U2: Zooropa turns 25


Today (Friday) marks the 25th anniversary of the North American release of Zooropa by U2.

Due to the differences in release schedules in different parts of the world that existed at the time, the band's eighth studio album came out a day earlier in Britain, Ireland and many other places.

Many publications are offering assessments and info celebrating the album turning a quarter century old, including Rolling Stone, which calls its piece Zooropa: 10 Things You Didn't Know. So what are they?

  1. The original idea was for an EP to help them push their Zoo TV tour.
  2. For the first time, U2 used samples and loops to build the songs, but they made their own rather than take them from other artists' works.
  3. Because one of their producers, Daniel Lanois, was busy touring behind his own album, The Edge took his place, earning his first production credit on a U2 album in the process.
  4. The song "Numb" samples audio from the 1935 Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, while actual footage from it was used on the screens during U2's Zoo TV tour.
  5. The song "Stay (Faraway So Close)" was an Achtung Baby sessions outtake that began as a tribute to the spirit of Frank Sinatra. It ended up in the Wim Wenders film Faraway, So Close and its soundtrack album, as well as on Zooropa.
  6. Johnny Cash does backiground vocals on the song "The Wanderer." He recorded his parts in Dublin even before his Rick Rubin-produced comeback album, American Recordings.
  7. The album cover features, "Astrobaby," who first appeared on the cover of their previous album, Achtung Baby. Rolling Stone points out that it is "laid over a collage of distorted images of European leaders," including Lenin, Mussolini and Ceaușescu.
  8. The album cover unintentionally includes three tracks they recorded for Zooropa, but left off it. “Wake Up Dead Man” and “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” would find their way onto U2's next album, Pop, while  “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” would be the first single off the Batman Forever soundtrack.
  9. Although Zooropa won the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 1994, Bono wasn't totally happy about it when he picked up their award at the ceremony. Rolling Stone explains that he thought it was worthy of the overall Album of the Year consideration, but it wasn't even nominated.
  10. David Bowie praised them for being one of the few forward looking rock bands at the time.

In its look at Zooropa, Billboard points out that maybe Bowie -- and, more importantly, U2 got that future wrong. "Listening to the album 25 years later is like glimpsing a tomorrow that never arrived. “Zeerust” is what the British humorists Douglas Adams and John Lloyd called it: “The particular kind of datedness which afflicts things that were originally designed to look futuristic.”

U2 finished its U.S. Experience and Innocence Tour in Uncasville, Connecticut on Tuesday. They posted on their website: "'God bless America. The country that gave us Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness To the country that gave us Elvis Presley, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin...Get out of your own way...' We started out in Tulsa in early May and thirty shows later we finished up tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.'Thank you for letting us into your life America. We love you America…'

The band will tour Europe from August 31st through November 10th.

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