U2 album recorded in 1983-4 at Slane Castle, county Meath with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois as collaborators. Includes the well-known song Pride (In the Name of Love), the fan-favorite Bad, and the beautiful one-take, stream-of-consciousness lyrics of Elvis Presley and America. Also spawned the EP Wide Awake in America, which includes two B-sides and two live tracks from the following tour.

The album name derives from an art/photography exhibit of works by Hiroshima survivors that the band visited in Chicago while on tour in 1984. Contrary to popular belief, the album cover is not of Slane Castle, but rather Moydrum Castle in Athlone, county West Meath.

The Unforgettable Fire. Rock album by U2, 1984. Recorded at Slane Castle.

Track list:

  1. A Sort of Homecoming
  2. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  3. Wire
  4. The Unforgettable Fire
  5. Promenade
  6. 4th of July
  7. Bad
  8. Indian Summer Sky
  9. Elvis Presley and America
  10. MLK

U2 has tended to stay with a given "sound" for exactly two studio albums before reinventing themselves. The Unforgettable Fire is an album in the same vein as War, its predecessor, but atypically for U2, we can already hear the genesis of The Joshua Tree in this album. Partly responsible for this is the group's change in producers for the album; War was a Steve Lillywhite production, but like The Joshua Tree, The Unforgettable Fire was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. The balance is sliding from War's drums and bass in the forefront towards The Joshua Tree's style, where almost any song can be played well by a solo acoustic guitar.

The album is a well-integrated package; like most U2 albums, you can listen to it in its entirety and not be disappointed. However, there are some definite highlights, not all of which were released as singles. Pride (In the Name of Love) is probably the most famous track from the album. While the guitar work is fairly simple and the lyrics have subjected Martin Luther King Jr.'s death to some serious poetic license, it is a memorable and powerful rock anthem that has remained a show mainstay almost twenty years since its release. The Unforgettable Fire was the other track released as an A-side from the album. It has, however, faded into comparative obscurity since the album's release.

Elvis Presley and America is one of the album's more interesting songs. The band recorded the instrumental track, played it back at higher speed, and then Bono laid down the vocal track on top of it--a vocal track which I can only compare to scat singing at around one-quarter the speed. MLK spent years as a concert-closing mainstay for U2.

Then there's Bad.

At Live Aid in 1985, each band was allotted 15 minutes for three songs. U2 opened with Bad...and they never got to their next two planned songs. Every live version of this track that I've heard has been amazingly powerful. Maybe it's because Bono's singing about something important to him. Maybe it's because the song itself can't be played without passion. Does it matter? It's an amazing live song. The album's worth owning for that track alone.


Pride (In the Name of Love)

  1. Pride (In the Name of Love)
  2. Boomerang I
  3. Boomerang II
  4. 4th of July

The Unforgettable Fire

  1. The Unforgettable Fire
  2. A Sort of Homecoming (live)
  3. The Three Sunrises
  4. Love Comes Tumbling
  5. Sixty Seconds in Kingdom Come
  6. Bass Trap

References: www.interference.com, album liner notes

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