Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- The Unforgettable Fire

Unlike the Greg Kihn Band, after their successful 1983 album, “War,” followed by a successful live album, U2 didn’t vanish into obscurity. Maybe Greg Kihn should have released a live album. That’s all hindsight anyway. What is history is the fact that U2 followed up their success with the really cool album, “The Unforgettable Fire.”

I don’t think I’ve said this in previous posts about U2 but the one thing their music definitely did was appeal to Metalhead and Duranie alike. For those who don’t know, a Duranie is someone who was into Duran Duran and similar type music. Those people listened to U2 and did not feel that they were going too weird in their music tastes while Metalheads could do the same without any feeling of selling out and going mainstream. “The Unforgettable Fire” album continues this trend for the band as both of those groups bought this album up.

Reading the history behind the making of the album, the band has said that they were trying to steer a different direction with it as they didn’t want to be labeled as another arena rock band. Let me be totally honest here, I have never heard anything different in the sound of “The Unforgettable Fire” than what they had accomplished with their previous three studio albums. What U2 had been able to do very well with all four of their albums to date was make different sounding songs without having to change their overall style. I have always believed it was a case of more of this with the fourth album.

With “The Unforgettable Fire” the hits come out straight away, probably because I heard the first single, “Pride in the Name of Love” on the radio before I bought the album. History states that the single was released first so that’s probably why. Still, it ranks up their among my favourite U2 songs of all time. The second single, “Bad” is the second single released and that stands out as well while at the same time, you know it’s a good U2 song. I could never fathom why the title track never charted in North America as it’s a really cool track as well. If anything, I would rate it above “Bad.” But if you know me by now, albums aren’t about the singles on them and there has to be some hidden gem in the album. For me, that track is “Wire.” If I had my way, that would have been released as a single. I like the little guitar lick The Edge uses at the beginning before it goes into a good rocking song. In fact, The Edge shows his guitar skills all through the song. Actually, “Indian Summer Sky” is a really good song and that’s what you need for a good album.

The other thing which definitely appealed to me back in 1984 was U2’s use of politics in their music. This continues with this album, especially as two songs are dedicated to the late Martin Luther King Jr, one of them being the first single. “Bad” was about heroin addiction and the idea for the title track came when the band was visiting the war museum in Hiroshima, Japan. Put these things in with the music on the album and it’s no wonder why I liked it so much.

Track Listing:

  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


Bono- lead vocals,

The Edge- guitars, keyboards, backing vocals

Adam Clayton- bass

Larry Mullen Jr- drums

New feature: Seeing what has been done on other blogs and now that I know that I don’t have to pay WordPress ridiculous amounts of money for the privilege, with every album post, I will include a track from said album. Typical me, last on the bandwagon. In this case, since I have sung the praises of the track “Wire,” it will be featured here.

Heavy metal was going strong in 1984, so was U2. This album is clear evidence of that fact.

Next post: Steve Perry- Street Talk

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12 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1984: U2- The Unforgettable Fire”

  1. Thanks for this post, and you hit the nail on the head, this is the U2 album that really did appeal to both the rockers as well as the new wavers. I love this album, moreso than The Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby. It’s the atmospherics, the rhythm section, Edge’s one-man wall of guitar, and damn, that singing. Bono’s voice never sounded so creamy and golden. I even like the outtakes like Three Sunrises and Love Comes Tumbling, hell, even the Boomerang tracks sound cool (rhythm section FTW). I was around 5 years old when The Unforgettable Fire was released. And to this day I still remember it playing on my dad’s stereo in the living room. The rock station back then was KKDJ out of Fresno. I got to hear “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes and Van Halen’s “Jump” on that station as a kid and was so damn cool. And then I heard “Pride.” I remember that guitar intro and soaring chorus. My little eyes bugged out even then. Years later as a preteen I actually began buying albums on CD and I finally had to get The Unforgettable Fire. My other first CD purchases included Van Halen’s F*CK album, Queensryche’s Empire as well as Michael Jackson’s Dangerous lol. That shows you where my tastes were at the time. But man, there’s something about The Unforgettable Fire, the music, the cover art, the colors. I have the poster of the 25th anniversary remastered release hanging in my drum room. Wonderful piece of rock and U2 history. They say that Miles Davis was listening to this album as he passed away…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miles Davis listening to this album as he passed away says it all. That station sounded like it played some really cool music. That’s good because by the end of 1984, commercial radio started to suck and it was getting more difficult to find a suitable one. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a big enough fan to start a U2 collection. But if I was, this post would have sold me on Unforgettable Fire!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great write-up, fella. I haven’t listened to this in a long time, but it’s a belter. Regretting not picking this up on vinyl when I saw it a few weeks back.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. One of my favourite U2 albums! Great write-up. And Wire is a great track.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve ever heard this album. I quite like U2 as well. Loved the cover art though.

    Liked by 1 person

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