Where The Streets Have No Name by U2
Released in late August 1987, this was the third single from their monster breakthrough album, The Joshua Tree. It reached #13 on the US charts and is one of their signature live songs.
The song is based around a repeating, delayed guitar part that guitarist, The Edge, called the best guitar part he'd ever written. The song itself proved to be very difficult to record, so much so, that at one point the record producer arranged to "accidentally" erase the recordings so the band would have to start over. The studio engineer intervened and the band pressed on with the recordings. The band felt that they'd recorded a decent enough version of the song to include on the album but if you've ever seen U2 live, this is only about 20% of what this song can be.
The video was filmed in downtown Los Angeles in an area that isn't really the best venue for live music....on top of a liquor store on the corner of 7th and main St. The morning of the video shoot, several local DJ's had promoted the event and had made wild predictions about the size of the crowds, even reaching the ridiculous number of 30,000 people. As the time to begin filming approached, only about 1,000 people had arrived but even that number was enough to fill up all the sidewalks across the street from the liquor store. The police, fearful that huge crowds were only moments away from arriving, decided to shut down the filming......the band and the video crew started playing and filming anyway.
Unlike what is depicted in the video, the band was able to play eight songs (including 4 full versions of Where The Streets Have No Name) because the police allowed the filming to continue for fear that the crowd would turn into a mob if they didn't get to see something being filmed. Eventually, Bono encouraged the crowd to cross the street and block off traffic and that caused the police to cut the power.....except.....the band had anticipated that happening and had set up an emergency generator on the roof so they could continue playing. Bono had hoped to be arrested and pulled off the roof in handcuffs in a classic Rockstar moment but when an officer arrived on the roof, the band just walked back away from the edge and the filming ended.
One of my favorite parts of the video is the guitar that Edge uses.....
…....I have a copy of the same guitar in the exact same color. Mine will never sound as good as his and I'm still miles away from writing the best guitar part in my life. I'm not jealous....he's got real talent.