Desire (U2 song)

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U2 des 7.jpg
Single by U2
from the album Rattle and Hum
  • "Hallelujah Here She Comes"
  • "Desire (Hollywood Remix)"
Released19 September 1988
StudioSTS Studio (Dublin)
  • U2 (music)
  • Bono (lyrics)
Producer(s)Jimmy Iovine
U2 singles chronology
"One Tree Hill"
"Angel of Harlem"
Audio sample

"Desire" is a song by Irish rock band U2 and the third track on their 1988 album, Rattle and Hum. Released as the album's lead single, "Desire" was the band's first number-one single in the UK and Australia. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., and topped both the Modern and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, the first song to reach the top of both of these charts simultaneously. It reached number two on the Dutch Top 40. At the 31st Annual Grammy Awards, "Desire" won the 1988 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[1]


U2 cite the Stooges' song "1969" as the primary influence on "Desire,"[2][3][4][5] which is an interpolation of the Bo Diddley beat.[6] The band originally recorded a demo of the song at STS Studios in Dublin. After re-recording it at A&M Studios in Los Angeles, they agreed it sounded "tighter and more accurate", but according to guitarist the Edge, "it lacked feel". As a result, they abandoned the re-recording in favour of the original demo.[7]

"Desire" debuted live on the first night of the Lovetown Tour on 21 September 1989, and appeared at almost every concert on that tour.[8] It segued into a cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower".

On the Zoo TV Tour, "Desire" was re-invented with different effects on the Edge's guitar, and it opened most encores. Bono would use the song to accentuate characteristics of his onstage alteregos Mirrorball Man and MacPhisto.[9] On the PopMart Tour, Bono and the Edge would play the song acoustically.[10] For the Elevation Tour, it was a stripped-down electric version played at the tip of a heart-shaped walkway that extended into the audience. Adam Clayton would join in with bass just before the bridge, and Larry Mullen, Jr. played along on a single drum.

On 15 October 2004, at an appearance on British television promoting the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album, Bono and Edge performed a rough electric version.[11] On the Vertigo Tour, "Desire" was not played at all on the tour's first three legs, and appeared just once in an acoustic form on the fourth leg in response to a fan's request in São Paulo.[12] It made a full electric debut at the beginning of the fifth leg at the second show in Sydney;[13] this performance was ramshackle and it was refined before appearing at four subsequent concerts. "Desire" was played sporadically during the U2 360° Tour tour, usually played in a semi-acoustic form. On one occasion,[14] it was combined with Bruce Springsteen's "She's the One." It has been played semi-regularly on the Innocence + Experience Tour during their b-stage set, often with Bono bringing someone from the crowd to play guitar with the band.

"Desire"'s B-side "Hallelujah (Here She Comes)" has never been played in full live by U2 but was debatably snippeted once during "Bullet the Blue Sky."[15]

"Desire" has appeared on two U2 compilation albums, The Best of 1980-1990 and U218 Singles.

An early version of the song appears in the form of a studio performance in the Rattle and Hum film. "Desire" has furthermore appeared on Zoo TV: Live from Sydney (as a bonus track from a different concert), PopMart: Live from Mexico City, Elevation 2001: Live from Boston, and U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle, Ireland.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Desire" was filmed in Hollywood, California and directed by Richard Lowenstein and Lynn-Maree Milburn. It is the Hollywood remix version of the song, with band members and local people in assorted places in the city, supplemented by random images pertaining to references in the song.

Track listings[edit]

MC: Island / CISX400 (promotional cassette)
1."Desire" (Hollywood remix)9:23

MC: Island / 99250-4
2."Hallelujah (Here She Comes)"4:12

12": Island / 12ISX400 (promotional 12")
1."Desire" (Hollywood remix)9:23

7": Island / IS400 and ISG400
2."Hallelujah (Here She Comes)"4:12

12": Island / 12IS400 and 12ISG400
2."Hallelujah (Here She Comes)"4:12
3."Desire" (Hollywood remix)5:23

CD: Island / CIDP400
2."Hallelujah (Here She Comes)"4:12
3."Desire" (Hollywood remix)5:23


  • Bono – lead vocals, harmonica
  • The Edge – guitar, backing vocals
  • Adam Clayton – bass guitar
  • Larry Mullen Jr. – drums, percussion
  • Alexandra Brown – backing vocals on Hollywood Remix
  • Edna Wright – backing vocals on Hollywood Remix

Chart positions[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1988) Position
Canada RPM Top 100 Singles[33] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[34] 56
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Winners: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal". Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  2. ^ U2 (2006). McCormick, Neil (ed.). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollins. p. 217. ISBN 0-00-719668-7.
  3. ^ Graham, Bill; Van Oosten De Boer, Caroline (2004). U2: The Complete Guide to Their Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0711998868.
  4. ^ Stokes, Niall (2005). U2: Into The Heart: The Stories Behind Every Song. Da Capo Press. p. 81. ISBN 1560257652.
  5. ^ Kootnikoff, David (2010). U2: A Musical Biography. ISBN 9780313365232.
  6. ^ Ratliff, Ben (3 June 2008). "Bo Diddley: The Beat That Will Go On". The New York Times (New York ed.). p. E1. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  7. ^ Stokes, Niall (29 November 2006). "U2: The Stories Behind Their Greatest Songs". Hot Press. Vol. 30 no. 23. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  8. ^, Lovetown Tour, accessed 22 May 2007
  9. ^, 1992-02-29, Lakeland Arena, accessed 22 May 2007
  10. ^, 1997-09-11, Estadio Jose Alvalade, accessed 22 May 2007
  11. ^, 2004-10-15, BBC carpark, accessed 22 May 2007
  12. ^, 2006-02-21, Morumbi, accessed 22 May 2007
  13. ^, 2006-11-11, Telstra Stadium, accessed 22 May 2007
  14. ^ "U2 East Rutherford, 2009-09-23, Giants Stadium, 360° Tour - U2 on tour". Retrieved 2014-03-30.
  15. ^, Setlist Of The Week #7: B-Sides Live, accessed 22 May 2007
  16. ^ " – U2 – Desire". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  17. ^ " – U2 – Desire" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  18. ^ " – U2 – Desire" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "RPM100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 5. 19 November 1988. p. 6.
  20. ^ " – U2 – Desire" (in French). Les classement single.
  21. ^ " – U2 – Desire". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  22. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2009. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  23. ^
  24. ^ " – U2 – Desire". Top Digital Download.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – U2" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  26. ^ " – U2 – Desire". Top 40 Singles.
  27. ^ " – U2 – Desire". VG-lista.
  28. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  29. ^ " – U2 – Desire". Singles Top 100.
  30. ^ " – U2 – Desire". Swiss Singles Chart.
  31. ^ " search results: U2". Archived from the original on 18 July 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2009. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  32. ^ a b c d "U2: Charts & Awards: Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '88" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 10. 24 December 1988. p. 9.
  34. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1988". Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-31.

External links[edit]