U2 – ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’
  • Writers: U2
  • Producers: Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois
  • Recorded: 1986 at Adam Clayton’s house, Windmill Lane Studios, the Edge’s house, and S.T.S., all in Dublin, Ireland
  • Released: March 1987 (album), May 1987 (single)
  • Players:
    Bono — lead vocal
    The Edge — guitar, backing vocal
    Adam Clayton — bass
    Larry Mullen, Jr. — drums
    (possibly Eno and/or Lanois on guitars)
  • Album: The Joshua Tree (Island, 1987)
  • Also On:
    Rattle And Hum (Island, 1988)
    Best Of 1980-1990 (Island, 1998)
  • “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was the second single from U2‘s The Joshua Tree. Both it and “With Or Without You” reached Number One and spent 13 weeks each in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. Its highest chart position in England was Number Six.
  • The album reached Number One on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • The song that became “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” originally had a different melody and was titled “Under The Weather.”
  • Of the album in general, singer-guitarist the Edge said, “Two ideas were followed simultaneously. They collided, and this record was born.” The two ideas were lead singer Bono‘s urge to explore rock’s American roots and the Edge’s desire to continue the “expressionistic experimentalism” of the band’s previous studio album, The Unforgettable Fire.
  • The song was partly inspired by a tape of blues and gospel songs that writer Dermot Stokes gave to Bono.
  • The Edge said of the album, “Brian (Eno) strongly suggested that we do it all ourselves. We felt inclined to bring people into the sessions — at times it would have been nice to have pedal steel or background vocals — but he always felt we could do it. There was a great wisdom in that decision.”
  • Bono described “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as “an anthem of doubt more than faith.”
  • He also said, “I used to think that writing words was old-fashioned, so I sketched. I wrote words on the microphone. For The Joshua Tree, I felt that the time had come to write words that meant something, out of my own experiences.”
  • The live version of the song on Rattle And Hum features backup vocals by a New York gospel choir.
  • The Joshua Tree made U2 superstars. In the wake of its success, PolyGram subsequently bought Island Records to acquire the band’s contract.

FAST FORWARD:

  • In 1991, the underground San Francisco band Negativland released an EP called U2 that sampled “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and mixed in derogatory comments by Top 40 DJ Casey Kasem. Negativland was sued by Island as a result.
  • U2 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall if Fame by Bruce Springsteen in 2005. It was a returned favor, since Bono had done the honors for Springsteen’s induction a few years earlier.
  • Bono has launched a fashion line called Edun, which is codesigned by his wife, Ali Hewson, and environmentally-conscious designer Rogan Gregory.
  • U2 opened the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in London back in July 2005 by performing the Beatles song “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with Paul McCartney, before doing their own set.
  • The members of U2 and their manager Paul McGuinness were given the Ambassador Of Conscience Award by Amnesty International in 2005.
  • U2’s story has been told in an authorized book called U2byU2.
  • Bono has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of Third World debt relief and AIDS awareness.