Red Hill Mining Town
by U2

Album: The Joshua Tree (1987)


  • This is about the United Kingdom miners' strike of 1984. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had instituted a policy where mines that were considered unprofitable were shut down. Bono wanted to explore the impact the strike had on the miner's friends and families. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Richard - Newport, Isle of Wight, England
  • This was going to be the second single off The Joshua Tree, but they decided not to perform this on tour and could not promote it effectively.
  • This was dropped from the set list of the Joshua Tree tour when they discovered during rehearsals that Bono could not hit the high notes consistently. As a result, it was never performed live until U2's 30th anniversary tour opener in Vancouver on May 12, 2017. Bono explained in an interview with BBC Radio 2:

    "I used to write songs that I couldn't sing. And sometimes that was OK because the strains of the notes I couldn't reach was part of the drama, but occasionally they would really just wreck the next show," he said. "So I just left 'Red Hill Mining Town' off. But since then, I sing a bit better - or at least I've learned how to sing."
  • A video was shot with director Neil Jordan. It was never released, as they were not happy with it and decided not to use the song as a single.
  • The song was inspired by folk music. Bono wanted The Joshua Tree to explore various forms of American music they had encountered while touring there.
  • Bono told BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans that he tried to copy the gravel-voiced white soul singer Joe Cocker when recording his vocals for this song.

Comments: 13

  • Nick from La Paz, BoliviaOne of the best from the album! Beautiful melody. Once again, Bono manages to put us in the skin of the characters he sings about.
  • Jimmy Wooldridge from Hull Red Hill is a brilliant song. Great lyrics, great sound. Now Bono's voice is more matured I'm sure he could hit it right live. He sang Miss Sarejevo live in Milan, hit really high notes in that. The song is brilliant in my opinion. He hits very high notes in One Tree Hill and he does that live.
  • Karen from Kennett Square, PaThis was the favorite in my college days. All of us loved it. I think they should rework it somehow so that it can be performed live. I think it is more loved by fans than they realize. Joshua Tree equals college memories to me. I just feel it when I hear the album. I love the feeling.
  • Bert Van De Kamp from Den Bosch, NetherlandsU2 Traveled the California desert with photographer Anton Corbijn while finishing this album.
    A visit to the ghost town of Bodie CA and subsequent exposure to stories about certain residents there may have inspired these lyrics.
    Beautiful and inspiring place
  • Eddie from East Islip, NyThis song never quite got the recognition it deserved. One of my favs from the joshua tree era!!!
  • Heather from Los Angeles, CaHow come they called the album "The Joshua Tree"? I live in the desert and have seen many a Joshua Tree. Not too much else growing in the Mojave actually.
  • Lily from Godrics Hallow, Englandi think the best line is: "we steep so low to reach so high" so true! love you bono!
  • Ray from Memphis, TnOne of my fav' U2 songs. Great singing by Bone et al. I agree - very underrated song.
  • Nick from Bridgeton, MeGreat song, wish it was released as a single only to add to the infamy of one of the greatest albums ever.
  • Jim from Burlington, Vtone of the most underrated U2 songs
  • Rick from Humboldt, IaAn awesome song with a great chorus.
  • Brett from Grand Rapids, MaPersonally I think this song doesn't get the credit it deserves. It's one of my favorite songs on the Joshua Tree, Although all the songs on this album are great. I personally wish they would have released the video.
  • Brian from Meriden, CtAnother absolute GEM on the less-explored second side of this landmark classic album, which itself explores the American West. The second-side opener sets the tone with the hard realities of mining families even when there is work. It continues on, painting the images of the pain and struggles of the human experience onto a desolate and unforgiving desert landscape to which it is so desperately tied.
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