“Where the Streets Have No Name.” This was the opening track on the Joshua Tree Album by the group U2 and it quickly became my favourite pop music song. It is a favourite because of the memories I have of the time it was released and the band, as well as the record.
Sure, I have other favour tracks by other bands, I just love Pink Floyd’s music and to pick a track is too hard. I love the Rock group Queen but likewise picking a fave isn’t easy. Simple Minds, the BeeGees, ELO, ABBA, Guns and Roses, Iron Maiden, I have eclectic tastes in music. But ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ is one that really sticks out.
Picture this, its spring 1987 and I’m a gangly, spotty youth who spends most of my spare time attached at the mouth with my unfortunate first proper girlfriend. My friends and I had been U2 fans since The Unforgettable Fire. Then up pops the first song from the Joshua Tree, With or Without You, a kind of crossover between the past and the future of the band’s music, still similar in style to T.U.F. but somehow excitingly new.
Then comes the anthemic “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, a stirring, melodic piece of pop. Most of us U2 fans had got used to the punk, rock fusion of the previous records. It was all so different. Confusing but at the same time exciting.
On Friday 12th June 1987, me and two of my equally spotty, but girlfriendless, friends set off for a day that I will remember forever. Six hours on a coach going to the metropolis, queuing for hours for toilets, for hours and hours for food and standing four hundred yards away from a stage. This was U2 live at Wembley Stadium!
Two relatively unknown bands bounced onto the stage shouting ‘Hello Wemberley!' and bored us rigid for two hours. Next came the legendary Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders. They were real rock stars, loud, melodic and amazing. I still love them to this day!
But we were waiting for the main act, U2. U2 must have only allowed the supporting bands to use a quarter of their sound system because when they came on Larry Mullen’s drum’s sounded like thunder! They were loud! But it was The Edge’s haunting but rousing opening guitar chords of “Where The Streets Have No Names”, that was U2’s opening number, that we heard that day when I was seventeen years old that make that song my favourite popular music song.
And that’s why certain songs become our favourites, it’s not always a great tune that makes a song a favourite, it’s what memories they convey. And “Where The Streets Have No Names" conveys the best memories of a great day in one of the most important times of my life.