U2 90s Countdown

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2023-06-04)

U2 fans recently had a chance to pick their favourite songs of the 1990s via U2 X-Radio. The votes were taken via the station’s website, and compiled into a 20 track countdown which aired on Memorial Day weekend in the US. The choices perhaps are a little surprising. First, only songs from the three U2 albums released in the 1990s are represented here. One non-album track, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” came in the top 20 at #12. Everything else was taken from albums.

Perhaps surprising is the songs that did make the list. Missing are singles like “Staring at the Sun”, “Numb” and “Lemon” among others, and included are several tracks that didn’t get released as singles including “Zoo Station” (#19), “Dirty Day” (#13) and “Gone” (#6). The number one song on the countdown was also never released as a commercial single, “Until the End of the World” from Achtung Baby took the top spot on the countdown, beating out “Stay (Faraway So Close!)” (#2) and “One” (#3) which were the two highest placing commercial singles.

All 12 tracks from Achtung Baby made the list. Zooropa didn’t fare as well with only 3 tracks on the list. Pop did better, but barely, with 4 tracks on the list. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” was the only track not from that album that made the list.

A similar countdown was done for memorial day last year, only this time looking at the 1980s. In that countdown The Joshua Tree was the clear favourite with 7 tracks on the list, including “With Or Without You” (#1), “Where the Streets Have No Name” (#2) and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (#3) at the top of the chart. War had four tracks in the countdown, the four singles released from the album. The Unforgettable Fire had four songs on the countdown as well. Rattle and Hum had three songs on the countdown. Boy and October had one song each, “I Will Follow” (#9) and “Gloria” (#14)

The first song not widely released as a single in the 80s countdown was “Bad” at #5. (Although even that song was released in South Africa.) All of the songs in the 80s countdown were released on albums.

At the end of 2021, a similar countdown was done for the years 2000 onwards. In that case a top 22 was compiled. The first non-single was “Kite” coming in at #2. And there were several tracks included that were never released on albums including “Mercy” (#8), “Electrical Storm” (#10), “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” (#17), “Ordinary Love” (#20) and “Your Song Saved My Life” (#21).

Out of the albums All That You Can’t Leave Behind is represented the most with 6 songs. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb has five songs in the list. No Line on the Horizon, Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience all have two songs each in the countdown. Perhaps interesting to some, the first single released from each of those three most recent albums failed to make the list. No “Boots”, no “Joey Ramone”, and no “Best Thing” in the list.

We’ve got the full lists below. The 1990s countdown can be heard on U2 X-Radio now if you are a subscriber to the station.

U2 of the 1980s

1. “With or Without You”
2. “Where the Streets Have No Name”
3. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
4. “Sunday Bloody Sunday”
5. “Bad”
6. “Pride (In the Name of Love)”
7. “All I Want is You”
8. “New Year’s Day”
9. “I Will Follow”
10. “Desire”
11. “Angel of Harlem”
12. “40”
13. “The Unforgettable Fire”
14. “Gloria”
15. “Bullet the Blue Sky”
16. “A Sort of Homecoming”
17. “In God’s Country”
18. “Two Hearts Beat As One”
19. “Running to Stand Still”
20. “Red Hill Mining Town”

U2 of the 1990s

1. “Until the End of the World”
2. “Stay (Faraway So Close!)”
3. “One”
4. “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)”
5. “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses”
6. “Gone”
7. “Zooropa”
8. “The Fly”
9. “Acrobat”
10. “Mysterious Ways”
11. “So Cruel”
12. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me”
13. “Dirty Day”
14. “Mofo”
15. “Discotheque”
16. “Please”
17. “Even Better Than the Real Thing”
18. “Love is Blindness”
19. “Zoo Station”
20. “Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around the World”

U2 of the 2000s and up

1. “Beautiful Day”
2. “Kite”
3. “City of Blinding Lights”
4. “Walk On”
5. “Elevation”
6. “Vertigo”
7. “Every Breaking Wave”
8. “Mercy”
9. “Stuck in a Moment”
10. “Electrical Storm”
11. “Magnificent”
12. “The Little Things That Give You Away”
13. “Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own”
14. “Moment of Surrender”
15. “Love is Bigger Than Anything in its Way”
16. “In a Little While”
17. “The Ground Beneath Her Feet”
18. “Origin of the Species”
19. “Miracle Drug”
20. “Ordinary Love”
21. “Your Song Saved My Life”
22. “Song for Someone”

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