Achtung Baby

"U2's records take a long time to make not because the band members are stuck for ideas but because they never stop talking about them." - BRIAN ENO

U2 arrived in Berlin the night before the Wall came down and stuck around to make their darkest album -- which they obscured with a goofy title.

Essential track: "One," which became a standard done by everyone from Guns n' Roses to Michael Stipe to Johnny Cash.

You said: "Achtung Baby hides themes like infidelity and failing relationships among infectious dance rhythms and dirty guitar lines. It is one of the great examples of a band experimenting with its sound without sacrificing the songs."

Chart peak: 1
Sales: 8 million

4. The Joshua Tree

"Marvin Gaye, Patti Smith, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder -- gee, I don't think there's anyone I like in rock & roll that isn't as screwed up as me in this area [religion]. I started realizing that rock & roll devoid of that spiritual confusion is the rock & roll that I don't like anyway." - BONO

On their fifth album, U2 leapt into the arms of America and landed their first Number One record. Before the Edge performed the guitar solo in "Bullet the Blue Sky," Bono told him, "Put El Salvador through your amplifier."

Essential track: "Running to Stand Still," a steel-guitar ballad about heroin addiction.

You said: "It transcends time, media overplay, and keeps providing inspiration (spiritual and otherwise). It's down to earth, no bubble-gum pop over-blow."

Chart peak: 1
Sales: 10 million


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