U2's 50 Greatest Songs

A definitive guide to 35 years of music that changed the world

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6. "Where the Streets Have No Name"

Opening with nearly two minutes of the Edge's shimmering guitar, the first song on The Joshua Tree is an evocation of freedom at its most open-ended. The Edge came up with the basic track in his home studio, with the finished product growing out of a characteristically painstaking process that proved so trying, co-producer Brian Eno later said half the time recording the album was spent on that song. "We had this giant blackboard with the arrangement written on it," Daniel Lanois told Rolling Stone. "I felt like a science professor conducting them." Bono later said, "It contains a very powerful idea. You can call it 'soul' or 'imagination,' the place where you glimpse God, your potential, whatever." For its iconic video, an homage to the Beatles' final performance, the band played atop a Los Angeles liquor store, tying up traffic for hours. "It's been ripped off hundreds of times," recalled director Meiert Avis. "But the excitement comes from the rebellion; the taste of freedom lights up the fans and the band."

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