U2 “Rattle and Hum” released on 30 years ago t…

U2 “Rattle and Hum” released on 30 years ago today, October 10th, 1988. Island Records, gatefold double LP. A mix of live performances from their 1987 The Joshua Tree tour, new material (“Desire,” the lead single released from the album which hit #1 in the UK and #3 in the US and “Angel of Harlem,” U2′s tribute to Billie Holiday, went to #9 in the UK and #14 in the US) and covers meant to pay tribute to rock-n-roll legends (The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” leads off the album. Also included is Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” though I’ve always preferred Jimi Hendrix’s version). A low-budget yet big-release rockumentary movie accompanied the album. (80′s powerhouse film critics Siskel and Ebert had a split decision on the film, Ebert calling it poorly lit and monotonous while Siskel praised the music as uplifting.)

I was pretty excited when this album came out, purchasing it just after its release. However, I remember being disappointed, not appreciating its Americana flavor sprinkled with gospel choirs (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”) and the blues (“When Love Comes to Town,” a duet with B. B. King) and finding it grandiose and pretentious. A critic for the New York Times called it egotistical and embarrassing. As I listen to it now, 30 years later, I don’t think it’s necessarily embarrassing but I do agree with Allmusic’s critic Stephen Erlewine who states Rattle and Hum is U2′s “least focused record.”