U2 is one of the most successful and influential rock bands in history, with a career spanning over four decades. The Irish band, comprised of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., has sold over 150 million records worldwide and won numerous awards, including 22 Grammy Awards. Their music has transcended genres and touched the hearts of millions with its anthemic and emotional sound.
With such an impressive career, it’s no surprise that U2 has produced many iconic and memorable songs. From their early post-punk days to their later arena-rock anthems, U2 has continually pushed boundaries with their music and lyrics. In this article, we will be counting down the top 10 best U2 songs of all time, taking into consideration their impact on popular culture, critical reception, and overall popularity.
Whether you’re a die-hard U2 fan or simply someone who enjoys great music, this list is sure to evoke strong emotions and memories. From the political and social commentary of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to the uplifting and hopeful “Beautiful Day,” these songs have resonated with audiences around the world for decades. Join us as we explore the top 10 best U2 songs of all time and celebrate the band’s legacy of timeless music.
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“Zooropa” by U2 is a experimental and genre-bending track that showcases the band’s willingness to take risks and push boundaries. Released in 1993 as the title track of their album “Zooropa”, the song features a trippy and atmospheric sound, with electronic beats and distorted vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of technology, consumerism, and the changing world around us. The music video for the song, directed by Kevin Godley, features the band performing on a surreal and futuristic set, with images of television screens and advertising billboards flashing in the background. “Zooropa” is a unique and innovative song that showcases U2’s creative vision and willingness to experiment with different sounds and styles.
2. The Saint’s Are Coming
“The Saints Are Coming” is a collaboration between U2 and Green Day, released in 2006 as a charity single to benefit Music Rising, an organization that helped to rebuild the music community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The song is a cover of a track originally recorded by the Scottish punk rock band The Skids in 1978, and features U2’s Bono and Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong trading vocals over a driving punk rock beat. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of social justice, political unrest, and the power of the people to effect change. The music video for the song, directed by Chris Milk, features footage of U2 and Green Day performing the song in front of a backdrop of devastation and destruction in New Orleans. “The Saints Are Coming” is a powerful and inspiring song that highlights the importance of community and solidarity in times of crisis.
3. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2 is a soulful and introspective ballad that explores the theme of spiritual yearning and the search for meaning. Released in 1987 as the second single from their album “The Joshua Tree”, the song features a simple yet powerful melody and Bono’s emotive vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of faith, doubt, and the human longing for something greater than oneself. The song became an instant hit and is considered one of U2’s most enduring and beloved tracks. The music video for the song features the band members walking down the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, interacting with people from different backgrounds and cultures. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” is a timeless classic that resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds, reminding us of the universal human quest for purpose and meaning.
4. The Fly
“The Fly” by U2 is a powerful and experimental track that showcases the band’s ability to blend rock with electronic and industrial sounds. The song was released in 1991 as the lead single from their album “Achtung Baby” and became an instant hit. It features a distorted guitar riff, a heavy drum beat, and Bono’s signature vocals that convey a sense of urgency and desperation. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of identity, fame, and the struggle to find oneself in the midst of chaos. The music video for the song, directed by Anton Corbijn, is equally powerful and visually stunning, with the band members appearing as different characters and wearing elaborate costumes. “The Fly” is considered one of U2’s most iconic songs and a masterpiece of the rock genre.
5. Beautiful Day
“Beautiful Day” by U2 is an uplifting and optimistic song that radiates positivity and joy. Released in 2000 as the lead single from their album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”, the song features a catchy guitar riff, a driving drum beat, and Bono’s powerful vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of hope, renewal, and the beauty of life. The music video for the song, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, features the band performing on a rooftop in Paris, with breathtaking views of the city in the background. “Beautiful Day” is a timeless classic that has become a staple of U2’s live shows, and a favorite among fans worldwide.
6. Where the Streets Have No Name
“Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2 is a powerful and anthemic song that has become one of the band’s most iconic tracks. Released in 1987 as the third single from their album “The Joshua Tree”, the song features a soaring guitar riff, a driving drum beat, and Bono’s passionate vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of hope, freedom, and the search for a better life. The music video for the song, directed by Meiert Avis, features the band performing on a rooftop in Los Angeles, with a massive crowd gathering below. “Where the Streets Have No Name” is considered one of U2’s greatest songs, and a testament to their ability to create powerful and uplifting music.
7. Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2 is a deeply personal and emotional song that showcases the band’s ability to create heartfelt and introspective music. Released in 2005 as the second single from their album “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”, the song features a simple yet powerful melody, a slow drum beat, and Bono’s emotive vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of family, loss, and the struggle to overcome adversity. The music video for the song, directed by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll, features the band performing in a dark and moody setting, with images of Bono’s father appearing on a television screen. “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” is a deeply moving and powerful song that has resonated with fans around the world.
“Elevation” is a high-energy and infectious track that showcases U2’s ability to create catchy and memorable songs. Released in 2001 as the third single from their album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”, the song features a driving guitar riff, a pulsing drum beat, and Bono’s soaring vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of spiritual transcendence, personal transformation, and the power of music to uplift and inspire. The music video for the song, directed by Joseph Kahn, features the band performing on a futuristic and surreal set, with Bono climbing up and down a tower of speakers. “Elevation” is a fan favorite and a staple of U2’s live shows, with its infectious energy and upbeat spirit.
“Vertigo” by U2 is a high-energy and electrifying track that showcases the band’s signature sound. Released in 2004 as the lead single from their album “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”, the song features a driving guitar riff, a pounding drum beat, and Bono’s powerful vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of disorientation, confusion, and the thrill of the unknown. The music video for the song, directed by Alex & Martin, features the band performing on a futuristic set, with psychedelic imagery and visual effects. “Vertigo” is a crowd-pleaser and a staple of U2’s live shows, with its infectious energy and catchy chorus.
10. With or Without You
“With or Without You” by U2 is a haunting and emotional ballad that showcases the band’s ability to create powerful and introspective songs. Released in 1987 as the lead single from their album “The Joshua Tree”, the song features a simple yet haunting melody, a slow drum beat, and Bono’s emotive vocals. The lyrics of the song touch upon themes of love, loss, and the complex dynamics of relationships. The music video for the song features the band performing in a dark and moody setting, with black and white imagery and dramatic lighting. “With or Without You” is considered one of U2’s most iconic songs and a masterpiece of the rock ballad genre, with its powerful emotion and timeless lyrics.
1. “Where the Streets Have No Name” – 'The Joshua Tree' (1987) U2 is a band that makes you want more and inspires you to dream bigger.What was the controversial U2 song? ›
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" has been performed more than 600 times by U2.What song is Bono embarrassed about? ›
Genuine, most of the other ones make me cringe a little bit,” he said, admitting that he's “probably proudest” of the song “Vertigo.” And it's not just the tracklist that he regrets, Bono said he was also seriously against the band's name when they first came up with it.Which song with a 3 letter title did U2 perform a 13 minute version of at live aid in 1985? ›
"Bad" is considered a fan favourite and is one of U2's most frequently performed songs in concert. The band's 12-minute performance of the song at the Live Aid charity concert in 1985 was a breakthrough moment for them.What is the biggest number one hit ever? ›
"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.What is the biggest hit ever? ›
According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.What band did U2 sue? ›
Moments earlier he had read from his script, "the Irish band from Dublin".) U2's label Island Records quickly sued Negativland, stating that placing the word "U2" on the cover violated trademark law, as did the song itself.Why did Bono call his band U2? ›
Bono is not a fan of the band name U2.
The name U2 was suggested by Steve Averill, who designs the group's album sleeves. Despite Bono's dislike for the name, U2 have carved out a pretty nice career over the past 30-plus years.
It's not often that U2's Bono and The Edge express envy over a song they wish they'd written, but on Tuesday's The Hollywood Reporter Awards Chatter podcast, hosted by Scott Feinberg, the duo threw some love at The New Radicals' 1998 pop classic “You Get What You Give,” written by frontman Gregg Alexander with Rick ...Is Bono dyslexic? ›
Bono – real name Paul Hewson – went on to admit that he's “still” doesn't like U2's band name. “I really don't. But I was late into some kind of dyslexia,” he said.
As for the songs he wishes he'd written, Bono lists: 'Brownsville Girl, Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard; Unfinished Sympathy, Massive Attack; Live Forever, Oasis; The Last Song I'll Ever Sing, Gavin Friday; Lucky Man, The Verve; Almighty Love, Emm Gryner.Do U2 band members get along? ›
Almost uniquely in rock, the four-piece line-up has remained entirely unchanged since finding success — with The Edge revealing they still take holidays together and crediting their enduring friendship with securing the band's longevity. He says: “Even when we stop touring we're still around each other quite a lot.What is U2's longest song? ›
Lemon (U2 song)Who was the best performer at Live Aid concert? ›
Queen provided magic on that summer day in 1985. Their impact was summed up by Geldof. “Queen were absolutely the best band of the day,” the Live Aid organizer said. “They played the best, had the best sound, used their time to the full.Who was the best act in Live Aid? ›
It was the performance that defined the decade. It can't be overstated how Queen's 20-minute set at Live Aid in 1985 was one of the best live performances ever. Rami Malek's Academy Award-winning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody brought the epic show back into the spotlight in 2018.What is the #1 one hit wonder? ›
|1||Los Del Rio||Macarena [Bayside Boys Mix]|
|2||Soft Cell||Tainted Love|
|3||Dexy's Midnight Runners||Come on Eileen|
|4||Right Said Fred||I'm Too Sexy|
Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever. Jackson also currently has the highest number of albums on the list with five, Celine Dion has four, while the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Madonna and Whitney Houston each have three.Who has more #1 hits than the Beatles? ›
As to be expected, due to his far greater number of total chart entries, Elvis has the advantage over The Beatles in most performance categories. Presley placed 102 titles in Billboard's top 40, while The Beatles had 50 entries that made it that far up the chart.What is the 1 song of all time? ›
|2.||"The Twist"||1960, 1961 ( re )|
|4.||"Mack the Knife"||1959|
- 'Yesterday' by The Beatles.
- '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' by The Rolling Stones.
- 'Cry Me A River' by Justin Timberlake Julie London.
- 'Imagine' by John Lennon.
- 'Over The Rainbow' by Judy Garland // 'What a Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong.
U2 front man Bono has admitted that he had considered quitting' the band in the past. The singer, 62 - real name Paul David Hewson - made the candid admission that he 'certainly thought about walking away' from the group on upcoming Disney+ documentary A Kind Of Homecoming.What was U2 original name? ›
They were originally “The Larry Mullen Band”. Then, briefly, “Feedback”. Shortly after their debut gig they became “The Hype”. But in March 1978, this fledgling post punk band from Dublin finally settled on the name U2.What religion is in U2 music? ›
Clearly what type of church you attended was of little consequence to the four boys, with Bono coming from a mixed Catholic and Anglican family, Edge and Adam Clayton being raised Protestant, and Larry who was born in to a strong Irish-Catholic family. U2 pose for the October album cover in 1981.Is Bono one of the best singers? ›
Bono and Van Morrison named in Rolling Stone's greatest singers of all time list. U2 frontman Bono and Belfast's Van Morrison were named among the greatest singers of all time in a list by music magazine Rolling Stone.What does Bona Vox mean? ›
"Bono Vox" is an alteration of Bonavox, which was the name of a hearing aid shop in Dublin. The name derives from the Latin phrase for "good voice". The nickname was given by Guggi; Bono initially disliked it but after learning of its translation, he accepted it.Why doesn t U2 perform anymore? ›
The Dubliner opened up about his increasing health concerns and the demands of life on the road in an interview with Chrissy Iley for The Sunday Times Magazine. U2 were forced to abruptly stop performing during a gig in Berlin a few weeks ago after Bono's voice failed him on stage.What was U2 first song? ›
U2's first single, 11 O'Clock Tick-Tock, was released in May 1980. Boy, their debut album, was released five months later - promoted by another single, I Will Follow , October, a year later and by May 1983, they had their first UK number 1 album with War, culmination of a trio of albums produced by Steve Lillywhite.When did U2 stop being cool? ›
In the late 1980s, U2 suffered a temporary lapse of coolness during the Rattle and Hum tour, when the group's pious tendencies turned into messianic self-indulgence.Who is the most famous dyslexic person? ›
Perhaps one of the most famous figures known to have dyslexia is Albert Einstein, a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 and has become synonymous with intelligence and wit.
Most people with dyslexia are, at least, average or above-average intelligence. Often children who fail to read and spell don't think of themselves as bright. It's very important that “dyslexic” students develop all their strengths.Who is a famous dyslexic person? ›
Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Leonardo da Vinci, and Pablo Picasso possessed some of the greatest minds and talents in history and they were dyslexic.What was Bono sorry for? ›
I apologize for wanting to make an unreasonable guitar record that rattles my cage and others.” The apology starts at 43:55 in the below video.What songs did Bono write about Ali? ›
Released in 1987 as the B-side to the hit song, "Where the Streets Have No Name," "Sweetest Thing" was written and recorded as a huge mea culpa to his wife, Alison (Ali) Hewson.Who wrote U2 Christmas song? › Is U2 a Mormon? ›
U2. U2 have consistently put their Christian faith and Biblical themes at the center of their music over the past three decades, but have never sold themselves as a Christian band.Who is the best U2 tribute band? ›
U2 2 the world's leading and original U2 Tribute Band, formed 1992 and continue to dominate the U2 tribute scene.What does Bono think of U2? ›
It is the name U2, however, that Bono said he most dislikes about his band. "In our head, it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic – as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don't like that name.Is U2 bigger than Metallica? ›
According to the music industry trade publication Pollstar, METALLICA has sold more than 22 million concert tickets since 1982, grossing more than $1.4 billion in the process. That puts the thrash legends "just behind" U2 in tickets sold, but ahead of rock peers such as AC/DC, GUNS N' ROSES and OZZY OSBOURNE.Was U2 the biggest band in the world? ›
U2 have released 15 studio albums and are one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold an estimated 150–170 million records worldwide. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and in 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
The best-selling album by U2 is THE JOSHUA TREE, which sold over 25,000,000 copies .What is considered the greatest live performance of all time? ›
- Metallica's 1991 Moscow Performance to a crowd of 1.6 Million.
- The iconic Queen at Live Aid 1985.
- Daft Punk changing the game at Coachella 2006.
- Prince with the best Super Bowl Half Time show of all time.
- Radiohead putting on one of Glastonbury's best-ever performances in 1997.
With his farewell look straight at the camera as the song ends, Mercury whispers "I still love you", directed to his fans, which are his last words on camera. Director of the video Rudi Dolezal comments, "AIDS was never a topic. We never discussed it. He didn't want to talk about it.Who refused Live Aid? ›
Although several bands reunited for the event, one band that was asked to but didn't was The Beatles. The surviving members of the band were asked to perform with Julian Lennon filling in for his late father John Lennon, but they declined.What did Elton John say about Queen at Live Aid? ›
I said, 'Freddie, nobody should go on after you – you were magnificent. ' He said: 'You're absolutely right, darling, we were – we killed them. ' He was so excited.Why did Queen sound better at Live Aid? ›
Firstly, Queen's talented sound engineer was one of the few who knew how to properly maximise the output within the limits so Queen sounded clearer and louder. Brian May was correct when he said Trip made them sound louder. Hill explains: “Trip Khalaf from Queen wasn't phased by anything.Is U2 the biggest rock band in the world? ›
U2 have released 15 studio albums and are one of the world's best-selling music artists, having sold an estimated 150–170 million records worldwide. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and in 2005, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.Why is U2 the greatest band of all time? ›
U2 is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed rock bands of all time. The Irish group has been making music for over four decades and has sold over 150 million records worldwide. The band has won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.What has the most #1 hits? ›
The Beatles have the most No. 1 hits of all time: 20. Though unclear for how long, the Beatles still reign supreme as the artist with the most No. 1 songs of all time.Who is the greatest rock band of all time? ›
- The Beatles. The Beatles are unquestionably the best and most important band in rock history, as well as the most compelling story. ...
- The Rolling Stones. ...
- U2. ...
- The Grateful Dead. ...
- Velvet Underground. ...
- Led Zeppelin. ...
- Ramones. ...
- Pink Floyd.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, British rock band The Beatles are top of the list for best-selling artists worldwide, with 183 million units certified sales.Is U2 bigger than the Beatles? ›
The Beatles are the highest-grossing band of all time, with estimated revenues of over $1.3 billion. U2 is a close second, with estimated revenues of over $1 billion.Who is the best U2 cover band? ›
Hollywood U2 – Award-winning U2 Tribute Band, pays tribute to U2's iconic career with heart, passion and soul.What is U2's best-selling single? ›
- Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me 2 355.
- Pride (In The Name Of Love) 3 251.
- With Or Without You 4 226.
- Vertigo 1 200.
- I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For 6 159.
- Desire 1 156.
- Sweetest Thing 3 142.
- Stay (Faraway, So Close) 4 141.
#1 – The Beatles
The Beatles had a short run of only 10 years from 1960 to 1970, but they're still the best-selling artists of all time by far. If you were to add in their solo albums and side groups, they'll hold that record forever.
It is the name U2, however, that Bono said he most dislikes about his band. "In our head, it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic – as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don't like that name. I still don't really like the name," he said.What band had the biggest impact on music? ›
The English rock band the Beatles are commonly regarded as the foremost and most influential band in popular music history.Who has the most #2 hits without a 1? ›
Creedence Clearwater Revival
The group has the most No. 2-peaking hits without a No. 1: five. They reached the runner-up slot with “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Green River,” “Travelin' Band/Who'll Stop the Rain” and “Lookin' Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See the Light.”
As to be expected, due to his far greater number of total chart entries, Elvis has the advantage over The Beatles in most performance categories. Presley placed 102 titles in Billboard's top 40, while The Beatles had 50 entries that made it that far up the chart.Who has had a #1 hit every decade? ›
Cher's career as a recording artist spans seven decades and she is the only artist to have a number-one single on a Billboard chart in each of the past six decades.