Have U2 reached their Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby status again? - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-10-2002, 03:15 PM   #1
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Have U2 reached their Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby status again?

For those of us who were musically conscious in 1987-88 and 1991-1993, we remember the times when U2 were bigger than life. They were THE band that everyone wanted to see. Their album was THE album everyone had. They were bigger than life during these two periods - the topic of every musical conversation. There simply was no one more popular - not even close.

So, do you think U2's popularity this time around matches those two periods?
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Old 01-10-2002, 03:31 PM   #2
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nope, and I don't think they were as important as we'd like to believe. A lot of those "fans" during those periods were fair weather fans imo.
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Old 01-10-2002, 03:50 PM   #3
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they were not as popular during Actung Baby as during Joshua Tree

they are marketing themselves to become more popular now then they were during the Joshua Tree period

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Old 01-10-2002, 04:39 PM   #4
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I think U2 will surpass the Joshua Tree this time around. The Super Bowl is an audience of several hundred million people. The Grammys are coming and they're bound to win a few. They still crave mainstream success, being the biggest as well as the best. There's no sign of any return to experimentation. U2 has excellent pop instincts (especially when working with Daniel Lanois), and I believe the new album will have a few radio-friendly songs.

Also importantly, their political talk is concordant with the interests of the powers that be, to a large degree. They have embraced American patriotism. They have the Clear Channel thing going for them (which represents immense advertising power and media power). Partly for these reasons, the mass media will continue to beat the U2 drum.

There are so many more people that know who U2 is now than in 1987. If their concert ticket prices were equivalent (inflation-matched) to the $14.50 I paid to see them in the Spring of 1987, they could play multiple night stands in many more cities.

The only thing they haven't done this time around is to reach the cover of Time or Newsweek. But I bet they will during 2002 or 2003.

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Old 01-10-2002, 04:43 PM   #5
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The Joshua Tree was HUGE. Now it seems like they are trying to hard, in a way. Not meaning that in a bad way, but all their success from Joshua Tree came natural and unexpected.

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Old 01-10-2002, 04:44 PM   #6
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ill agree with sv on this one.
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Old 01-10-2002, 04:46 PM   #7
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15 million purchased the Joshua Tree
8 million purchased Achtung Baby
4 million purchased All That You Can't Leave Behind.

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Old 01-10-2002, 05:26 PM   #8
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Sicy, I know what you mean in that during the Spring of 1987, it just HAPPENED for U2. But actually U2 were desperate to "break" into the U.S. mainstream back in 1985-1987 and tried VERY hard; they're just so much better at it now, so their rise may look less "spontaneous" (or whatever). No media phenomenon is spontaneous.

U2 had originally hoped that Pride would break U2 into the United States mainstream, and were very disappointed with its poor radio impact (I think it hit #34 in the U.S., though I'm sure the chart-hawks here could correct me on that). Probably partly because Island Records was pretty weak in the U.S. After Live Aid with the whole world watching the amazing performance of Bad, U2 and Island were determined to Break into the U.S. mainstream. They then released the EP "Wide Awake In America" (the title seems like trying pretty hard to me), which contained live versions of Bad and Homecoming which were actually recorded in London. While they couldn't release the song as a single at that point, Island pulled out all the stops to pressure U.S. radio stations to play the live version of Bad - and they played that A LOT over the following year. Some at Island records still feel that it was actually Bad, not With or Without You, that broke U2 in the U.S. And during early 1987, Bono continually harped on the fact that the JT album was about America. So I don't think it was unexpected.

Or as Bono put it once, "When you see a huge crowd waiting at the airport for your arrival, chances are you told them you were coming".

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Old 01-10-2002, 05:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by david:
15 million purchased the Joshua Tree
8 million purchased Achtung Baby
4 million purchased All That You Can't Leave Behind.

JT has been out since '87.

AB has been out since '91.

ATYCLB has been out since '00.

Give it time.


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Old 01-10-2002, 05:44 PM   #10
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The feats accomplished by U2 the past year, IMHO, is much more incredible than what they did with AB and JT. Sure, AB and JT sold tons more, and they were "rock's hottest ticket" at the time. But if you look at the market, the times back then, it was far easier for a great rock band like u2 to be relevant as well as commercially successful during that period than it is now. Back then, rock was still "cool", still hip, still in. Sure, rock may still be relevant nowadys, but commercially, look at the music scene today in the states. Hip hop and teen pop rule the charts. Like it or not, it's true.

For U2 to come out blazing like they did with ATYCLB is phenominal considering the scene today. They truly are one of the last of the rock stars during a time when hip hop drives the big cars. The 8 grammy nominations make it even more amazing. This is why I say that perhaps, sheer numbers and commercial-wise they aren't as big as during the JT AB years, but in terms of accomplishment and feats, they are bigger than they were during the JT AB years. There are few other artists in the history of music who are still productive and relevant even in their 40's. Few might even argue that they are at their peak. This is why I'm so proud of our boys as they totally did what they set out to do starting with the release of ATYCLB in 10/2000.
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Old 01-10-2002, 06:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by david:
15 million purchased the Joshua Tree
8 million purchased Achtung Baby
4 million purchased All That You Can't Leave Behind.

All that you can't leave behind's sales have already topped Achtung Baby... I think the figure you have there is for 2000 alone.

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Old 01-10-2002, 10:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dorian Gray:
All that you can't leave behind's sales have already topped Achtung Baby... I think the figure you have there is for 2000 alone.
No they haven't.

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Old 01-11-2002, 12:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by cainz:
The feats accomplished by U2 the past year, IMHO, is much more incredible than what they did with AB and JT. Sure, AB and JT sold tons more, and they were "rock's hottest ticket" at the time. But if you look at the market, the times back then, it was far easier for a great rock band like u2 to be relevant as well as commercially successful during that period than it is now. Back then, rock was still "cool", still hip, still in. Sure, rock may still be relevant nowadys, but commercially, look at the music scene today in the states. Hip hop and teen pop rule the charts. Like it or not, it's true.
Yeah but in 1987 U2 and Joshua Tree's competition were butt rock and glam metal. Kind of the same thing really.

I think people wanted no nonsense honest rock at the time. U2 spoke to the people alienated by the cheesy party rock churned out by the big hair makeup wearing glam rock clone bands that totally dominated radio and MTV back then. That's why REM and U2 had great success in 87 with their albums.

Fast forward to 2001 and U2's competition is teen pop and angry rock rap groups.



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Old 01-11-2002, 12:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew_Page2000:
No they haven't.

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Are you sure? Paul McG has stated that at over 10 million, ATYCLB is aleady on track to top Joshua Tree... And that is roughly what AB has sold right?

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Old 01-11-2002, 12:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dorian Gray:
Are you sure? Paul McG has stated that at over 10 million, ATYCLB is aleady on track to top Joshua Tree... And that is roughly what AB has sold right?
The album sold 3 million in the United States this year. Which is great. I think it sold about 2 million outside of the US.

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Old 01-11-2002, 12:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by david:
The album sold 3 million in the United States this year. Which is great. I think it sold about 2 million outside of the US.

http://forum.interference.com/u2feed...ML/000743.html

Unless the Where the Album Has a Name forum has been lying to me (in which case I'll shut up ), it's over 10million in total sales...
There's also an article from Reuters that states this...


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[This message has been edited by Dorian Gray (edited 01-10-2002).]
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Old 01-11-2002, 12:51 AM   #17
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I hope 2002/2003 is a better time period for U2 than 1988/1989 was. The band pretty much took it on the chin during this time, but it's obvious they learned tremendously from all that. The one thing that newer(and younger) fans seem to forget is that the internet was just a very very tiny fraction of what it is now. It barely existed to say the least. News about the band was very scarce compared to up to the minute online articles we have now. I remember all the JT hype, but imagine what it would have been like had the internet been like it is now. All the information we have now is amazing compared to the way things once were.

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Old 01-11-2002, 02:38 AM   #18
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"Yeah but in 1987 U2 and Joshua Tree's competition were butt rock and glam metal. Kind of the same thing really."

True, but back then they had two huge advantages: first, they were still in their twenties, still a young band. They were almost in their forties when they've done ATYCLB, and it is so much harder for the older artists to be successful in an industry obsessed with age. So many people will dismiss you automatically -just- because you're an older artist. Secondly, they had an advantage of not being perceived as a burnt-out former superband that many people thought them to be after POP. It is so much harder to try and climb back to the top once you have fallen from it.

And what's even more amazing is that U2 still managed to regain their success on their own terms, without jumping on the bandwagon of what's popular in music nowadays, or an album full of "collaborations" with the hip new artists, or putting bucketloads of writhing half-naked women in their videos, or trying to hide their age (well, apart from Bono's suspiciously raven-black locks, ). They were not afraid to put out a mature album with NO attempts to be cool which doesn't shy away from their middle-ageness and freely mentions things like "midlife crisis". Sure it's tuneful and melodic as hell, but that's no guarantee for success: REM's latest album is as radio-friendly as it gets, yet it sank without a trace.
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Old 01-11-2002, 03:05 AM   #19
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the figures can be deceiving. every figure given could be correct. 13 million for ATYCLB could be what it's sold worldwide, total. 3 million (i think?) could be what it sold in the us in 2001.

but then again i don't know...i don't really keep up with this stuff.

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Old 01-11-2002, 03:17 AM   #20
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I think U2 may be as strong as they were in those days but I think that pop culture in the western world right now is in sad shape. In the 80's, U2 was the biggest thing. There was nothing really close to them, aside from Springsteen. However, today they are at war (and I believe it is a war) with these manufactured boy bands with 0 talent. The teenie boppers of the 80's thought it was cool to like U2. Today the teenie boppers think it's cool to like N'Suck. It's just a different state of pop culture that's holding the boys back from being as big as they were in JT era.
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