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Boomer Anthems: Where The Streets Have No Name

At 7th and Main in downtown Los Angeles the streets do have names and (after a very long intro) those that say they don’t are BUSTED!

Prior to filming, a week was spent reinforcing the roof of the liquor store to ensure it would not collapse if it were to be intruded by a group of fans. A backup generator was put on the roof so the shooting could continue in the event that the authorities shut off the power on the primary generator, which happened during filming.

The depiction of the police attempting to shut down the filming due to safety concerns actually happened during filming, just as seen in the video. Hamlyn was almost arrested following a confrontation with the police. According to Avis, the events depicted in the video show what actually happened that day “almost in real time”, and that “getting busted was an integral part of the plan.”

Producer Brian Eno estimated that the recording of this song absorbed over 40% of the time spent on The Joshua Tree. Eno became so frustrated trying to mix the track that he almost destroyed the tape and started over. According to the co-producer Daniel Lanois, the assistants never followed Eno’s frustrated instructions to wipe the tape. Daniel Lanois recalled to Mojo magazine January 2008 about the song’s tricky birth: “It was a bit of a tongue-twister for the rhythm section, with strange bar lengths that got everybody in a bad mood. I can remember pointing at a blackboard, walking everybody through the changes like a science teacher.

Bono (from Propaganda 5, 1987): “Where the Streets Have No Name is more like the U2 of old than any of the other songs on the LP, because it’s a sketch – I was just trying to sketch a location, maybe a spiritual location, maybe a romantic location. I was trying to sketch a feeling. I often feel very claustrophobic in a city, a feeling of wanting to break out of that city and a feeling of wanting to go somewhere where the values of the city and the values of our society don’t hold you down. An interesting story that someone told me once is that in Belfast, by what street someone lives on you can tell not only their religion but tell how much money they’re making – literally by which side of the road they live on, because the further up the hill the more expensive the houses become. That said something to me, and so I started writing about a place where the streets have no name.”

Where The Streets Have No Name by U2 – Songfacts

I want to run, I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside
I wanna reach out and touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see that dust cloud disappear without a trace
I wanna take shelter from the poison rain
Where the streets have no name, oh oh
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name

We’re still building then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there, I go there with you
It’s all I can do

The city’s a flood
And our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled into dust
I’ll show you a place
High on the desert plain
Where the streets have no name, oh oh
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name

We’re still building then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there, I go there with you
It’s all I can do

Our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind

Oh and I see love
See our love turn to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Blown by the wind

Oh when I go there
I go there with you
It’s all I can do

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Gordon Scott February 8, 2019, 9:12 AM

    Bluffing intimidating cops gonna bluff and intimidate. “We have the authority….” Of course this was LAPD 1987, who were not known for their gentle manner or devotion to the Constitution.

    Now if our rockers had integrity, they would have continued to play until hauled away in handcuffs, on acoustic instruments if necessary. But they got their shots and the publicity, so they walked away when ordered.

  • ghostsniper February 8, 2019, 10:22 AM

    My cousin and I used to laugh about the guitar players in U2 and the Police in that they play the same things in all their songs. The guitar parts all sound the same. Specially that Edge cat, jayziss. He only plays the bottom 3 strings. ever. If you listen to the guitars by themselves you can’t name the songs.
    Question: Is that “New Years Day” or “With Or Without You”?
    Answer: Both! Yayyyyy!!!

    So there ya go. Get a cheap guitar, only ever play the bottom 3 strings, and then run out and do U2 covers across the land. Even with just that measly cadre of chords you’ll still sound better than most anything else that been produced in the past 20 years.

    Funny, the other night on Jeopardy one of the category’s was “Number one songs of the past 20 years” and neither my wife nor I had ever heard of any of them, band/singer or song name. I had my tablet laying there so I looked up a couple of them and I’m glad I hadn’t previously heard of them. Just looking them up made me feel dumb. So dumb that I involuntarily started openly groping myself and shouting curse words about bitches and hoe’s.

  • H February 9, 2019, 3:40 AM

    Amen, Ghost. P.T. Barnum is alive and well and working furiously in the alleged “music industry”.

    The next album Blood, Sweat and Tears did after David Clayton Thomas left had the song “Over the Hill” which contained this line “music plays and peace is made for someone else”.

  • The Count February 9, 2019, 6:15 PM

    Seriously ghost- give it a rest. Why do you feel the need to crap over everything every single day? Where do you find the time? The quality of the comments have gone way down here since you showed up. Constant negativity is not wisdom sir. When I don’t have something positive to contribute I tend not to say anything. Try it sometime. I think you have some interesting things to offer from time to time. But mostly spleen. Maybe something is lost in this format. But you come across as a negative self absorbed bore. Now I’ll continue…

    I haven’t listened to U2 much in recent years. Bono tends to get on my nerves. But I have to say, that tour was some exciting times. I was a freshman at USC just a few blocks away when this all went down and by the time I found out about it, it was all over. Still we had another chance- when they played at the Colosseum they picked my good friend out of the crowd to go up and play on “People Get Ready”. He doesn’t remember it, I do. The feeling of seeing that happen at the height of their success was one of the headiest emotions I ever experienced. Seeing this reminds me of it a bit.

    They were such a phenomenon. Nothing else has really seemed as big since, maybe because people’s tastes are more and more fractured and specific. Then again my taste for arena rock has dwindled in my advanced years. And my ability to afford it.

    I’m surprised you would include this in your Boomer Anthems Gerard. I consider them pure Gen-X and many boomers tend to hate them.

    It’s hard to get past the music you loved when you were in college. Why is that? Must be wrapped up in the sense of identity that forms at that time and rarely modifies beyond it.

    Thanks again for all the Good Stuff Gerard. I’ve been reading you for like 15 years but rarely comment- I don’t know why but please know how dear you are to me!

  • Millie Woods February 10, 2019, 12:59 PM

    Loved U2. 2Bad Bono turned into an insufferable wanker, that’s English for jackoff.

    I’m a late boomer.

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