This is about heroin addiction. Bono was inspired by a story he read about a man who smuggled heroin into Dublin to feed his habit despite the possibility of life imprisonment if he was caught. Bono was interested in how he got in that position. "Because for a lot of people, there are no physical doors open anymore," the singer told Hot Press in 1987. "And so if you can't change the world you're living in, seeing through different eyes is the only alternative. And heroin gives you heroin eyes to see the world with; and the thing about heroin is that you think that's the way it really is. That the old you, who worries about paying the rent, the old you who just worries, is not the real you."
The line about the "Seven Towers" refers to housing projects in Dublin where many drug users lived.
U2 has remained mostly drug-free, but they know many people who became addicts. A friend of theirs, Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy, died from heroin abuse in 1986.
Bass player Adam Clayton was arrested in Ireland for marijuana possession in 1989. The conviction was waived in lieu of a donation to charity.
Bono, March 1987, on the Joshua Tree
songs: "A lot of the songs were ones that were recorded in Larry's spare bedroom or Adam's living room. When the red light's on we often don't respond to it. When we're just left to be, left to make music our own way, well some of the tracks are almost like demos. We had to fight to make them work and there were a lot of songs left over. It could have gone off in a number of different directions. We wanted the idea of a one-piece record, not a side-one, side-two thing."
Bertrand - Paris, France
The title was inspired by Bono's brother, who was frustrated with his job in the computer business. Daniel Lanois, the album's co-producer, told Rolling Stone in 1997: "He said to Bono, 'I can't take this anymore - I feel like I'm running to stand still.' He was referring to running this business just to pay the bills."
Lanois told Hot Press he played "scrape guitar" on the track. "It's one of those sounds you hide in the background and it offers a color, it doesn't draw attention to itself as a guitar," he explained. "It's one of those songs where people were gathered around in a huddle. Bono had the words written; this was a nice opportunity to get something live. I remember that tender moment, me playing that scrape guitar, Larry [Mullen Jr.] on the tom-tom. There was just a wonderful communication happening in the room at that time. I think it's what people feel on that record, there was really a presence of performance."
This was used on the TV show Brothers & Sisters in the 2009 episode "Owning It."
U2 won their first Grammy Award in 1988 when The Joshua Tree was named Album Of The Year. The album was also their first to hit #1 in the US.