November 19, 1991 – Achtung Baby

This Day in U2 History


Achtung Baby was released on November 19, 1991. I was very excited for the release of Achtung Baby as I was now old enough at 19 to finally go to a U2 concert. My mom wouldn’t let me go to the Joshua Tree tour because I was only 14. But I was even more excited to finally have new U2 music. I just discovered U2 in 1987, so I had been devouring Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum, Under a Blood Red Sky, Unforgettable Fire, October, War and Boy for the past four years (well three years for Rattle and Hum). So with all this excitement and anticipation, I put Achtung Baby on and hated it. It was just SO different from anything U2 had ever done, SO different from what I had been constantly listening to the past four years. But I don’t give up on my boys, so I listened to it again and again and again. By about the tenth listen, I fell in love with Achtung Baby. It is now my second favorite U2 album. I say second, even though it’s technically third behind The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum, but I consider Rattle and Hum The Joshua Tree part two.

What turned me around were the lyrics. When I got past the oh so different music of Achtung Baby, and it was really different, I realized the lyrics were just as powerful, if not more so, than the previous U2 albums I had loved so much. And for me it’s all about the lyrics – and drums. “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” is my favorite song off Achtung Baby and one of my top five favorite U2 songs ever. It is a very emotional and angry song. In fact, I made my first love sit down and listen to the lyrics as I read them to him after he had broken up with me. If I could have written a song about us, “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” would have been it.

Other favorites of mine off Achtung Baby are “One,” “So Cruel,” “Acrobat,” and “Tryin to Throw Your Arms Around the World,” but really all the songs are my favorites. I can’t pick a bad one. There is not one that I skip – now. I didn’t really appreciate the hits “Mysterious Ways,” “The Fly” or “Even Better Than the Real Thing” until much later. I started to love “Mysterious Ways” as it was played live on the Elevation Tour and again on the 360 Tour when Larry’s drum kit would turn around and face the back of the stage where I standing. It was like he was playing just to me – haha. I started to love “Even Better Than the Real Thing” (my least favorite on Achtung Baby) when U2 opened with it on the last last leg of the 360 Tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of Achtung Baby. When Bono would yell out “Achtung Y’all!” during “The Fly” just as he did on the ZooTv tour, I went insane as it brought back all those great memories of the my first U2 tour.

cropped-1a-me-and-bono-1992.jpgAchtung Baby also means so much to me because it was the music of my first U2 tour, ZooTv. This was the start of my musical journey “On the Road with U2.” I was almost 20 and drove up and down the East Coast going to eight shows on the ZooTv tour: Hampton VA, Philadelphia, Hershey PA, two shows at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, two shows in Washington DC, and back to Philadelphia again. U2 has never played “Acrobat” in concert, but I heard it siting outside the stadium in Hershey, PA as U2 rehearsed for the ZooTv Outside Broadcast Tour. It was also on this tour outside Giants Stadium when I met Bono for the first time. He hugged me and put his head on my shoulder (he’s quite short you know) for a fantastic photograph I still treasure today and now use as my profile pic. Achtung Baby was also the start of “it’s all about drums” – one of my favorite quotes that I have repeated constantly over the past 20 years. The first time I ever heard it was on the Achtung Baby documentary when Larry said, “I don’t think the lyrics are worth a shit to be honest if you ask me, I think it’s all about drums.” The album cover for Achtung Baby ranks fourth for me mainly because I have been looking for those U2 rings since 1991 – and finally found them. I love the collage of pictures. It reminds me of the ZooTv tour and everything about that era. I definitely love Achtung Baby for the nostalgia factor as well the great songs.

This is how I have ranked the songs of Achtung Baby on a scale from 1 to 10:


Zoo Station………………………..= 9/10
Even Better Than The Real…..= 8/10
One………………………………….= 10/10
Until The End Of The World …..= 8/10
Who’s Gonna Ride Your W….. = 10/10
So Cruel …………………………….= 10/10
The Fly……………………………….= 9/10
Mysterious Ways……………….= 9/10
Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms……= 9/10
Ultraviolet……………………………= 9/10
Acrobat………………………………= 10/10
Love Is Blindness………………..= 9/10

Average…………………………… = 9.2

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