Jump to content

Achtung Baby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Achtung Baby
A square montage of square photographs arranged in a 4 by 4 grid. The photographs are mostly blue and red in tint, but some are monochrome. They are candid in nature and mostly show four men in various locations, including in an empty street, a crowded festival, under a bridge, in a car, and standing on sand. One photograph is a close-up of a man's hand wearing two rings bearing the characters "U" and "2".
Studio album by
Released18 November 1991 (1991-11-18)
RecordedOctober 1990 – September 1991
GenreAlternative rock
U2 chronology
Rattle and Hum
Achtung Baby
Singles from Achtung Baby
  1. "The Fly"
    Released: 21 October 1991
  2. "Mysterious Ways"
    Released: 2 December 1991
  3. "One"
    Released: 24 February 1992
  4. "Even Better Than the Real Thing"
    Released: 8 June 1992
  5. "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
    Released: 23 November 1992

Achtung Baby (/ˈæktʊŋ/)[1] is the seventh studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and was released on 18 November 1991 on Island Records. After criticism of their 1988 release Rattle and Hum, U2 shifted their direction to incorporate influences from alternative rock, industrial music, and electronic dance music into their sound. Thematically, Achtung Baby is darker, more introspective, and at times more flippant than their previous work. The album and the subsequent multimedia-intensive Zoo TV Tour were central to the group's 1990s reinvention, by which they abandoned their earnest public image for a more lighthearted and self-deprecating one.

Seeking inspiration from German reunification, U2 began recording Achtung Baby at Berlin's Hansa Studios in October 1990. The sessions were fraught with conflict, as the band argued over their musical direction and the quality of their material. After tension and slow progress nearly prompted the group to disband, they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the song "One". Morale and productivity improved during subsequent recording sessions in Dublin, where the album was completed in 1991. To confound the public's expectations of the band and their music, U2 chose the record's facetious title and colourful multi-image sleeve.

Achtung Baby is one of U2's most successful records; it received favourable reviews and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 Top Albums, while topping the charts in many other countries. Five songs were released as commercial singles, all of which were chart successes, including "One", "Mysterious Ways", and "The Fly". The album has sold 18 million copies worldwide and won a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Achtung Baby has since been acclaimed by writers and music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. The record has been reissued several times, including in October 2011 and November 2021 for its 20th and 30th anniversaries, respectively. U2 commemorated the album during their 2023–2024 concert residency, U2:UV Achtung Baby Live, at Sphere in the Las Vegas Valley.


After U2's 1987 album The Joshua Tree and the supporting Joshua Tree Tour brought them critical acclaim and commercial success,[2] their 1988 album and film Rattle and Hum precipitated a critical backlash.[3] Although the record sold 14 million copies and performed well on music charts,[4] critics were dismissive of it and the film, labelling the band's exploration of early American music as "pretentious"[5] and "misguided and bombastic".[6] U2's high exposure and their reputation for being overly serious led to accusations of grandiosity and self-righteousness.[3][5]

The Edge and Bono clothed in leather jackets, as the Edge holds a guitar vertically. A large dangling light bulb hangs between them.
Prior to recording Achtung Baby, the Edge and Bono (pictured in 2024) began working more closely together on songwriting without the other band members.

Despite their commercial popularity, the group were dissatisfied creatively; lead vocalist Bono believed they were musically unprepared for their success, while drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. said, "We were the biggest, but we weren't the best."[3] By the band's 1989 Lovetown Tour, they had become bored with playing their greatest hits.[7] U2 believe that audiences misunderstood the group's collaboration with blues musician B. B. King on Rattle and Hum and the Lovetown Tour, and they described it as "an excursion down a dead-end street".[8][9] Bono said that, in retrospect, listening to black music enabled the group to create a work such as Achtung Baby, while their experiences with folk music helped him to develop as a lyricist.[9] During a 30 December 1989 show near the end of the Lovetown Tour, Bono said on stage to the hometown crowd in Dublin that it was "the end of something for U2", and that "we have to go away and ... dream it all up again".[10] Following the tour, the group began what was at the time their longest break from public performances and album releases.[11]

Reacting to their own sense of musical stagnation and to their critics, U2 searched for new musical ground.[3][12] They had written "God Part II" from Rattle and Hum after realising they had excessively pursued nostalgia in their songwriting. The song had a more contemporary feel that Bono said was closer to Achtung Baby's direction.[13] Further indications of change were two recordings they made in 1990: the first was a cover version of "Night and Day" for the first Red Hot + Blue release, in which U2 used electronic dance beats and hip hop elements for the first time; the second indication of change was contributions made by Bono and guitarist the Edge to the original score of A Clockwork Orange's stage adaptation. Much of the material they wrote was experimental, and according to Bono, "prepar[ed] the ground for Achtung Baby". Ideas deemed inappropriate for the play were put aside for the band's use.[14] During this period, Bono and the Edge began increasingly writing songs together without Mullen or bassist Adam Clayton.[14]

In mid-1990, Bono reviewed material he had written in Australia on the Lovetown Tour, and the group recorded demos at STS Studios in Dublin.[15][16] The demos later evolved into the songs "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses", "Until the End of the World", "Even Better Than the Real Thing", and "Mysterious Ways".[16] After their time at STS Studios, Bono and the Edge were tasked with continuing to work on lyrics and melodies until the group reconvened.[17] Going into the album sessions, U2 wanted the record to completely deviate from their past work, but they were unsure how to accomplish it.[18] The emergence of the Madchester scene in the UK left them confused about how they would fit into any particular musical scene.[16]

Recording and production[edit]

"Buzzwords on this record were trashy, throwaway, dark, sexy, and industrial (all good) and earnest, polite, sweet, righteous, rockist and linear (all bad). It was good if a song took you on a journey or made you think your hifi was broken, bad if it reminded you of recording studios or U2. Sly Stone, T. Rex, Scott Walker, My Bloody Valentine, KMFDM, the Young Gods, Alan Vega, Al Green, and Insekt were all in favour. And Berlin ... became a conceptual backdrop for the record. The Berlin of the Thirties—decadent, sexual and dark—resonating against the Berlin of the Nineties—reborn, chaotic and optimistic..."

 —Brian Eno, on Achtung Baby[12]

U2 hired Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno to produce the album, based on the duo's prior work with the band on The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree.[19] Lanois was principal producer, with Mark "Flood" Ellis as engineer.[12] Eno took on an assisting role, working with the group in the studio for a week at a time to review their songs before leaving for a month or two.[12][20] Eno said his role was "to come in and erase anything that sounded too much like U2".[21] By distancing himself from the work, he believed he provided the band with a fresh perspective on their material each time he rejoined them.[22] As he explained, "I would deliberately not listen to the stuff in between visits, so I could go in cold".[23] Since U2 wanted the record to be harder-hitting and live-sounding, Lanois "push[ed] the performance aspect very hard, often to the point of recklessness".[24] The Lanois–Eno team used lateral thinking and a philosophical approach—popularised by Eno's Oblique Strategies—that contrasted with the direct and retro style of Rattle and Hum producer Jimmy Iovine.[25]

Berlin sessions[edit]

The band believed that "domesticity [w]as the enemy of rock 'n' roll" and that to work on the album, they needed to remove themselves from their normal family-oriented routines. With a "New Europe" emerging at the end of the Cold War, they chose Berlin, in the centre of the reuniting continent, as a source of inspiration for a more European musical aesthetic.[3][19][26] They chose to record at Hansa Studios in West Berlin, near the recently opened Berlin Wall. Several acclaimed records were made at Hansa, including two from David Bowie's "Berlin Trilogy" with Eno, and Iggy Pop's Lust for Life.[16] U2 arrived on 3 October 1990 on the last flight into East Berlin on the eve of German reunification.[16] While looking for public celebrations, they mistakenly ended up joining an anti-unification protest by Communists.[16][27] Expecting to be inspired in Berlin, U2 instead found the city to be depressing and gloomy. The collapse of the Berlin Wall had resulted in a state of malaise in Germany. The band found their East Berlin hotel to be dismal and the winter inhospitable,[18] while the location of Hansa's Studio 2 in a former SS ballroom, the Meistersaal,[28] added to the "bad vibe".[18] Complicating matters, the studios had been neglected for years, forcing Eno and Lanois to import recording equipment.[17]

A ballroom with hardwood floors, and a ceiling decorated with chandeliers and octagon-shaped tiles. The wall on the left is decorated with dark wood panels, red walls, and windows. On the right is a small stage with a piano in front.
The initial recording sessions took place at Berlin's Hansa Studios in late 1990 in the Meistersaal, a former SS ballroom.

Morale worsened once the sessions commenced, as the band worked long days but could not agree on a musical direction.[17][29] The Edge had been listening to electronic dance music and to industrial bands like Einstürzende Neubauten, Nine Inch Nails, the Young Gods, and KMFDM. He and Bono advocated new musical directions along these lines. In contrast, Mullen was listening to classic rock acts such as Blind Faith, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix, and he was learning how to "play around the beat".[3][14] Like Clayton, he was more comfortable with a sound similar to U2's previous work and was resistant to the proposed innovations.[3][18] Further, the Edge's interest in dance club mixes and drum machines made Mullen feel that his contributions as a drummer were being diminished.[18] Lanois was expecting the "textural and emotional and cinematic U2" of The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree, and he did not understand the "throwaway, trashy kinds of things" on which Bono and the Edge were working.[3] Compounding the divisions between the two camps was a change in the band's songwriting relationship; Bono and the Edge were working more closely together, writing material without the rest of the group.[14][26][30]

"At the instant we were recording it, I got a very strong sense of its power. We were all playing together in the big recording room, a huge, eerie ballroom full of ghosts of the war, and everything fell into place. It was a reassuring moment, when everyone finally went, 'oh great, this album has started.' It's the reason you're in a band—when the spirit descends upon you and you create something truly affecting. 'One' is an incredibly moving piece. It hits straight into the heart."

 —The Edge, on the recording of "One"[31]

U2 found that they were neither prepared nor well-rehearsed, and that their ideas were not evolving into completed songs.[18] The group were unable to reach consensus during their disagreements and felt that they were not making progress.[18] Bono and Lanois, in particular, had an argument that almost came to blows during the writing of "Mysterious Ways".[32] During one tense session, Clayton removed his bass guitar and held it out to Bono, saying, "You tell me what to play and I'll play it. You want to play it yourself? Go ahead."[33] With a sense of going nowhere, the band considered breaking up.[34] Eno visited for a few days, and understanding their attempts to deconstruct the band, he assured them that their progress was better than they thought.[34][35] By adding unusual effects and sounds, he showed that the Edge's pursuit for new sonic territory was not incompatible with Mullen's and Lanois' "desire to hold on to solid song structures".[34] Ultimately, a breakthrough was achieved with the writing of the song "One".[31] While working on "Sick Puppy"—an early version of "Mysterious Ways"—the Edge played two separate chord progressions sequentially on guitar at Lanois' encouragement, and finding inspiration, the group quickly improvised a new song that became "One".[36][37] It provided reassurance and validated their long-standing "blank page approach" to writing and recording together.[31]

U2 returned to Dublin for Christmas, where they discussed their future together and all recommitted to the group. Listening to the tapes, they agreed their material sounded better than they originally thought.[37] They briefly returned to Berlin in January 1991 to finish their work at Hansa.[38] Reflecting on their time in Berlin, Clayton called the sessions a "baptism of fire" and said, "It was something that we had to go through to realize that really, what we were looking for and what we were trying to get to was not something you could find physically, outside of ourselves, in some other city—that there was no magic to it. We had to actually just put the work in and figure out the ideas and hone those ideas down."[36] Although just two songs were delivered during their two months in Berlin,[35] the Edge said that in retrospect, working there had been more productive and inspirational than the output had suggested.[24][31] The band had been removed from a familiar environment, providing what they described as a certain "texture and cinematic location", and many of their incomplete ideas would be revisited in the subsequent Dublin sessions with success.[31]

Dublin sessions[edit]

Bono with black hair, black sunglasses, and a black leather attire speaking into a microphone.
Bono in 1992 as his persona "The Fly", a leather-clad egomaniac meant to parody rock stardom. He conceived this character during the band's 1991 recording sessions in Dublin.

In February 1991, U2 moved the album's recording sessions to the seaside manor Elsinore in the Dublin suburb of Dalkey, renting the house for £10,000 per month.[24][38] The band nicknamed the house "Dog Town" for the "tackiness" of its exterior dog kennels,[38] and the location was credited as such in the album notes.[39] Lanois' strategy to record in houses, mansions, or castles was something he believed brought atmosphere to the recordings. The group rented recording equipment from Dublin audio services company Audio Engineering, and they used a converted garage as a recording space, diagonally beneath the control room. Video cameras and TV monitors were used to monitor and communicate between the spaces.[24] With Elsinore located within walking distance of Bono's and the Edge's homes, the sessions there were more relaxed and productive.[38][40][41] The band struggled with one particular song—later released as the B-side "Lady With the Spinning Head"—but three separate tracks, "The Fly", "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" and "Zoo Station", were derived from it.[42] During the writing of "The Fly", Bono created a persona based on an oversized pair of black sunglasses that he wore to lighten the mood in the studio.[38][40] The character, which he also named "The Fly", evolved into a leather-clad egomaniac meant to parody rock stardom. Bono assumed this alter ego for the band's subsequent public appearances and live performances on the Zoo TV Tour.[43]

In April, tapes from the earlier Berlin sessions were stolen after the band reportedly left them in a hotel room, and they were subsequently leaked before the album was finished.[44] The recordings were bootlegged into a three-disc collection dubbed the "Salome – The [Axtung Beibi] Outtakes", named for a song that was prominently featured in the collection but did not make the album's final cut. The release is considered the most famous bootleg of U2 material.[45] Bono dismissed the leaked demos as "gobbledygook", and the Edge likened the situation to "being violated".[46] The leak shook U2's confidence and soured their collective mood for a few weeks.[47]

Staffing schedules led to the band having a surplus of engineers at one point, and as a result, they split recording between Elsinore and the Edge's home studio to increase productivity. Engineer Robbie Adams said the approach raised morale and activity levels: "There was always something different to listen to, always something exciting happening." The band's desire to record everything they played in the studio posed a challenge to the production team. A conventional setup with their equipment would have restricted them to 24 tracks of audio; to capture multiple overdubs and takes for different arrangement possibilities, the engineers utilised a technique they called "fatting", which allowed them to achieve more than 48 tracks of audio by using an Otari MTR100 24-track recorder, a Fostex D20 timecode-capable DAT recorder, and an Adams Smith Zeta Three synchroniser. The focus on capturing the band's material and encouraging the best performances meant that little attention was paid to combating audio spill, aside from placing the Edge's and Clayton's amplifiers in separate rooms.[24] In issue 14 of U2's fan magazine Propaganda, Lanois said that he believed some of the in-progress songs would become worldwide hits, despite lyrics and vocal takes being unfinished.[48]

During the Dublin sessions, Eno was sent tapes of the previous two months' work, which he called a "total disaster". Joining U2 in the studio, he stripped away what he thought to be excessive overdubbing. The group believes his intervention saved the album.[49] Eno theorised that the band was too close to their music, explaining: "if you know a piece of music terribly well and the mix changes and the bass guitar goes very quiet, you still hear the bass. You're so accustomed to it being there that you compensate and remake it in your mind."[22] Eno also assisted them through a crisis point one month before the recording deadline; he recalled that "everything seemed like a mess", and he insisted the band take a two-week holiday. The break gave them a clearer perspective and added decisiveness.[50]

After work at Elsinore finished in July, the sessions moved to Windmill Lane Studios where Eno, Flood, Lanois, and previous U2 producer Steve Lillywhite mixed the tracks.[38][51][52] Each producer created his own mixes of the songs, and the band either picked the version they preferred or requested that certain aspects of each be combined.[52] Additional recording and mixing continued at a frenetic pace until the 21 September deadline,[53] including last-minute changes to "The Fly", "One", and "Mysterious Ways".[24][54] The Edge estimated that half of the sessions' work was done in the last three weeks to finalise songs.[55] The final night was spent devising a running order for the record. The following day, the Edge travelled to Los Angeles with the album's tapes for mastering.[54]



"We're at a point where production has gotten so slick that people don't trust it anymore... We were starting to lose trust in the conventional sound of rock & roll—the conventional sound of guitar ... those big reverb-laden drum sounds of the '80s or those big, beautiful, pristine vocal sounds with all this lush ambience and reverb. So we found ourselves searching for other sounds that had more life and more freshness."

 —The Edge, explaining the band's motivation for seeking a new sound[56]

U2 is credited with composing the music for all of Achtung Baby's tracks,[39] despite periods of separated songwriting. They wrote the music primarily through jam sessions, a common practice for them.[18] The album represents a deviation from the sound of their past work; the songs are less anthemic in nature,[57] and their musical style demonstrates a more European aesthetic,[58] introducing influences from alternative rock,[59] industrial music,[12] and electronic dance music.[60] The band referred to the album's musical departure as "the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree".[61][62] Accordingly, the distorted introduction to the opening track "Zoo Station" was intended to make listeners think the record was broken or was mistakenly not the new U2 album.[40] Author Susan Fast said that with the group's use of technology in the song's opening, "there can be no mistake that U2 has embraced sound resources new to them".[63]

The Edge on the Zoo TV Tour in November 1993

For the album, the Edge often eschewed his normally minimalistic approach to guitar playing and his trademark chiming, delay-heavy sound, in favour of a style that incorporated more solos, dissonance, and feedback.[64] Industrial influences and guitar effects, particularly distortion, contributed to a "metallic" style and "harder textures".[6][65][66] Music journalist Bill Wyman said the Edge's guitar playing on the closing track "Love Is Blindness" sounded like a "dentist's drill".[67] The Edge achieved breakthroughs in the writing of songs such as "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways" by toying with various effects units.[40]

The rhythm section is more pronounced in the mix on Achtung Baby,[25] and hip hop-inspired electronic dance beats are featured on many of the album's tracks, most prominently "The Fly".[6] Elysa Gardner of Rolling Stone compared the layering of dance beats into guitar-heavy mixes to songs by British bands Happy Mondays and Jesus Jones.[6] "Mysterious Ways" combines a funky guitar riff with a danceable, conga-laden beat,[68] for what Bono called "U2 at our funkiest... Sly and The Family Stone meets Madchester baggy."[40] Amidst layers of distorted guitars, "The Fly" and "Zoo Station" feature industrial-influenced percussion[41][69][70]—the timbre of Mullen's drums exhibits a "cold, processed sound, something like beating on a tin can", according to author Albin Zak.[71]

Whereas Bono exhibited a full-throated vocal delivery on the group's previous releases, for Achtung Baby he extended his range into a lower register and used what Fast described as "breathy and subdued colors".[63] On many tracks, including "The Fly" and "Zoo Station", he sang as a character;[25] one technique used is octave doubling, in which the vocals are doubled but sung in two different octaves. This octave differentiation was sometimes done with vocals simultaneously, while at other times, it distinguishes voices between the verses and choruses. According to Fast, the technique introduces "a contrasting lyrical idea and vocal character to deliver it", leading to both literal and ironic interpretations of Bono's vocals.[72] He said that lowering his voice helped him find a new vocal vocabulary, as he previously felt limited to "certain words and tones" by his tenor voice.[73] Other methods of altering his vocals included treating them with processing[65][67][74] and feeding them through a distortion pedal.[73] These techniques were all used to give his voice a different emotional feel and distinguish it from his previous work.[41]


As is often the case on U2 albums, Bono is credited as the sole lyricist.[39] In contrast to U2's previous records, whose lyrics were politically and socially charged, Achtung Baby is more personal and introspective, examining love, sexuality, spirituality, faith, and betrayal.[77][78][79] The lyrics are darker in tone, describing troubled personal relationships and exuding feelings of confusion, loneliness, and inadequacy.[6][80][81] Lyrics were inspired by the dissolution of the Edge's marriage, as well as that of another of Bono's friends.[82] During the album's recording, the Edge separated from his wife (the mother of three of his children), and the pain he felt resulted in him dedicating himself to the record and advocating for more personal themes.[3][18][83] Bono found inspiration from his own personal life, citing the births of his two daughters in 1989 and 1991 as major influences.[16] This is reflected in "Zoo Station", which opens the album as a statement of intent with lyrics suggesting new anticipations and appetites.[41][63]

Of the album's personal nature, Bono said that there were a lot of "blood and guts" in it.[62] His lyrics to the ballad "One" were inspired by the band members' interpersonal struggles and the German reunification.[84][85] The Edge described the song on one level as a "bitter, twisted, vitriolic conversation between two people who've been through some nasty, heavy stuff".[31] Similarly, "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" describes a strained relationship and unease over obligations,[86] and on "Acrobat", Bono sings about weakness, hypocrisy, and inadequacy.[87] The torch songs of Roy Orbison, Scott Walker, and Jacques Brel were major influences,[87] evidenced by tracks such as: "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses", a description of a couple's argument; "So Cruel", about unrequited love, obsession, and possessiveness;[75] and the closing track, "Love Is Blindness", a bleak account of a failing romance.[51][88]

U2 biographer Bill Flanagan credits Bono's habit of keeping his lyrics "in flux until the last minute" with providing a narrative coherence to the album.[89] Flanagan interpreted Achtung Baby as using the moon as a metaphor for a dark woman seducing the singer away from his virtuous love, the sun; he is tempted away from domestic life by an exciting nightlife and tests how far he can go before returning home.[90] For Flanagan, "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World" on the album's latter third describes the character stumbling home in a drunken state, and the final three songs—"Ultraviolet (Light My Way)", "Acrobat", and "Love Is Blindness"—are about how the couple deal with the suffering they have forced on each other.[89]

Despite the record's darker themes, many lyrics are more flippant and sexual than those from the band's previous work.[43][91] This reflects the group's revisiting some of the Dadaist characters and stage antics they dabbled with in the late 1970s as teenagers but abandoned for more literal themes in the 1980s.[92] While the band had previously been opposed to materialism, they examined and flirted with this value on the album and the Zoo TV Tour.[77] The title and lyrics of "Even Better Than the Real Thing" are "reflective of the times [the band] were living in, when people were no longer looking for the truth, [they] were all looking for instant gratification".[40] "Trashy" and "throwaway" were among the band's buzzwords during recording, leading to many tracks in this vein. The chorus of "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" features the pop lyrical cliché "baby, baby, baby",[93] juxtaposed against the dark lyrics in the verses.[86] Bono wrote the lyrics to "The Fly" in character as the song's eponymous persona by composing a sequence of aphorisms.[70] He called the song "like a crank call from Hell... but [the caller] likes it there".[40]

Religious imagery is present throughout the record. "Until the End of the World" is an imagined conversation between Jesus Christ and his betrayer, Judas Iscariot.[40] On "Acrobat", Bono sings about feelings of spiritual alienation in the line "I'd break bread and wine / If there was a church I could receive in".[94] In many tracks, Bono's lyrics about women carry religious connotations, describing them as spirits, life, light,[95] and idols to be worshipped.[96] Religious interpretations of the album are the subject of the book Meditations on Love in the Shadow of the Fall from the 33 ⅓ series.[97]

Packaging and title[edit]

"... the very title Achtung Baby strives for lack of significance and—just as insignificantly—the sleeve itself is not the usual single cinematic image of heroic import but rather a grid of snapshots evoking, if a little cleanly, the slapdash glory that was Robert Frank's artwork for the [Rolling] Stones' Exile on Main Street."

 —Mat Snow, contrasting the title and artwork of Achtung Baby with U2's previous albums[88]

The sleeve artwork for Achtung Baby was designed by two employees from the design firm Works Associates:[39] Steve Averill, U2's long-time album cover designer;[98] and Shaughn McGrath, who had just joined the firm.[99] To parallel the band's change in musical direction, Averill and McGrath devised sleeve concepts that used multiple colour images to contrast with the seriousness of the individual, mostly monochromatic images from previous U2 album sleeves.[1][100] Rough sketches and designs were created early during the recording sessions, and some experimental designs were conceived to closely resemble dance music sleeves. Averill said: "We just did them to show how extreme we could go and then everyone came back to levels that they were happy with. But if we hadn't gone to these extremes it may not have been the cover it is now."[1]

An initial photo shoot with the band's long-time photographer Anton Corbijn was conducted near U2's Berlin hotel in late 1990.[101] Most of the photos were black-and-white,[1] and the group felt they were not indicative of the spirit of the new album. They recommissioned Corbijn for an additional two-week photo shoot in Tenerife in February 1991,[38] for which they dressed up and mingled with the crowds of the annual Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, presenting a more playful side of themselves.[38] It was during the group's time in Tenerife and during a four-day shoot in Morocco in July that they were photographed in drag.[38] Additional photos were taken in a Dublin studio in June, a session in which Corbijn captured long exposures over several minutes. One of the photos from this session depicted a naked Clayton.[99][102] Overall, Corbijn's images for Achtung Baby were intended to confound expectations of U2,[54] and their full colour contrasted with the monochromatic imagery on past sleeves.[100]

An upside-down image of a car hanging from a ceiling with brightly coloured artwork painted on the exterior. The license plate reads ZOO TV.
A Trabant from the Zoo TV Tour, displayed at the Dublin Hard Rock Cafe. The group were photographed with several elaborately painted Trabants for the album sleeve.

For the photoshoots in Berlin and Tenerife, the band were photographed with brightly painted Trabants, East German automobiles that became a symbol of the fall of Communism and for which the band had developed an affection.[103][104] Street artist Thierry Noir was commissioned to provide the artwork and painted the vehicles in Hansa Studios' parking lot; he became involved through a fellow collaborator of the band's, film director Wim Wenders.[105] Images of the band with the Trabants appear on the sleeve and throughout the album booklet. These vehicles were later incorporated into the Zoo TV Tour set design as part of the lighting system.[104][106]

Several photographs were considered as candidates for a single cover image, including shots of: a cow on an Irish farm in County Kildare; the nude Clayton; and the band driving a Trabant.[1] Ultimately, a multiple image scheme was used, as U2, Corbijn, Averill, and the producers thought that "the sense of flux expressed by both the music and the band's playing with alter egos was best articulated by the lack of a single viewpoint".[107] The resulting front sleeve is arranged as a 4×4 square grid.[54] A mix of Corbijn's original images from Berlin and the later photo shoots was used, as the band wanted to balance the "colder European feel of the mainly black-and-white Berlin images with the much warmer exotic climates of Santa Cruz and Morocco".[1] Some photographs were used because they were striking on their own, while others were used because of their ambiguity.[1] The nude photo of Clayton was placed on the rear cover of the record.[108] After objections to the photo were raised in the United States, it was censored; Averill and McGrath painted a black "X" and faxed it to the record label,[99] which turned it into a sticker that American distributors and retailers could affix to the album packaging to cover Clayton's genitals.[108][109] Compact disc and cassette copies were censored with the sticker, while vinyl editions featured the photo uncensored.[108]

To "match the gush of spontaneity and power of the photography", McGrath calligraphed the album title, band name, and track listing for the packaging, using paintbrushes as well as ink and pen. Contrasting with the "unique humanity" of his handwriting, McGrath set the lyrics and album credits in the ubiquitous European font Helvetica, "mirror[ing] the repetitive industrial and Germanic themes of the album". The label of the physical CD and vinyl disc features an image of a "babyface" graffitied by artist Charlie Whisker onto an external wall of Windmill Lane Studios and photographed by Richie Smyth. The babyface image was later adopted as a logo for Zoo TV Tour memorabilia and was incorporated into the Zooropa album cover.[110] In 2003, music television network VH1 ranked Achtung Baby's sleeve at number 39 on its list of the "50 Greatest Album Covers".[111] Bono has called the sleeve his favourite U2 cover artwork.[112]

The German word Achtung (German: [ˈaxtʊŋ] )[113] in the album title translates into English as "attention" or "watch out".[19] U2's sound engineer Joe O'Herlihy said the phrase "achtung baby" often during the recording sessions,[19] using it as a "call to arms" each time the band were about to begin work on a given day.[99] He reportedly took it from the Mel Brooks film The Producers,[54] although it actually appears in the Brooks song "To Be or Not to Be (The Hitler Rap)" from the soundtrack album accompanying his 1983 film To Be or Not to Be.[114] The title was selected in August 1991 near the end of the album sessions.[1] Bono thought it was an ideal title, as it was attention-grabbing to him, referenced Germany, and hinted at either romance or birth, both of which were themes on the album.[54] The band were determined not to highlight the seriousness of the lyrics and instead sought to "erect a mask" with the title, a concept that was further developed on the Zoo TV Tour, particularly through Bono's characters such as "The Fly".[115] Of the title, he said in 1992: "It's a con, in a way. We call it Achtung Baby, grinning up our sleeves in all the photography. But it's probably the heaviest record we've ever made... It tells you a lot about packaging, because the press would have killed us if we'd called it anything else."[3]

U2 considered several other titles for the album, including Man (in contrast to the group's debut, Boy),[116] 69, Zoo Station, and Adam, the latter of which would have been paired with the nude photo of Clayton.[1][3] Other titles in consideration included Fear of Women and Cruise Down Main Street, the latter a reference to the Rolling Stones' record Exile on Main St. and the cruise missiles launched on Baghdad during the Gulf War.[115] Most of the proposed titles were rejected out of the belief that people would see them as pretentious and "another Big Statement from U2".[116]

Release and promotion[edit]

As early as December 1990, the music press reported that U2 would be recording a dance-oriented album and that it would be released in mid-1991.[117] In August 1991, sound collage artists Negativland released an EP entitled U2 that parodied U2's song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Island Records objected to the release, believing consumers would confuse the EP for a new U2 record. Island successfully sued for copyright infringement but were criticised in the music press, as were U2, although they were not involved in the litigation.[62][118] Uncut's Stephen Dalton believed that the negative headlines were tempered by the success of Achtung Baby's first single, "The Fly", released on 21 October 1991 a month before the album.[62] Sounding nothing like U2's typical style, it was selected as the lead single to announce the group's new musical direction.[40] It became their second song to top the UK Singles Chart,[119] while reaching number one on the singles charts in Ireland and Australia.[120][121] The single was less successful in the US, peaking at number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.[122]

Island Records and U2 refused to make advance copies of the album available to the press until just a few days before the release date, preferring that fans listen to the record before reading reviews. The decision came amid rumours of tensions within the band, and journalist David Browne compared it to the Hollywood practice of withholding pre-release copies of films from reviewers whenever they receive poor word-of-mouth press.[123] Achtung Baby was released on 18 November 1991 in the UK and 19 November in the US on compact disc, cassette tape, and vinyl record, with an initial shipment of more than 1.4 million copies in the US.[124][125] The album was the first release by a major act to use two so-called "eco-friendly" packages—the cardboard Digipak, and the shrinkwrapped jewel case without the longbox cardboard attachment.[126] Island encouraged record stores to order the jewel case packaging by offering a four-percent discount.[124]

Achtung Baby was U2's first album in three years and their first comprising entirely new material in over four years.[20] The group maintained a low profile after the record's release, avoiding interviews and allowing critics and the public to make their own assessments.[19] Instead of participating in an article with Rolling Stone magazine, U2 asked Eno to write one for them.[38] The marketing plan for the album focused on retail and press promotions. In addition to television and radio advertisements being produced, posters featuring the sleeve's 16 images were distributed to record stores and through alternative newspapers in major cities. Compared to the large hype of other 1991 year-end releases, the marketing for Achtung Baby was relatively understated, as Island general manager Andy Allen explained: "U2 will not come out with that kind of fanfare in terms of outside media. We feel the fan base itself creates that kind of excitement."[124]

"Mysterious Ways" was released as the second single five days after the release of Achtung Baby. On the US Billboard charts, the song topped the Modern Rock Tracks and Album Rock Tracks charts,[127][128] and it reached number nine on the Hot 100.[122] Elsewhere, it reached number one in Canada and number three in Australia.[121][129] Three additional commercial singles were released in 1992. "One", released in March at the beginning of the Zoo TV Tour, reached number seven in the UK[119] and number ten in the US charts.[122] Like its predecessor, it topped the Modern Rock Tracks chart,[127] and the singles charts in Canada and Ireland.[120][129] The song has since become regarded as one of the greatest of all time, ranking highly on many critics' lists.[130] The fourth single from Achtung Baby, "Even Better Than the Real Thing", was released in June. The album version of the song peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart,[119] while reaching number one on the US Album Rock Tracks chart.[128] A "Perfecto" remix of the song by DJ Paul Oakenfold[131] performed better in the UK than the album version did, peaking at number eight.[119] "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" followed as the fifth and final single in November 1992.[132] It peaked at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart,[119] and number two on the US Album Rock Tracks chart.[128] All five commercial singles charted within the top 20 in Ireland,[120] Australia,[121] Canada,[129] and the UK.[119] Promotional singles for "Until the End of the World",[133] "Salomé",[134] and "Zoo Station"[135] were also released.

In October 1992,[136] U2 released Achtung Baby: The Videos, the Cameos, and a Whole Lot of Interference from Zoo TV, a VHS and LaserDisc compilation of nine music videos from the album. Running for 65 minutes, it was produced by Ned O'Hanlon and released by Island and PolyGram. It included three music videos each for "One" and "Even Better than the Real Thing", along with videos for "The Fly", "Mysterious Ways", and "Until the End of the World".[137] Interspersed between the music videos were clips of so-called "interference", comprising documentary footage, media clips, and other video similar to what was displayed at Zoo TV Tour concerts.[137] The release was certified platinum in the US,[138] and gold in Canada.[139]

Achtung Baby: The Videos, the Cameos, and a Whole Lot of Interference from Zoo TV track listing
1."Interference"Maurice Linnane[nb 2]
2."Even Better Than the Real Thing"Kevin Godley3:41
3."Interference"Linnane[nb 2]
4."Mysterious Ways"Stéphane Sednaoui4:02
5."One" (version 1)Anton Corbijn4:34
6."The Fly"Ritchie Smyth, Jon Klein4:52
7."Interference"Linnane[nb 2]
8."Even Better Than the Real Thing" (dance mix)Smyth4:35
9."One" (version 2)Mark Pellington4:34
10."Even Better Than the Real Thing"Armando Gallo, Kampah3:45
11."One" (version 3)Phil Joanou4:34
12."Until the End of the World"Smyth4:38
Total length:65:01


Critical reaction[edit]

1991–92 reviews
Review scores
Calgary HeraldB+[140]
Chicago Tribune[141]
Entertainment WeeklyA[67]
Hot Press10/12[91]
Los Angeles Times[81]
The New Zealand Herald[57]
Orlando Sentinel[66]
Rolling Stone[6]
Spin  [142][nb 3]

Achtung Baby received acclaim from critics.[19][46] Elysa Gardner of Rolling Stone said U2 had "proven that the same penchant for epic musical and verbal gestures that leads many artists to self-parody can, in more inspired hands, fuel the unforgettable fire that defines great rock & roll."[6] The review said that the album, like its predecessor Rattle and Hum, was an attempt by the band to "broaden its musical palette, but this time its ambitions are realized".[6] Bill Wyman from Entertainment Weekly called it a "pristinely produced and surprisingly unpretentious return by one of the most impressive bands in the world".[67] Steve Morse of The Boston Globe echoed these sentiments, stating that the album "not only reinvigorates their sound, but drops any self-righteousness. The songs focus on personal relationships, not on saving the world."[65] Morse commended the album's "clanging, knob-twisting sound effects" and the Edge's "metallic, head-snapping guitar".[65] In the Los Angeles Times, Robert Hilburn stated, "the arty, guitar-driven textures are among the band's most confident and vigorous ever". He said the album would be a difficult one for listeners because of the dark, introspective nature of the songs, which contrasts with the group's uplifting songs of the past.[81] Parry Gettelmen of the Orlando Sentinel said that Achtung Baby "shows U2 still has the power to surprise", highlighting the warmth of Bono's vocals, the imagery of his lyrics, and the producers for helping the Edge "achieve a spacious sound without getting anthemic". He commended the band's musical transformation, saying, "U2 proves much more adept at the dance-trance thing than the Happy Roses or Stone Carpets or other indistinguishable haircut bands".[66] Jon Pareles of The New York Times lauded the record not only for featuring "noisy, vertiginous arrangements", but also for the group's ability to "maintain its pop skills". The review concluded, "Stripped-down and defying its old formulas, U2 has given itself a fighting chance for the 1990s."[74]

Q's Mat Snow called Achtung Baby U2's "heaviest album to date. And best." Snow praised the band and its production team for making "music of drama, depth, intensity and, believe it, funkiness".[88] Adam Sweeting of The Guardian said that with the album, U2 "evolved a raw, semi-industrial noise though [sic] which to filter strong melodies and thrusting funk-rock grooves". He praised the group for improving their songwriting and incorporating "black humour" into darker lyrical themes. He said the album was "quite an achievement" at following up a successful record, responding to emerging musical influences, and expanding the band's sound while still pleasing existing fans.[143] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune felt the record "shows the band in a grittier light: disrupting, rather than fulfilling, expectations". He praised Lanois' production and said that due to the Edge's guitar playing, "U2 sounds punkier than it has since its 1980 debut, Boy". Kot concluded his review by calling the album "a magnificent search for transcendence made all the more moving for its flaws".[141] Niall Stokes of Hot Press found Achtung Baby to be paradoxical, calling it U2's bleakest record while containing "their most obvious singles", and saying, "It sounds less like the U2 that we know than anything they have done before and yet it is unmistakably them". He wrote, "Ostensibly decadent, sensual and dark, it is a record of, and for, these times."[91] The New Zealand Herald found it "pretty damn good" and described its sound as "subdued, tightly controlled, [and] introverted". However, it said that too many "downbeat moments where songs seem to be going nowhere" prevented it from being a "truly wondrous affair".[57] In Spin, Jim Greer was more critical of the album, calling it an "ambitious failure"; the review welcomed its experimentation but judged that when the group "strays from familiar territory, the results are hit-and-miss".[142] The Village Voice critic Robert Christgau rated it a dud, indicating a bad album unworthy of a review.[144] Two years later, he reflected on the rating: "After many, many tries, Achtung Baby still sounded like a damnably diffuse U2 album to me, and I put it in the hall unable to describe a single song ... although I admittedly enjoy a few of its anthems-in-disguise now."[145]

Awards and accolades[edit]

The success of Achtung Baby and the Zoo TV Tour re-established U2 as one of the most popular and critically acclaimed musical acts in the world. The group nearly swept Rolling Stone's 1992 end-of-year readers' polls, winning honours for "Best Single" ("One"), "Artist of the Year", "Best Album", "Best Songwriter" (Bono), "Best Album Cover", and "Comeback of the Year", among others.[146] Critics at several newspapers, such as The Washington Post,[147] The Boston Globe,[148] and the Chicago Sun-Times,[149] ranked the album among the year's best. The album placed fourth on the "Best Albums" list from The Village Voice's 1991 Pazz & Jop critics' poll.[150] It was shortlisted for the 1992 Mercury Music Prize.[151] At the 35th Annual Grammy Awards, Achtung Baby won the award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and was nominated for Album of the Year,[152][153] and it earned Lanois and Eno the award for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical).[152] At the American Music Awards of 1993, Achtung Baby was nominated for Favorite Pop/Rock Album,[154] and at the Juno Awards of 1993, it was nominated for Best Selling Album (Foreign or Domestic).[155] In 2024, Achtung Baby was selected as the winner of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize for Classic Irish Album.[156]

Commercial performance[edit]

Achtung Baby performed well commercially; in the US, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Top Albums on 7 December 1991,[157] having sold 295,000 copies in its first week.[118] The album fell to number three the following week,[158] but spent its first 13 weeks on the chart within the top ten.[159] In total, it spent 101 weeks on the Billboard 200 Top Albums.[160] On 21 January 1992, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it double-platinum.[161] Achtung Baby peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart and spent 93 weeks on the chart, five of which were in the top ten.[162] In other regions, it topped the RPM 100 in Canada,[163] the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia, and the RIANZ Top 40 Albums in New Zealand.[121] The record sold 7 million copies worldwide in its first three months on sale,[80] and by the end of 1992, it had sold 10 million copies.[164]

According to Nielsen Soundscan, Achtung Baby had sold 4.9 million copies in the US by February 1997[165] and 5.5 million copies by March 2009.[166] It has been certified 8× platinum in the US by the RIAA.[161] The record has been certified 5× platinum in Australia,[167] 4× platinum in the UK,[168] and diamond in Canada, the highest certification award.[169] Overall, 18 million copies have been sold worldwide.[170] It is U2's second-highest-selling record after The Joshua Tree, which has sold 25 million copies.[170]

Zoo TV Tour[edit]

An elaborate concert stage set bearing a logo that reads "Zoo TV", set in a dark stadium. Towers reach into the night sky, illuminated in blue with red warning lights on top.
The Zoo TV Tour was a multimedia-intensive event, featuring a stage that used dozens of video screens.

Following the release of Achtung Baby, U2 staged a worldwide concert tour, titled the Zoo TV Tour. Like Achtung Baby, the tour was intended to deviate from the band's past. In contrast to the austere stage setups of previous U2 tours, Zoo TV was an elaborately staged multimedia event.[104] It satirised television and the viewing public's overstimulation by attempting to instill "sensory overload" in its audience.[62][171][172] The stage featured large video screens that showed visual effects, random video clips from pop culture, and flashing text phrases. The shows incorporated channel surfing, prank calls, video confessionals, a belly dancer, and live satellite transmissions with war-torn Sarajevo.[137]

Whereas the group were known for their earnest live act in the 1980s, their Zoo TV performances were intentionally ironic and self-deprecating;[62] on stage, Bono portrayed several characters he conceived, including "The Fly", "Mirror Ball Man", and "MacPhisto". The majority of the album's songs were played at each show, and the set lists began with up to eight consecutive Achtung Baby songs as a further sign that they were no longer the U2 of the 1980s.[173]

The tour began in February 1992 and comprised 157 shows over almost two years.[174] During a six-month break, the band recorded the album Zooropa, which was released in July 1993. It was inspired by Zoo TV and expanded on its themes of technology and media oversaturation.[172] By the time the tour concluded in December 1993, it had sold about 5.3 million tickets[175] and reportedly grossed US$151 million.[176][177] In 2002, Q magazine said the Zoo TV Tour was "still the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band".[47] The tour's 27 November 1993 concert in Sydney was filmed and commercially released as Zoo TV: Live from Sydney by PolyGram in May 1994.[178]


Retrospective professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic93/100 (2011)[179]
Review scores
The A.V. ClubA[180]
Entertainment WeeklyA[182]
Record Collector[186]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[187]

For the band, Achtung Baby was a watershed that secured their creative future,[54] and its success led to the group's continued musical experimentation during the 1990s. Zooropa, released in 1993, was a further departure for the band, incorporating additional dance music influences and electronic effects into their sound.[172] In 1995, U2 and Brian Eno collaborated on the experimental/ambient album Original Soundtracks 1 under the pseudonym "Passengers".[171] For Pop in 1997, the group's experiences with dance club culture and their usage of tape loops, programming, rhythm sequencing, and sampling resulted in their most dance-oriented album.[171]

Achtung Baby is highly regarded among the members of U2. Mullen said: "I thought it was a great record. I was very proud of it. Its success was by no means preordained. It was a real break from what we had done before and we didn't know if our fans would like it or not."[54] Bono called the album a "pivot point" in the band's career, saying, "Making Achtung Baby is the reason we're still here now."[36] Clayton concurred, saying: "If we hadn't done something we were excited about, that made us apprehensive and challenged everything we stood for, then there would really have been no reason to carry on... If it hadn't been a great record by our standards, the existence of the band would have been threatened."[54] The group's reinvention occurred at the peak of the alternative rock movement, when the genre was achieving widespread mainstream popularity. Bill Flanagan pointed out that many of U2's 1980s contemporaries struggled commercially with albums released after the turn of the decade. He argued that U2, however, were able to take advantage of the alternative rock movement and ensure a successful future by "set[ting] themselves up as the first of the new groups rather than the last of the old".[189] Toby Creswell echoed these sentiments in his 2006 music reference book 1001 Songs, writing that the album helped U2 avoid "becoming parodies of themselves and being swept aside by the grunge and techno revolutions".[190] AllMusic called the album "a pivotal moment for dance-rock, happening late in the game but showing that even the biggest young band in the world had an eye on the dancefloor".[191] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the band's musical transformation "thorough", "effective", and "endlessly inventive". He concluded that few artists at that stage in their career could have "recorded an album as adventurous or fulfilled their ambitions quite as successfully as U2 [did]".[58] A 2010 retrospective by Spin said that "U2 became the emblematic band of the alternative-rock era with Achtung Baby."[192]

"The album accomplished a feat artists love to undertake but rarely pull off: the public image reinvention and stylistic about-face that is so masterful it silences all the doubters. Even as the 21st century has seen U2 return to stadium-friendly rock postures, there are elements in the group's music (Bono's falsetto, the casual flirtation with danceable grooves, the quartet's continued ability to take itself less than seriously when necessary) that are still derived from those heady days in a Berlin studio. The biggest band in the world wouldn't hold that title today if it hadn't taken one hell of a chance at the exact right time with a record that proved more than strong enough to warrant that gamble."

 —AJ Ramirez of PopMatters, in 2011[193]

Achtung Baby has been acclaimed by writers and music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 1997, The Guardian collated worldwide data from a range of renowned critics, artists, and radio DJs, who placed the record at number 71 on a list of the "100 Best Albums Ever".[194] The record was ranked 36th in Colin Larkin's 2000 book All Time Top 1000 Albums.[195] In 2003, the National Association of Recording Merchandisers ranked it at number 45 on its "Definitive 200" list,[196][197] while USA Today featured it on their list of the top 40 albums of all time.[198] Rolling Stone placed the record at number 62 on its 2003 list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[199] Subsequent updates to the list re-ranked the album: the 2012 version ranked it 63rd, calling it "a prescient mix of sleek rock and pulsing Euro grooves" while saying "the emotional turmoil made U2 sound more human than ever";[200] the 2020 version of the list ranked it 124th.[201] In 2006, the album appeared on a number of all-time lists, including Hot Press's "100 Greatest Albums Ever" at number 21,[202] Time's list of "The All-Time 100 Albums",[203] and the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[204] VH1 ranked it 65th on the "100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll" episode of its television series The Greatest.[205] Entertainment Weekly's 2013 list of the "All-Time Greatest" albums ranked the record 23rd, saying that instead of "coast[ing] forever on the cinematic storytelling they mastered on the excellently righteous The Joshua Tree", the group "ripped up the rule book" with Achtung Baby.[206] The record topped Spin's list of the 125 most influential albums from 1985 to 2010; writer Charles Aaron said: "Unlike Radiohead with OK Computer and Kid A, U2 took their post-industrial, trad-rock disillusionment not as a symbol of overall cultural malaise, but as a challenge to buck up and transcend... Struggling to simultaneously embrace and blow up the world, they were never more inspirational."[192]

Reissues and commemorations[edit]

20th anniversary releases[edit]

The 20th anniversary of Achtung Baby was marked by several releases in 2011. At the band's request, a documentary film about the album entitled From the Sky Down was produced. It was directed by Davis Guggenheim, who previously collaborated with the Edge for the documentary It Might Get Loud in 2008.[207] From the Sky Down documents the album's difficult recording period, the band members' relationships, and U2's creative process.[208] Archival footage and stills from the recording sessions appear in the film, along with unreleased scenes from Rattle and Hum. For the documentary, the band were filmed during a return visit to Hansa Studios and during rehearsals for the Glastonbury Festival 2011.[209] The film premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, becoming the first documentary to open the festival,[210] and in October, it was broadcast on multiple television networks worldwide.[211][212][213]

On 31 October 2011, Achtung Baby was reissued in five formats. In addition to a single-disc release of the album, a deluxe edition included a bonus disc of remixes and B-sides from the album's five singles, and a vinyl edition included the album on two LPs with two additional LPs of remixes.[214] The 10-disc "Super Deluxe" and "Über Deluxe" editions included: the Zooropa album; three additional CDs with remixes, B-sides, and outtakes;[215] a "kindergarten" disc with nascent versions of Achtung Baby's 12 songs;[216] four DVDs containing From the Sky Down, the Zoo TV: Live from Sydney concert film, music videos, and other bonus material; 16 art prints; and a hardback book. The "Über Deluxe" edition also contains a double-vinyl copy of the album, five 7-inch vinyl singles, a copy of U2's fan club magazine Propaganda, and a replica of Bono's "Fly" sunglasses.[215] The media initially reported that the reissue was a remastered release.[217] However, the reissue's official website initially excluded any mention of "remastering" before adding it and then removing it.[218] The Edge confirmed that the album was not fully remastered since "the original was so right" and so much "artistry had gone into the original EQ'ing" but did say that they were able to "optimize it... tweak the levels, give it a bit of a polish".[219] "Blow Your House Down", an outtake included in the deluxe editions, was released as a promotional single in October 2011.[220]

Q commissioned an Achtung Baby tribute album, entitled AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered, that was included in the magazine's December 2011 issue. It features performances by Jack White, Depeche Mode, Damien Rice, Gavin Friday, Glasvegas, The Fray, Patti Smith, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Nine Inch Nails, and Garbage.[221][222]

Subsequent reissues and releases[edit]

Continuing a campaign by U2 to reissue all of their records on vinyl, Achtung Baby was re-released on two 180-gram vinyl records on 27 July 2018.[223] Unlike the 2011 reissue, the album was remastered for its 2018 reissue,[224] with direction from the Edge.[225] Each copy includes a download card that can be used to redeem a digital copy of the album.[224]

In 2021, Achtung Baby was re-released in several formats for its 30th anniversary: standard black vinyl and deluxe colour vinyl editions were released on 19 November, followed by a 50-track digital box set on 3 December. The band also collaborated with Thierry Noir on an art installation held at Hansa Studios; Noir, who painted the original Trabants featured in the album photography, contributed new artwork to a Trabant and a section of the Berlin Wall for the exhibition.[226] The bonnet of the car was auctioned to benefit the Berlin Institute for Sound and Music.[227]

In January 2024, a Dolby Atmos surround sound mix of Achtung Baby was digitally released to streaming platforms. It was the first album from U2's catalogue to be released in the format. Mixing was done in five studios globally over a 17-month period.[228][229]

Concert residency at Sphere[edit]

From September 2023 to March 2024, U2 staged a 40-date concert residency called U2:UV Achtung Baby Live to inaugurate the Sphere in the Las Vegas Valley. The shows were focused on Achtung Baby and leveraged the venue's immersive video and sound capabilities. Mullen did not participate in the concerts in order to recuperate from surgery,[230] marking the first time since 1978 that U2 performed without him;[231] Dutch drummer Bram van den Berg from the band Krezip filled in.[230]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Bono; all music is composed by U2

Achtung Baby track listing
1."Zoo Station"Daniel Lanois4:36
2."Even Better Than the Real Thing"Steve Lillywhite, with Brian Eno and Lanois3:41
3."One"Lanois with Eno4:36
4."Until the End of the World"Lanois with Eno4:39
5."Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"Lillywhite, Lanois, and Eno5:16
6."So Cruel"Lanois5:49
7."The Fly"Lanois4:29
8."Mysterious Ways"Lanois with Eno4:04
9."Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World"Lanois with Eno3:53
10."Ultraviolet (Light My Way)"Lanois with Eno5:31
12."Love Is Blindness"Lanois4:23
Total length:55:27



Song charts performance
Year Title Chart peak positions
1991 "The Fly" 1 1 16 1 61
"Mysterious Ways" 1 3 1 13 9
"One" 1 4 1 7 10
"Even Better Than the Real Thing" 3 11 3 8 32
"Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" 4 9 5 14 35
"Until the End of the World" 69
"–" denotes a release that did not chart.


Sales certifications
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[276] Platinum 60,000^
Australia (ARIA)[167] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[277] Platinum 50,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[279] Gold 180,000[278]
Canada (Music Canada)[169] Diamond 1,000,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[280] 2× Platinum 40,000
France (SNEP)[281] 2× Platinum 600,000*
Germany (BVMI)[282] Platinum 500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[283]
sales since 2009
Gold 25,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[284] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[285] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[286] 5× Platinum 75,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[287] Platinum 50,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[288] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[289] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[290] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[168] 4× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[161]
8× Platinum 8,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[291]
Platinum 100,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.



  1. ^ The recording location is credited in the album's liner notes as "Dog Town", based on the band's nickname for the house. Its official name is Elsinore.
  2. ^ a b c The three "interference" segments combined for a total running length of 25:46, according to the video release notes.
  3. ^ According to Spin magazine's rating key at the time, a yellow circle was the second on a scale of three colored circles and indicated an album that is "pretty good" but relatively inessential.[142]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "(Ăhk-to͝ong Bāy-bi) Covered". Propaganda. No. 15. U2 World Service. 1991. Archived from the original on 10 September 2013 – via atu2.com.
  2. ^ Dalton, Stephen (October 2003). "How the West Was Won". Uncut. No. 77.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Fricke, David (1 October 1992). "U2 Finds What It's Looking For". Rolling Stone. No. 640. pp. 40+. Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
  4. ^ Stokes (2005), p. 78
  5. ^ a b Sullivan, Jim (22 February 1989). "'U2 Rattle and Hum': Lighten up!". The Boston Globe. p. 46.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Gardner, Elysa (9 January 1992). "U2's 'Achtung Baby': Bring the Noise". Rolling Stone. No. 621. p. 51. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  7. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 4
  8. ^ Flanagan (1996), pp. 25, 27–28
  9. ^ a b McCormick (2006), p. 213
  10. ^ McGee (2008), p. 129
  11. ^ de la Parra (1994), pp. 138–139
  12. ^ a b c d e Eno, Brian (28 November 1991). "Bringing Up Baby". Rolling Stone. No. 618. pp. 42+.
  13. ^ McCormick (2006), pp. 204–207
  14. ^ a b c d McCormick (2006), p. 215
  15. ^ Bailie, Stuart (October 2001). "Not Quite Better Than the Real Thing". Q. No. 182.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g McCormick (2006), p. 216
  17. ^ a b c McGee (2008), p. 132
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i McCormick (2006), pp. 216, 221
  19. ^ a b c d e f Graham (2004), p. 43
  20. ^ a b Gardner (1994), p. xxv
  21. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (1 May 2005). "Moving On". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 4.
  22. ^ a b "Eno". Propaganda. No. 16. U2 World Service. Spring–Summer 1992.
  23. ^ DeRogatis (2003), p. 194
  24. ^ a b c d e f Tingen, Paul (March 1994). "ROBBIE ADAMS: U2's Achtung Baby & Zooropa". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  25. ^ a b c Graham (2004), p. 44
  26. ^ a b Flanagan (1996), pp. 6–7
  27. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 2
  28. ^ Bieger, Hannes (June 2012). "Hansa Tonstudio, Berlin". Sound on Sound. Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  29. ^ "The Berlin Sessions". Propaganda. No. 14. U2 World Service. 1991.
  30. ^ Graham (1996), p. 28
  31. ^ a b c d e f McCormick (2006), pp. 221–224
  32. ^ Stokes (2005), p. 104
  33. ^ Flanagan (1996), pp. 9
  34. ^ a b c Flanagan (1996), pp. 10–11
  35. ^ a b Stokes (2005), p. 98
  36. ^ a b c U2, Davis Guggenheim (director) (2011). From the Sky Down (film). BBC Worldwide Canada.
  37. ^ a b Flanagan (1996), pp. 11–12
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McGee (2008), pp. 134–135
  39. ^ a b c d e f g U2 (1991). Achtung Baby (CD booklet). Island Records.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McCormick (2006), pp. 224–225, 227, 232
  41. ^ a b c d Stokes (2005), p. 96
  42. ^ McCormick (2006), p. 225
  43. ^ a b Light, Alan (4 March 1993). "Behind the Fly". Rolling Stone. No. 651. pp. 42+. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  44. ^ Brown, Mark (19 November 2004). "Leaking of CDs on internet on the rise". Rocky Mountain News. p. 26D.
  45. ^ Lowry, Max (13 July 2008). "The Lost Masters: The Ones That Got Away". The Observer. sec. Observer Music Magazine, p. 34.
  46. ^ a b O'Hagan, Sean (September 1992). "U2 Anew". Details. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  47. ^ a b Doyle, Tom (November 2002). "10 Years of Turmoil Inside U2". Q. No. 196.
  48. ^ "Lanois". Propaganda. No. 14. U2 World Service. 1991.
  49. ^ Gill, Andy (June 1995). "Brian Eno". Mojo. No. 19. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  50. ^ Gill, Andy (May 2001). "Brian Eno: 'So Why Are We Doing This?'". Mojo. No. 91. Archived from the original on 19 March 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  51. ^ a b Graham (2004), p. 45
  52. ^ a b Flanagan (1996), p. 19
  53. ^ McGee (2008), p. 137
  54. ^ a b c d e f g h i McCormick (2006), p. 232
  55. ^ Fielder, Hugh (October 1993). "New 'Zooropa' Revue". Pulse!.
  56. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (14 October 1993). "Zoo World Order". Rolling Stone. No. 667. pp. 48–54+.
  57. ^ a b c Graham, Jill (29 November 1991). "Album review: Achtung Baby". The New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  58. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Achtung Baby – U2". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 3 June 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  59. ^ Howell, Peter (3 September 1992). "What U2 is broadcasting on Zoo TV channel". Toronto Star. p. E2.
  60. ^ Hilburn, Robert (8 March 1992). "Soul-searching for a '90s Sound". Newsday. section Fanfare, pp. 13+.
  61. ^ Mueller, Andrew. "U2 – The Joshua Tree Re-Mastered (R1987)". Uncut. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  62. ^ a b c d e f Dalton, Stephen (November 2004). "Achtung Stations". Uncut. No. 90. p. 52.
  63. ^ a b c Fast (2000), pp. 45–48
  64. ^ Snider, Eric (29 November 1991). "Too Much of a New Thing". St. Petersburg Times. sec. Weekend, p. 21.
  65. ^ a b c d Morse, Steve (15 November 1991). "U2 bounces back". The Boston Globe. pp. 53–54. Archived from the original on 12 December 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  66. ^ a b c Gettelman, Parry (6 December 1991). "U2, Achtung Baby". Orlando Sentinel. sec. Calendar, p. 8. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  67. ^ a b c d Wyman, Bill (29 November 1991). "Burn, Bono, Burn". Entertainment Weekly. No. 94. p. 90. Archived from the original on 20 February 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  68. ^ Gray, Christopher (30 March 2001). "Review – U2: Achtung Baby". Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  69. ^ Graham (2004), p. 47
  70. ^ a b c Stokes (2005), p. 102
  71. ^ Zak (2001), pp. 68–70
  72. ^ Fast (2000), pp. 49–50
  73. ^ a b Hilburn, Robert (8 August 2004). "'Where craft ends and spirit begins'". Los Angeles Times. pp. E1, E40–E41. Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  74. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (17 November 1991). "U2 Takes a Turn From the Universal To the Domestic". The New York Times (National ed.). sec. Arts and Leisure, p. 29. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  75. ^ a b Graham (2004), p. 49
  76. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 31
  77. ^ a b Graham (2004), p. 46
  78. ^ Stokes (2005), p. 100
  79. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 82
  80. ^ a b de la Parra (1994), p. 139
  81. ^ a b c Hilburn, Robert (17 November 1991). "U2's Daring Descent into Darkness". Los Angeles Times. section Calendar, p. 58. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  82. ^ The Edge (interviewee) (8 September 2021). "U2 and More Part 2". Tom Morello's Maximum Firepower. Sirius XM. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  83. ^ Flanagan (1996), pp. 14–15; Assayas (2005), pp. 64–66
  84. ^ "U2". Legends. Season 1. Episode 6. 11 December 1998. VH1. Maybe it summed up the way we felt as a band, trying to kind of go somewhere, but not being able to at the time.
  85. ^ "Beyonce, U2 draw fans at MTV Europe Music Awards". USA Today. Associated Press. 5 November 2009. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  86. ^ a b Graham (2004), p. 50
  87. ^ a b Stokes (2005), p. 108
  88. ^ a b c d Snow, Mat (December 1991). "U2: Achtung Baby". Q. No. 63. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  89. ^ a b Flanagan (1996), p. 20
  90. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 187
  91. ^ a b c Stokes, Niall (14 November 1991). "Review: Achtung Baby". Hot Press. Vol. 15, no. 22. Archived from the original on 6 February 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  92. ^ Stokes (2005), p. 95
  93. ^ Stokes (2005), p. 107
  94. ^ Brothers (1999), p. 257
  95. ^ Gilmour (2005), pp. 66, 76
  96. ^ Stein (1999), pp. 269–272
  97. ^ Catanzarite (2007), pp. 1–3
  98. ^ Davies, Jim (March–April 1998). "Rolling on the River Liffey". Print. Vol. 52, no. 2. pp. 178–183.
  99. ^ a b c d Averill, Gareth (12 June 2023). "Chapter 7 - Achtung Baby". U2-Y (Podcast). Retrieved 7 September 2023 – via Google Podcasts.
  100. ^ a b McGee (2008), p. 138
  101. ^ McGee (2008), p. 133
  102. ^ McGee (2008), p. 136
  103. ^ McCormick (2006), p. 237
  104. ^ a b c "Zoo TV Station Talent". Propaganda. No. 16. U2 World Service. Spring–Summer 1992. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013 – via atu2.com.
  105. ^ "Achtung Baby at 30". Phillips. 9 December 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  106. ^ "Trabantland." Zoo TV: Live from Sydney (DVD). Special Edition: Island / UMG. 2006.
  107. ^ Godson (2003), p. 38
  108. ^ a b c Tesh, John (host) (19 November 1991). "November 19, 1991". Entertainment Tonight. NBC. Retrieved 10 September 2023.
  109. ^ "Newsbites". Orange County Register. 14 November 1991. sec. Show, p. F04.
  110. ^ McGrath, Shaughn (15 November 2011). "U2 Achtung Baby – a look back". AMP Visual. Archived from the original on 22 January 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  111. ^ "50 Greatest Album Covers". The Greatest. Episode 088. 20 September 2003. VH1.
  112. ^ McCormick (2006), p. 234
  113. ^ "achtung : German » English". Pons.eu. Archived from the original on 1 November 2015. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  114. ^ "University of Exeter". The 3rd Degree. Series 13. Episode 1. 3 July 2023. BBC. BBC Radio 4.
  115. ^ a b Flanagan (1996), pp. 21–22
  116. ^ a b Bailie, Stuart (13 June 1992). "Rock and Roll Should Be This Big!". NME.
  117. ^ Gardner, Elysa (21 December 1990). "U2 Can Dance". Entertainment Weekly. No. 45. p. 10. Archived from the original on 21 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  118. ^ a b Vanderknyff, Rick (8 May 1993). "Positively Outspoken Negativland". Los Angeles Times. section Calendar, p. 1. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  119. ^ a b c d e f g "U2". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  120. ^ a b c d "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2009. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  121. ^ a b c d e "U2 – Achtung Baby". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  122. ^ a b c d "Chart History – U2: Hot 100". Billboard. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  123. ^ Browne, David (15 November 1991). "U2's Achtung Baby reaches record stores". Entertainment Weekly. No. 92. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  124. ^ a b c Duffy, Thom (16 November 1991). "New U2 Relies on Fans, Not Fanfare". Billboard. Vol. 103, no. 46. pp. 1, 77–78.
  125. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (7 November 1991). "Achtung! Saint Bono". The Guardian. p. 26.
  126. ^ "Achtung Baby". U2.com. Live Nation. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  127. ^ a b "U2 Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  128. ^ a b c "U2 Chart History: Mainstream Rock". Billboard. Archived from the original on 3 November 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  129. ^ a b c d Peak positions for U2's songs on the Canadian singles chart:
  130. ^ "U2's One named 'greatest record'". BBC News Online. 18 November 2003. Archived from the original on 5 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  131. ^ Kavanagh, Mark (16 August 2001). "Better Than the Real Thing?". Hot Press. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  132. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music Week. 21 November 1992. p. 17 – via World Radio History.
  133. ^ U2 (1991). Until the End of the World (CD). United States: Island Records. PRCD 6704-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  134. ^ U2 (1992). Salomé (CD). United Kingdom: Island Records. 12IS550DJ.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  135. ^ U2 (1992). Zoo Station (CD). United States: Island Records. PR12 6715-1.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  136. ^ Harrington, Richard (23 September 1992). "On the Beat; Rousing the Bodies Politic". The Washington Post. p. F7.
  137. ^ a b c "Sixty-Nine Things You May Not Have Known About Life in the Zoo". Propaganda. No. 17. U2 World Service. Winter 1992–1993.
  138. ^ McGee (2008), p. 168
  139. ^ "Canadian album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby: The Videos". Music Canada.
  140. ^ Muretich, James (15 November 1991). "U2: New wrinkles, familiar feel". Calgary Herald. p. D1.
  141. ^ a b Kot, Greg (17 November 1991). "U2 Loosens Up". Chicago Tribune. sec. Arts, p. 6. Archived from the original on 23 December 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  142. ^ a b c Greer, Jim (December 1991). "Platter du Jour: U2, Achtung Baby, Island". Spin. Vol. 7, no. 9. sec. Spins, p. 106. Archived from the original on 7 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  143. ^ Sweeting, Adam (21 November 1991). "A danceable solution amidst revolution". The Guardian. p. 29.
  144. ^ Christgau, Robert (21 April 1992). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  145. ^ Christgau, Robert (18 January 1994). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 15 August 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  146. ^ McGee (2008), p. 159
  147. ^ "Annual Top 10 Lists of Weekend Music Critics". The Washington Post. 27 December 1991. sec. Weekend, p. N08.
  148. ^ Morse, Steve (19 December 1991). "Top 10 Records of 1991". The Boston Globe. sec. Calendar, p. 13.
  149. ^ Corcoran, Michael (29 December 1991). "Creating a pop music Nirvana". Chicago Sun-Times.
  150. ^ "Pazz & Jop: Top 10 Albums By Year, 1971-2016". The Village Voice. 22 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 August 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  151. ^ Clark-Meads, Jeff (1 August 1992). "Brits Push Exposure for Mercury Noms". Billboard. Vol. 104, no. 31. p. 36.
  152. ^ a b McAdams, Janine; Morris, Chris; Newman, Melinda (6 March 1993). "Jackson Surfaces Backstage at Grammys: Lanois Questions 'Unplugged' Album Victory". Billboard. Vol. 105, no. 10. p. 93. Archived from the original on 7 November 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  153. ^ Jaeger, Barbara (25 February 1993). "Cheers for Clapton: Guitar Great Picks Up Six Awards at Grammys". The Record. p. C09.
  154. ^ "Jackson Wins 3 American Music Awards". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 26 January 1993. sec. Part A, Metro Desk, p. 17. Archived from the original on 13 October 2019. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  155. ^ "Past Nominees + Winners". Juno Awards. Archived from the original on 1 September 2021. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  156. ^ Kelly, Caroline (22 February 2024). "U2's Achtung Baby wins RTÉ Choice Music Prize for Classic Irish Album". Hot Press. Retrieved 22 February 2024.
  157. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week of December 7, 1991". Billboard. Archived from the original on 19 February 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  158. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week of December 14, 1991". Billboard. Archived from the original on 27 September 2020. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  159. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week of March 7, 1992". Billboard. Archived from the original on 19 February 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018. Note: Top-ten charting duration must be manually verified by navigating between weekly charts.
  160. ^ a b "U2 Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  161. ^ a b c "American album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby". Recording Industry Association of America.
  162. ^ "Achtung Baby by U2". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  163. ^ a b "RPM100 Albums (CD & Cassettes)". RPM. Vol. 55, no. 2. 14 December 1991. p. 10. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  164. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 133
  165. ^ Crowe, Jerry (25 February 1997). "For U2, Aerosmith, Bang the Drums Very Loudly". Los Angeles Times. p. F12. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  166. ^ "FACTBOX: New U2 album is No. 1 in 30 countries". Reuters. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  167. ^ a b "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1998 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association.
  168. ^ a b "British album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby". British Phonographic Industry.
  169. ^ a b "Canadian album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby". Music Canada.
  170. ^ a b Rayner, Ben (10 September 2014). "U2's Songs of Innocence delivers a few surprises". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  171. ^ a b c Tyaransen, Olaf (4 December 2002). "Closer to the Edge". Hot Press. Vol. 26, no. 23. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  172. ^ a b c Browne, David (9 July 1993). "Future rock". Entertainment Weekly. No. 178. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  173. ^ McGee (2008), p. 143
  174. ^ "The Zoo TV Tour". U2.com. Live Nation. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  175. ^ Cogan (2008), p. 154
  176. ^ Armstrong, Stephen (5 January 2018). "Inside the Amish town that builds U2, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift's live shows". Wired. Archived from the original on 6 May 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  177. ^ Smith, Nathan (12 September 2014). "Five More Epic '80s Tours That Deserve The Wall Treatment". Houston Press. Archived from the original on 12 August 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  178. ^ Applefield, Catherine, ed. (21 May 1994). "Video Previews". Billboard. Vol. 106, no. 21. p. 61.
  179. ^ "Achtung Baby [Super Deluxe] by U2 Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 29 July 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  180. ^ Hyden, Steven (1 November 2011). "U2: Achtung Baby". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 9 April 2023. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  181. ^ "U2: Achtung Baby". Blender. Vol. 4, no. 3. April 2005. p. 138.
  182. ^ Anderson, Kyle (26 October 2011). "Achtung Baby: Uber Deluxe Edition review – U2". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 31 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  183. ^ Eccleston, Danny (December 2011). "All that glitters...". Mojo. No. 217. p. 109.
  184. ^ Dombal, Ryan (9 November 2011). "U2: Achtung Baby [Super Deluxe Edition]". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 10 November 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  185. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (December 2011). "U2: Achtung Baby". Q. No. 305. p. 138.
  186. ^ Staunton, Terry (December 2011). "Achtung Baby | U2". Record Collector. No. 395. Archived from the original on 28 August 2023. Retrieved 28 August 2023.
  187. ^ Considine, J. D.; Brackett, Nathan (2004). "U2". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 833–834. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  188. ^ Dalton, Stephen (November 2011). "U2: Achtung Baby: 20th Anniversary Edition". Uncut. No. 174. p. 100.
  189. ^ Flanagan (1996), p. 213
  190. ^ Creswell (2006), pp. 377–378
  191. ^ "Pop/Rock " Dance " Dance-Rock". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  192. ^ a b Aaron, Charles (22 April 2010). "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years: 1 – U2, Achtung Baby". Spin. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  193. ^ Ramirez, AJ (11 November 2011). "U2: Achtung Baby (20th Anniversary Edition)". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  194. ^ "The Top 100 Albums". The Guardian (Features insert). 19 September 1997. p. A2.
  195. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 51. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  196. ^ "Definitive 200". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2 August 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  197. ^ Hinckley, David (7 March 2007). "The single most vital thing in pop". New York Daily News. p. 36. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  198. ^ Gundersen, Edna (5 December 2003). "Top 40 albums — the USA TODAY way". USA Today. p. 2E. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  199. ^ Blashill, Pat; DeCurtis, Anthony; Edmonds, Ben; et al. (11 December 2003). "Achtung Baby: U2". Rolling Stone. No. 937. p. 113.
  200. ^ Wenner, Jann S., ed. (2012). "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. No. Special Collectors Issue. p. 37. ISBN 978-7-09-893419-6. Archived from the original on 5 December 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  201. ^ "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. No. 1344. October 2020. p. 68. Archived from the original on 19 July 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  202. ^ "Achtung Baby (21/100 Greatest Albums Ever)". Hot Press. Vol. 30, no. 7. 17 April 2006. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  203. ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (13 November 2006). "All-Time 100 Albums: Achtung Baby". Time. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  204. ^ Dimery, Robert; Lydon, Michael (2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  205. ^ "VH1's '100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll' Ranks the Beatles' 'Revolver' at #1 In All-New Special, Premiering January 15–19 at 10:00 P.M. (ET/PT)". PR Newswire. 5 January 2001. Archived from the original on 6 September 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  206. ^ Adams, Jason; Anderson, Kyle; Brunner, Rob; et al. (5–12 July 2013). "The Greatest Albums Ever". Entertainment Weekly. No. 1266/1267. sec. Music, pp. 76–83. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  207. ^ Howell, Peter (7 September 2011). "Q&A: From the Sky Down director Davis Guggenheim". Toronto.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012.
  208. ^ Wheeler, Brad (8 September 2011). "How Davis Guggenheim stumbled upon U2's breakthrough moment". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 8 September 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  209. ^ Stevenson, Jane (7 September 2011). "U2 'over the moon' with new doc". The Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
  210. ^ Pond, Steve (9 September 2011). "U2 Rocks Toronto, Launches Film Fest". Reuters. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  211. ^ Hyden, Steven (29 October 2011). "From The Sky Down". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  212. ^ "U2 documentary airs on BBC". Hot Press. 22 September 2011. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  213. ^ Benzine, Adam (15 November 2011). "Super Channel picks up Guggenheim's U2 doc". RealScreen.com. Archived from the original on 22 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  214. ^ Young, Alex (4 August 2011). "U2 details Achtung Baby reissues". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on 2 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  215. ^ a b Lapatine, Scott (4 August 2011). "Deluxe Achtung Baby Details". Stereogum. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  216. ^ Greene, Andy (10 November 2011). "When U2 Chopped Down the Joshua Tree". Rolling Stone. No. 1143. p. 82. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  217. ^ Goodman, William (4 August 2011). "U2 Unveil Massive 'Achtung Baby' Boxset". Spin. Archived from the original on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  218. ^ McGee, Matt (21 October 2011). "Achtung Baby: Not Remastered, After All". atU2.com. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  219. ^ The Edge (24 October 2011). "U2's The Edge backstage at the 2011 Q Awards after been[sic] named the Greatest Act of the Last 25 Years". Q (Interview). Archived from the original on 6 December 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  220. ^ McGee, Matt (4 November 2011). "U2's New Single: 'Blow Your House Down'". atU2.com. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  221. ^ Bliss, Karen (9 September 2011). "Bono Announces 'Achtung Baby' Covers Album". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2 July 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  222. ^ "Achtung Baby Covers Album to Benefit Concern Worldwide's Emergency Famine Work in East Africa" (Press release). Concern Worldwide US. PR Newswire. 15 November 2011. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  223. ^ Richards, Sam (15 June 2018). "U2 announce 2LP vinyl reissues of Achtung Baby and Zooropa". Uncut. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  224. ^ a b "U2 2LP Vinyl Reissues Achtung Baby - Zooropa - The Best Of 1980-1990" (Press release). Universal Music Enterprises. PR Newswire. 15 June 2018. Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  225. ^ U2 (2018). Achtung Baby (Vinyl reissue liner notes). Island Records. 5797009.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  226. ^ "U2 Achtung Baby 30th Anniversary Edition" (Press release). Universal Music Enterprises. PR Newswire. 15 November 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  227. ^ Brayden, Kate (15 November 2021). "U2 announce Achtung Baby (30th Anniversary Edition) with special Thierry Noir installation". Hot Press. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  228. ^ Sams, Aaron J. (23 January 2024). "New Remaster of Achtung Baby in Dolby Atmos Now!". U2Songs.com. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  229. ^ Korpan, Andrew (23 January 2024). "U2 makes big Achtung Baby remaster decision with Sphere twist". ClutchPoints. Retrieved 3 February 2024.
  230. ^ a b Aswad, Jem (12 February 2023). "U2 Announces 'Achtung Baby' Concerts at New Las Vegas Venue — Without Drummer Larry Mullen Jr". Variety. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  231. ^ Bauder, David (13 February 2023). "U2 returning to stage in Las Vegas, minus one of quartet". Associated Press. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  232. ^ "Australiancharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  233. ^ "Austriancharts.at – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in German). Hung Medien.
  234. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  235. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  236. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 1992. 19. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ.
  237. ^ "Charts.nz – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  238. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  239. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  240. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  241. ^ "Swisscharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  242. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  243. ^ "Ultratop.be – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  244. ^ "Ultratop.be – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in French). Hung Medien.
  245. ^ "Lescharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  246. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography U2". Hung Medien.
  247. ^ "Italiancharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  248. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby". Hung Medien.
  249. ^ "Ultratop.be – U2 – Achtung Baby - 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition". Hung Medien.
  250. ^ "アクトン・ベイビー~ウーバー・デラックス・エディション | U2" [Achtung Baby - Uber Deluxe Edition | U2] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on 6 June 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  251. ^ "Mexicancharts.com – Achtung Baby - 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition". Hung Medien.
  252. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby - 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition". Hung Medien.
  253. ^ "South Korea Circle Album Chart". On the page, select "2011.10.30" to obtain the corresponding chart. Circle Chart
  254. ^ "South Korea Circle International Album Chart". On the page, select "2011.10.30" to obtain the corresponding chart. Circle Chart
  255. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – U2 – Achtung Baby - 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition". Hung Medien.
  256. ^ "U2 Chart History (Top Catalog Albums)". Billboard.
  257. ^ "U2 Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard.
  258. ^ "U2 Chart History (Top Tastemaker Albums)". Billboard.
  259. ^ "U2 Chart History (Vinyl Albums)". Billboard.
  260. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 50 Albums 1991". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 4 March 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  261. ^ "RPM 100 Albums (CDs & Cassettes) of 1991". RPM. Vol. 55, no. 3. 21 December 1991. p. 14. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  262. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1991" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  263. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1991". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  264. ^ "Jahreshitparade 1992". austriancharts.at (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 4 August 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  265. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Albums of 1992" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 56, no. 25. 19 December 1992. p. 13. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  266. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Album 1992" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  267. ^ "1992 Year-End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 9, no. 51/52. 19 December 1992. p. 17. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 March 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2021 – via World Radio History.
  268. ^ "Top 100 Album - Jahrescharts 1992" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Archived from the original on 6 January 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  269. ^ "Top Selling Albums of 1992". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on 8 January 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  270. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1992". hitparade.ch (in German). Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  271. ^ "Year End Charts - Top 100 Albums 1992" (PDF). Music Week. 16 January 1993. p. 10. Retrieved 7 February 2024 – via World Radio History.
  272. ^ "The Year in Music: Top Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard. Vol. 104, no. 52. 26 December 1992. p. YE-14.
  273. ^ "Top 100 Albums 1993" (PDF). Music Week. 15 January 1994. p. 25. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  274. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums - Year-End 1993". Billboard. Archived from the original on 13 January 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  275. ^ "Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - Top Pop Albums of the '90s". Billboard. Vol. 111, no. 52. 25 December 1999. p. YE-20. Archived from the original on 4 February 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  276. ^ "Discos de oro y platino" (in Spanish). Cámara Argentina de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  277. ^ "Austrian album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  278. ^ "U2". Jornal do Brasil (in Portuguese). 29 June 1993. p. 41. Retrieved 26 February 2024 – via National Library of Brazil.
  279. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in Portuguese). Pro-Música Brasil.
  280. ^ "Danish album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby". IFPI Danmark.
  281. ^ "French album certifications – U 2 – Achtung Baby" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  282. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (U2; 'Achtung Baby')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  283. ^ "Italian album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  284. ^ "Japanese album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 11 June 2019. Select 1992年1月 on the drop-down menu
  285. ^ "Dutch album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 8 August 2018. Enter Achtung Baby in the "Artiest of titel" box. Select 1991 in the drop-down menu saying "Alle jaargangen".
  286. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby". Recorded Music NZ.
  287. ^ "Zooropa Pulls in First Award in Oslo" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10, no. 35. 28 August 1993. p. 4. Retrieved 13 January 2020 – via World Radio History.
  288. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Solo Exitos 1959–2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1991–1995 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 4. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Archived from the original on 4 April 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  289. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  290. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards ('Achtung Baby')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  291. ^ "American video certifications – U2 – Achtung Baby". Recording Industry Association of America.


External links[edit]