U2 Charts in Six Decades: 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s and 20s!

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-09-16)

U2 reached the charts in Ireland last week with the release of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock“. The track charted on the strength of the sales of the vinyl 12-inch on the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) Singles Chart, reaching #69 on the chart. It isn’t the highest placement that U2 has ever reached on that chart, but was a strong showing for a limited release like the Record Day Single, sold in limited quantities. More exciting maybe, it means that the band has now charted in the Irish singles chart in the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s and now the 2020s. At least one single has reached the Irish Singles Chart in each of those decades.

U2’s first appearance in the charts was in 1979, when “Three” spent two weeks on the charts, peaking at #19 on November 11, 1979. The original version of “11 O’Clock Tick Tock,” released in 1980 did not place on the Irish charts at all, so this is that single’s first time on the chart. The new release charts in the September 4, 2020 chart, just two months short of 41 years after their first appearance on the chart.

The 1980s saw them reach the charts a number of times:

  • “Fire” (#4, Peaked August 16, 1981)
  • “Gloria” (#10, Peaked November 8, 1981)
  • “A Celebration” (#15, Peaked April 25, 1982)
  • “New Year’s Day” (#2, Peaked February 13, 1983)
  • “Two Hearts Beat As One” (#2, Peaked April 17, 1983)
  • “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (#2, Peaked September 23, 1984)
  • “The Unforgettable Fire” (#1, Peaked May 12, 1985)
  • “With or Without You” (#1, Peaked March 29, 1987)
  • “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (#1, Peaked June 14, 1987)
  • “Where the Streets Have No Name” (#1, Peaked September 6, 1987)
  • “Desire” (#1, Peaked September 25, 1988)
  • “Angel of Harlem” (#3, Peaked December 18, 1988)
  • “When Love Comes to Town” (#1, Peaked April 16, 1989)
  • “All I Want is You” (#1, Peaked September 9, 1989)

Why didn’t the band reach #1 sooner in the 1980s? In 1983 it was Men at Work’s “Down Under” that kept “New Year’s Day” out of the top spot. And in 1984 it was Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” that kept U2 from reaching the top spot, leaving “The Unforgettable Fire” as the band’s very first #1 single at home.

The success continued into the 1990s with a string of singles starting with “The Fly” peaking at #1 on November 16, 1991, and carrying through to “Sweetest Thing” peaking at #1 on October 22, 1998.

The 2000s started off with “Beautiful Day” coming in at #1 on October 12, 2000. The last single to chart in the decade was “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” peaking at #7 on September 10, 2009.

The 2010s saw U2 first hit the charts a number of times starting with “Ordinary Love” which peaked at #13 on December 12, 2013. “Invisible” came in at #24 on February 13, 2014 even though the song had been given away for free, and those downloads did not count towards chart performance of the song. “Every Breaking Wave” came in at #53 on October 30, 2014, and “You’re the Best Thing About Me” came in at #93 on September 22, 2017.

Charting across six decades, with 41 years of releasing music is a pretty impressive feat. Congratulations U2.

For those interested in more information about chart positions around the world, you can visit our singles discography for individual chart information from all of U2’s singles. The IRMA charts can be found online.

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