The Joshua Tree at 30: Facts you didn't know about U2's iconic album

Alicia Adejobi
U2

Irish rock band U2 are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their quintessential, career-defining album The Joshua Tree on 9 March.

Released in 1987, the album was their third chart-topping record in the UK following War and The Unforgettable Fire respectively. However, it earned Bono and co their first number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and unprecedentedly propelled their success on a global scale.

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The rest as they say is history. To date, The Joshua Tree has sold over 25 million copies worldwide making it one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. According to band member Adam Clayton, the band knew the album would have some impact – even if they could not have predicted just how much.

Clayton previously told The Billboard Book Of Number One Albums: "We all kind of fe­lt like it was going to be a breakthrough record for us. We were quite clear about album we wanted to make at the time.

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"We had this image of a spiritual desert, which was what we felt America had become in the mid '80s. Greed and money was the big issue. We wanted to step back from that and look at the spirituality of the heart."

The bassist added of the album's popularity: "It was a real shock, but when that happens to you, you're running so fast trying to keep up with the momentum that you don't have time to dwell on it. I remember when we first arrived in the States for the pre-production of the tour, I remember With or Without You had gone to number one... I thought, 'OK, this is really going to f**k with our lives for a while', and then it was back into whatever we were supposed to be doing."

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The Joshua Tree will forever be remembered for the hit singles With Or Without You, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, One Tree Hill and Where The Streets Have No Name. Fans will have the chance to hear the album in full live on U2's forthcoming The Joshua Tree tour in celebration of the album's 30th anniversary.

U2 The Joshua Tree album

Until then, mark The Joshua Tree's debut with some facts you may not have known about the 11-track record.

Facts you didn't know about U2's fifth album The Joshua Tree

1. One Tree Hill was inspired by the death of the band's roadie, Greg Carroll

Struggling to sleep late one night in August 1984, Bono was taken on a tour of Auckland, New Zealand by local Greg Carroll who took the rocker to visit mountain site One Tree Hill. In 1986, Carroll died in a car accident at the age of 26 while transporting a motorcycle on behalf of Bono. The singer used his grief over Carroll's death to inspire the lyrics of One Tree Hill while the entire album was recorded in dedication to the roadie.

2. Front-row tickets for the original Joshua Tree tour cost just $15.50

According to a review written by the New York Times in 1987, front-row tickets for the band's show in Tempe, Arizona set fans back a mere $15.50. Fans hoping to attend the Joshua Tree 30th anniversary tour in 2017 will now have to fork out $1,410 via Ticketmaster.

3. With Or Without You was recorded using a prototype guitar

The iconic howling on The Joshua Tree's lead single was courtesy of The Edge, who created the sound on a prototype Infinite Guitar.

4. The Joshua Tree album cover was not shot anywhere near the Joshua Tree National Park

U2 were out and about scouting location shots for the album cover in December 1986 when they spotted a lone-standing tree at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley in Mojave Desert on California State Route 190. This location is actually over 200 miles away from The Joshua Tree National Park.

5. U2 won their first Grammy Awards with The Joshua Tree

The rockers have won a total of 22 Grammys over the course of their career but claimed their first two with The Joshua Tree. The band won album of the year for The Joshua Tree and best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal.

Listen to U2's With Or Without You:

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