After a string of hit singles, a spotlight-stealing set at Live Aid and a triumphant Amnesty International tour with the Police, Peter Gabriel and Lou Reed, U2 were suddenly one of the hottest bands on the planet. Some groups wilt under that pressure, but U2 were determined to write a series of songs that lived up to the hype.
With the help of producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, they created The Joshua Tree, an album that took over the entire planet in 1987. "Where the Streets Have No Name" might be the single greatest stadium rock song ever recorded, while "With or Without You" is the best prom song of the decade. "Bullet the Blue Sky" is a brutal condemnation of Ronald Reagan's foreign policy in South America, while "The Mothers of the Disappeared" is a mournful ode to the young men tortured and killed during Augusto Pinochet's brutal reign in Chile. These are some serious topics, but they caught on in a huge way and U2 suddenly found themselves on the cover of Time magazine.