"In God's Country" - U2


Track Listing:

Background Information

In November, 1987 “In God’s Country” was released as the fourth single from The Joshua Tree, but in North America only. It had limited chart success and limited airplay compared to the previous three singles from the album. It did, however, manage to chart in the UK as an import single. The sleeve is similar to the other singles from The Joshua Tree, with a black-and-white photo of Bono by Anton Corbijn surrounded by black borders and gold accents. The image of Bono was the same across all formats of the single, unlike a couple of the previous singles, which used different portraits depending on the format.

The single was issued only on 7-inch vinyl in the United States, whereas the previous singles from The Joshua Tree had been available on 12-inch and cassette as well. In Canada, the single was again issued on all three formats. The 12-inch vinyl version was limited to 10,000 copies, according to various sources. All formats included the album version of “In God’s Country” along with the album versions of “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Running to Stand Still.” The lack of new material may have contributed toward the lower sales of this release compared to the previous three singles from The Joshua Tree, all of which contained a healthy amount of non-album B-side material. Later, “One Tree Hill” would be released as a single in Australia and New Zealand, using the same cover design and B-sides as “In God’s Country.”

A video, directed by Barry Devlin, was filmed for the song but was only used in the MTV-produced documentary “Outside It’s America.” Footage of Bono, decked out in denim and performing the song in a darkened room on acoustic guitar, is intercut with archival images from the 1930s and 40s of children, miners, steel factories, and soldiers in black-and-white. Additional footage includes city lights in colour and famous United States locations such as the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and Times Square. The video concludes with Bono in a black leather hat and vest singing the song in what appears to be a deserted manufacturing facility. The other members of U2 do not appear in the video. The clip by itself has never been collected on any U2 compilation to date, although the complete “Outside It’s America” documentary was included on the DVD accompanying the super deluxe reissue of The Joshua Tree in 2007.

In a concert setting, “In God’s Country” debuted during The Joshua Tree Tour and was played on most of the dates. It has appeared in the live set infrequently since that time, being played in full at only four LoveTown shows and appearing as a brief snippet at four others. It would not appear again until 2001’s Elevation Tour, during which it was performed in full at two concerts and appeared as a short snippet at two others. Brief snippets also were performed during two shows on The U2360° Tour and it was performed in full just once on The Innocence and Experience Tour. In 2017 the song did appear every night during The Joshua Tree 2017 tour. The imagery of the lyrics, inspired by the desert in the southwestern United States, often compels to the band to include a bit of the song at concerts in Nevada and Arizona (in the same way “Spanish Eyes” is sometimes pulled out of the vaults for shows in Spain). A live version of the song from July 4, 1987 in Paris was released on the Live from Paris digital album and the DVD of that same show included with the super deluxe reissue of The Joshua Tree. The performance from November 8, 1987 in Denver, CO was released on the “Excerpts from Rattle and Hum” promotional CD, and can also be seen in the Rattle and Hum movie. It was not, however, included on the commercial Rattle and Hum album.

“In God’s Country” has not appeared on any U2 compilation albums, but it can be found on a 1990 US-only commercial single from Island Records’ short-lived “Island Treasures” series. It has also been included on a number of promo-only collections, including “U2 2 Date,” “Previously,” and the “WFM 96.9” promo CD from Mexico.

Liner Notes

In God’s Country:
Written by U2. Produced by Lanois / Eno. Recorded by Pat McCarthy / Flood. Mix Engineered by Dave Meegan.

Bullet the Blue Sky:
Written by U2. Produced by Lanois / Eno. Recorded by Flood. Assisted by Pat McCarthy. Mixed by Steve Lillywhite. Mix Engineered by Mark Wallis.

Running to Stand Still:
Additional rhythm guitar: Daniel Lanois.
Written by U2. Produced by Lanois / Eno. Recorded by Flood. Assisted by Pat McCarthy. Mix Engineered by Dave Meegan.


Photography by Anton Corbijn.
Design and layout by Steve Averill.
Artwork by The Creative Dept. Ltd., Dublin

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