An unprecedented number of U2’s previous albums have now entered iTunes’ album chart since the new record’s launch. Earlier this week, 24 of the band’s titles had reached the top 200, and the U218 singles album struck the top 10 in 46 countries. The Joshua Tree from 1987, 1991’s Achtung Baby, 1983’s War and two versions of the singles collection are currently in the U.S. top 50, with 1988’s Rattle and Hum and 1984’s The Unforgettable Fire following close behind.
The Irish rockers released Songs of Innocence, their first album in five years, in partnership with Apple as the tech giant unveiled its new iPhone 6 last week. Apple promoted the record by delivering it free to anyone with iTunes, instantly reaching half a billion customers in the largest album release in history.
It’s fitting that the new album’s launch should trigger a renewed interest in U2’s earlier work, since much of Songs of Innocence concerns itself with biographical origins and the band’s primordial influences. “We wanted to make a very personal album,” Bono told Rolling Stone in an exclusive interview before the release. “Let’s try to figure out why we wanted to be in a band, the relationships around the band, our friendships, our lovers, our family. The whole album is first journeys — first journeys geographically, spiritually, sexually. And that’s hard. But we went there.”