"One Tree Hill" - U2


Track Listing:

Background Information

In most territories, three singles were released in 1987 to promote The Joshua Tree. In North America, a fourth single was issued in November of that year, “In God’s Country.” And in March of 1988, a final single, “One Tree Hill,” would be released—but only in Australia and New Zealand. It was issued by Island Records’ associated label for that region, Festival. Both countries saw the single in 7-inch format, with New Zealand getting a cassette version as well.

With the exception of the song title, the sleeve for “One Tree Hill” was almost identical to the sleeve for “In God’s Country”—a black-and-white photo of Bono surrounded by black borders and gold accents, in the same style as the previous singles as well as that of The Joshua Tree album itself. The single included the album version of “One Tree Hill,” as well as the album versions of “Bullet the Blue Sky” and “Running to Stand Still”—the same B-sides issued with “In God’s Country.” The back sleeve of the single included the added text “To the Memory of Greg Carroll 1960-1986” (this same dedication is found in the liner notes to The Joshua Tree album). Greg Carroll was a native New Zealander (from the Maori tribe) who worked as Bono’s personal assistant. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin in 1986 while working for the band. His death was the inspiration for Bono’s lyrics to “One Tree Hill.” The title of the song is a reference to a peak just outside of Auckland, New Zealand that is an important memorial place for the Maori people. The song debuted on the New Zealand charts on March 20, 1988 at number 4 and then spent six weeks at number 1.

No video was filmed for “One Tree Hill” at the time of release. However, a local television station, TVNZ, did compile some footage of U2 with Greg Carroll and combined it with scenic footage from New Zealand, including shots of One Tree Hill. As this wasn’t an official video commissioned by the band, it has never been commercially released. On the video compilation The Best of 1980-1990 there was a video included for “One Tree Hill,” however. It incorporated black-and-white footage shot by Phil Joanou for the movie Rattle and Hum that did not make the final cut of the film. The footage was shot during U2’s performance at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on December 19, 1987.

“One Tree Hill” has never been a staple of U2’s live repetoire. During The Joshua Tree Tour it was performed only 17 times. For The LoveTown Tour, it was played 19 times, or at 40 percent of the shows. It was not played live again until brief snippets were sung during two performances in New Zealand during The Zoo TV Tour in 1993. Then, in 2006 on The Vertigo Tour, it was played in full both nights in Auckland and also twice in Saitama, Japan. The song was again played in full during The U2360° Tour, at both shows in Auckland, NZ, as well as at one show each in Santiago, Chile and Chicago, IL. The song did not appear on the Innocence + Experience tour, but would return for The Joshua Tree 2017 tour, where it was played every night. A live version of “One Tree Hill” recorded during The LoveTown Tour in Dublin, Ireland on December 31, 1989 was included on the Love: Live from the Point Depot album that was part of The Complete U2 digital release. And a live performance from Mt. Smart Stadium in Auckland, NZ on November 26, 2010—during which Bono again dedicated the song to the memory of Greg Carroll and gave a shout-out to members of his family, who were in the audience that night—was included on the fan club 2CD live album U22. The 22 songs on this release, out of a possible 46 recorded during The U2360° Tour, were selected by popular vote by members of the U2.com fan club.

“One Tree Hill” has not appeared on any widely available U2 compilation to date, although it was included as a bonus track on the CD, 2-CD, and LP versions of The Best of 1980-1990 in Japan.

Liner Notes

One Tree Hill:
Radd Strings recorded by Bob Doidge. Played by the Armin Family (Richard Armin, Adele Armin, Paul Armin).
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. Dublin

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