A Look Back At U2's 'Achtung Baby' 25 Years Later

11/20/2016
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U2

(Radio.com) After years of moving from being a post-punk band to a mainstream rock and roll stadium headliner, U2 decided to reinvent themselves with their seventh album, 1991's 'Achtung Baby,' which was released 25 years ago this month. Here, we look back at U2's most daring album.

The hints were there for a few years before Achtung Baby was released, that U2 was changing in a dramatic way. Over the first few years of their career, they moved from the world of alternative radio, getting played on stations alongside the Smiths, the Clash, Talking Heads and the Eurythmics, to mainstream rock radio alongside Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen. And during that time, they moved from playing clubs to arenas, to, finally, stadiums.

1988's The Joshua Tree was the peak of the band's obsession with Americana and the roots of rock and roll. They recorded at Sun Studios, they collaborated with B.B. King, they covered Bob Dylan, and also collaborated with Dylan (he played organ on "Hawkmoon 269" and sang backing vocals on "Love Rescue Me"). They seemed to be looking towards a younger, hipper audience with the "Hollywood Remix" of the album's first single, "Desire." Other rock giants, from the Rolling Stones to Genesis, had dance remixes, but with those bands, it seemed like a stretch. With U2, it worked. Instead of just adding beats in hopes of coaxing club DJs to play the song, it actually changed the song's entire character, and showed new possibilities for what a U2 song could be. Also of importance: the "Hollywood Remix" threw in audio clips from news broadcasts, something that would explore more in the next decade.

Later, when they released the "When Love Comes To Town" 12″ single, it came with the "Hard Metal Remix" of "God Part II," another effective re-imagining of one of their songs. It also included the band's cover of Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot," an important nod to their post-punk roots. The appetite for new U2 music was so heavy that this b-side actually got some play on rock radio, which had rarely played any Smith songs other than "Because the Night." Read more here.

Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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