Atomic Bomb Reissue Details

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-03-12)

Last week we brought you news that entries on Amazon were pointing towards a reissue of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb on vinyl. We have been able to gather more information about this upcoming release, and are able to confirm a few additional details.


IMAGE: Cover Art from Amazon Listing for Re-Run How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

According to Universal, this album is a “re-run of the 2004 number 1 album by U2 on vinyl.” The album will be released on 12-inch black vinyl only, and will feature the 11 tracks from the original vinyl, as well as the 16-page booklet. The album will not be remastered in any way from the original vinyl pressing, and it will be released with the catalog number U214, which is the same catalog number the original vinyl was released under. The album will be released as a UK release on March 31, 2017, and will be considered an import in other territories.

At the same time this new pressing of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is being released, Universal is also producing a new run of War on vinyl. This is a repressing of the 2008 version of the album. The release date for War is also expected to be March 31, 2017.

After War, the next refresh of the vinyl line will be The Unforgettable Fire. That album will be pressed in April 2017, and released towards the end of the month. That is the only back-catalog pressing of U2 material expected in April.

Universal has been pressing U2 vinyl over the last couple of years to meet the growing demand of the vinyl market. Currently Universal is only keeping a handful of U2 releases in print in the vinyl format. U218 Singles has been recently reissued on vinyl, and Universal appears to be keeping copies of the remastered albums of Boy, October, War, Under a Blood Red Sky, The Joshua Tree, and The Unforgettable Fire in stock. Songs of Innocence, the most recent release, can still be found at retailers but these appear to be stock from the original pressing in 2014, and not a new version. These albums, such as War and The Unforgettable Fire re-runs coming up, are reissued as demand requires.

We spoke with Universal and we have been told that How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is the first in a attempt to get the older out-of-print albums back into print in vinyl format and that they are aware of the high demand for these. Plans are in place to follow this with All That You Can’t Leave Behind this summer if sales are expected for the re-run of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Re-runs of Zooropa and Pop would follow down the road, likely this fall. We were told the “Best Of” compilations are also under consideration but the focus would be on the albums initially.

There is no tweaking being done with the mastering of these albums, and they are being pressed using the most current vinyl masters for each album. Pressing is being carried out at a production plant in the Czech Republic. In the case of some of the current re-runs, there are small differences to be noted between the original pressing and the current one. In the case of U218 Singles the only noticeable difference on the outside is a smaller Island / Mercury logo on the back of the repressing. With The Joshua Tree, there were two pressings in 2007, one for the US (Mercury, Island, Interscope, and Universal logos) and one for the UK (Island, Interscope, UMe, and Universal logos) and the current re-run contains just the Island and Universal logos, as well as the UK catalog number. The re-runs of Boy on the other hand seems to have no noticeable exterior differences. At this point it is unknown if How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb will have different markings from the original or not.

Many of these albums have been out of print for a number of years, making them popular on the collector market. However this has also meant that bootleg copies of these albums have been pressed and sold in recent years. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb has been reported in a variety of bootleg colours including yellow, brown, and green. These coloured pressings, however, are not legitimate pressings by Universal and have not been authorized by U2 or by Universal Records. While the coloured pressings make these bootlegs easy to identify there are also reports of bootlegged versions of the album on black vinyl, which are far more difficult to distinguish from the original. We urge caution if ordering these new pressings on vinyl, as some secondary sellers using Amazon do appear to have the bootleg versions listed for sale.

The release of How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb will be March 31, 2017 in the UK, and will be released in other countries after the fact. Amazon in the USA is listing a release date, as an import, of April 28, 2017, and is now taking orders for the vinyl. Below are links to the listings in the USA and UK where the vinyl can be ordered from Amazon.

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