"The Best of 1980 - 1990 & B-Sides" - U2
Track Listing (Disc One):
- "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (Studio Version) - U2 (03:50)
- "New Year's Day" (Special Mix) - U2 (04:19)
- "With or Without You" (Studio Version) - U2 (04:55)
- "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (Studio Version) - U2 (04:37)
- "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (Studio Version) - U2 (04:39)
- "Bad" (Best Of Edit) - U2 (05:52)
- "Where the Streets Have No Name" (Best Of Edit) - U2 (04:36)
- "I Will Follow" (Studio Version) - U2 (03:37)
- "The Unforgettable Fire" (Studio Version) - U2 (04:55)
- "Sweetest Thing" (Single Mix) - U2 (03:03)
- "Desire" (Studio Version) - U2 (02:59)
- "When Love Comes to Town" (Best Of Version) - U2 and B.B.King (04:18)
- "Angel of Harlem" (Studio Version) - U2 (03:49)
- "All I Want is You" (Studio Version) - U2 (06:30)
- "October" (Studio Version) - U2 (02:21)
Track Listing (Disc Two):
- "The Three Sunrises" (Best Of Version) (03:55) - U2
- "Spanish Eyes" (Studio Version) (03:16) - U2
- "Sweetest Thing" (Studio Version 1987) (03:04) - U2
- "Love Comes Tumbling" (Best Of Edit - False Start) (04:42) - U2
- "Bass Trap" (Studio - Best of Edit) (03:33) - U2
- "Dancing Barefoot" (Studio Version - Long) (04:48) - U2
- "Everlasting Love" (Studio Version) (03:21) - U2
- "Unchained Melody" (Studio Version) (04:56) - U2
- "Walk to the Water" (Studio Version) (04:49) - U2
- "Luminous Times (Hold on to Love)" (Studio Version) (04:35) - U2
- "Hallelujah (Here She Comes)" (Best Of Edit) (04:02) - U2
- "Silver and Gold" (Studio Version) (04:38) - U2
- "Endless Deep" (Studio Version) (02:58) - U2
- "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel" (Best Of Edit) (04:34) - U2
- "Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl" (Studio) (02:35) - U2
- "One Tree Hill" (Studio Version) (05:22) - U2
In September 1998 it was announced that U2 had signed a new deal with PolyGram, earning them more than $50 million in advances. The deal allowed Island Records to release three compilation albums by U2 with the first going on sale only a few short months later in November 1998. This first release was announced on September 9, 1998. That release was “The Best of 1980 – 1990”, a collection of songs chosen by U2 to best represent their work from that decade. The other two albums covered under the deal were “The Best of 1990 – 2000” and “U218 Singles”.
On September 21, 1998, Island Records announced not just one collection, but a second collection would occur. They announced that for the first week of sale, a two-disc set would be made available with a second disc compiling b-sides from 1980 – 1990. This set together would be titled “The Best of & B-Sides 1980 – 1990”. The press release mentioned that the double disc set would be a one time only limited edition release, and they would only take orders for it for a limited time and once stores ran out of what they had ordered they would be unable to reorder. And from the second week of sale onward, they would only make the one disc version available. In 2002 a number of countries repressed the double CD version, thus no longer making it a limited release for these countries.
In need of a new single to promote “The Best of 1990 – 2000”, U2 went into the studio with producer Steve Lillywhite at Dublin Hannover Quay studio. They returned to the song “Sweetest Thing” which had been used as a b-side to 1987’s “Where the Streets Have No Name”, and recorded a new version of the song. On September 20, 1998, U2 would film a video for the single in Dublin.
“The Best of & B-Sides 1980 – 1990” was released on November 3 in most countries, and the following day, November 4 in North America.
Due to elevated prices on domestic CD releases, an added bonus track was added to the release in Japan to make the domestic release more attractive than the cheaper import versions. For this compilation, “One Tree Hill” was added at the end of the first disc of the set. As well, even though not mentioned on the back cover, “October” was included as a hidden track at the end of the album. After “All I Want is You” finishes playing, there is a period of blank space and then “October” starts to play as part of the same track. In Brazil, and Canada, the two disc set was numbered upon release playing up on the limited edition aspect of this release, however, it is known that in Canada 175,000 units of the double set were pressed for sale. The limited edition version with the B-Sides was only issued on CD, although cassette and 12-inch vinyl copies of the single disc set were available.
There are a number of different edits of songs included on this set, on both the main disc and the b-sides disc. “Bad” is an edit of the version found on the album “The Unforgettable Fire”. This version drops several of the “whooo hooo hooos” found in the original version. “Where the Streets Have No Name” is an edit of the version found on “The Joshua Tree” which was 05:37 on that release but is 04:35 here. “When Love Comes to Town” is slightly longer in length than the version found on “Rattle and Hum”, this is because the song features an extra guitar lick that you can hear at the end of the song.
On the b-sides disc, “The Three Sunrises” is longer than the version found on “The Unforgettable Fire” single and this is due to a longer fade-in to the song. “Bass Trap” is a large edit of the original track, taking the song from 05:13 to 03:31. “Hallelujah Here She Comes” (04:00 instead of 04:12) and “A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel” (04:32 instead of 05:30) are both edits of the tracks originally found on singles. And “Love Comes Tumbling” contains the false start that was found on the original single version, however it edits out a couple of beats from the introduction to the song shortening it overall by a few seconds.
The cover of the compilation features an unused photo outtake from the photos shot for the cover of “War”. In the photo, family friend Peter Rowen is seen for his third album cover, having also appeared on the cover of “Boy” and “War” as well as a number of singles. Here, Rowen is seen wearing an army helmet. The photo is surrounded by a gold border, with the titles of the album. A similar layout was used for “The Best of 1990 – 2000” but in that case they used silver in place of the gold.
In the US the double disc reached number 2 in the Billboard 200 album charts, and in Canada it charted at number 1. The single disc, released the following week, charted independently and reached number 4 in the Billboard 200 charts, and number 5 in Canada. In the UK the chart of both albums was combined, and this release reached number one upon release. The release in the US represented the biggest first week sales of any compilation in the US since sales figures had been accurately tracked by Soundscan. In the UK the chart of both albums was combined, and this release reached number one upon release.
On May 11, 1999 U2 would also release a video titled “The Best of 1980 – 1990” on VHS and video CD (Released July 27 in the USA). This video would contain a number of videos from this compilation.
Bono: Vocals and guitar. The Edge: Guitar, keyboards and vocals. Adam Clayton: Bass guitar. Larry Mullen: Drums and percussion. Paul McGuinness: Manager. Principle Management Dublin and New York. Sheila Roche and Candida Bottaci, Album Production Managers. all tracks have been digitally remastered from original master tapes where possible by Arnie Acosta at The Mastering Lab, Los Angeles. Audio post production manager and Technical Guru: Cheryl Engels at Partial Productions Inc.
Designed at ABA Dublin. Cover photography by Ian Finlay. Back Cover photography by Anton Corbijn. Inside photography by Anton Corbijn, Colm Henry, Hugo McGuinness and Robert Kythe Kortekaas.
Related Promotional Videos
- 1998-11-14 U2’s Best of’ Highest Greatest Hits Debut by any Band in the History of SoundScan(R) (CNN)
- 1998-11-09 U2 The Best of 1980-1990: Island releases U2’s first retrospective album and new single (PolyGram)
- 1998-11-08 Best Of #1 Album of All Time in Ireland (Freeserve Entertainment News)
- 1998-10-30 Interview with The Edge (CMJ)
- 1998-10-22 ET Spotlight: The Best of U2 (Entertainment Tonight)
- 1998-10-06 Bono Explains “Sweetest Thing” As Boyzone-Flavored Video Debuts (MTV Online)
- 1998-09-21 ‘U2: The Best of 1980-1990 & B-Sides’ CD Track Listing Announced ('U2: The Best of 1980-1990 & B-Sides' CD Track Listing Announced)
- 1998-09-20 Tills to Rattle and Hum Again for U2 (The Sunday Times)
- 1998-09-11 Details on The Best of 1980 - 1990 (U2News)
- 1998-09-09 U2: The Best of 1980-1990; Island Releases U2’s First Retrospective Album & New Single (U2: The Best of 1980-1990; Island Releases U2's First Retrospective Album & New Single)