GRAMMY Rewind: U2 Win Their First-Ever GRAMMY For 'The Joshua Tree' In 1988

U2 at 1988 GRAMMYs


GRAMMY Rewind: U2 Win Their First-Ever GRAMMY For 'The Joshua Tree' In 1988

For the latest episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the "With Or Without You" act's first GRAMMY wins for their fifth studio album, 'The Joshua Tree,' at the 30th GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Aug 8, 2020 - 01:13 am

Back in 1987, Irish rock icons U2 were a favorite rising act of college radio DJs and Bono had yet to discover his love of sunglasses. It was the year they released their momentous chart-topping fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree, shortly after which Time declared them "rock's hottest ticket" with a cover story. The classic album not only put them on the map as socially conscious rock gods, it earned the group earned their first four GRAMMY nominations and first two wins. 

Read: Bono Names 60 Songs That Saved His Life On His 60th Birthday Playlist

For the latest episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the "With Or Without You" act's first-ever GRAMMY win, for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal at the 30th GRAMMY Awards.

With Bono and The Edge and Adam Clayton rocking choice steampunk looks, the quartet, also consisting of Larry Mullen Jr., accepted the award with big smiles as The Edge did the talking.  

"I don't know about you, but I'm still recovering from Whitney Houston," he said during the laugh and applause-filled speech, pulling out a paper and offering thanks to their lawyer, manager and "everyone at college radio, I don't know where we'd be without them."

The guitarist also thanked Jack Healy and Amnesty International, who hosted the 1986 Conspiracy of Hope U.S. benefit tour they took part in, along with Sting, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Bryan Adams.

Watch: Flashback To Whitney Houston's 1985 Hit "Saving All My Love For You" | For The Record

He also gave gratitude to social justice heroes Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King Jr., before moving into joking territory, offering thanks to Batman and Robin, Donald Duck "and, of course, [then President] Ronald Regan" whose name he ended on with a facetious, winking grin.

Another Great GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Jennifer Hudson Pay Tribute To Whitney Houston At The 54th GRAMMY Awards

Later in the evening, they took home the coveted Album Of The Year award for The Joshua Tree. It's unforgettable single "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was nominated for both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year.

The 1987 album's other memorable singles include "Where The Streets Have No Name" and "With Or Without You." It was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the same powerhouse pair who produced U2's prior album, 1984's The Unforgettable Fire. Its title was inspired by a Death Valley photo shoot with Anton Corbijn, whose epic black-and-white shots of the group in front of a lone joshua tree were featured in the album's art.

"People respond to our naïveté," Clayton in the 1987 TIME interview. "I think they see four guys from Ireland who don't want to let go of their dreams."

To date, U2 has earned 22 golden gramophones over the years, most recently for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb at the 2006 GRAMMYs

My Morning Jacket's Jim James On 'The Waterfall II' & Finding Hope In Music

GRAMMY Rewind: The Chicks Give A Tear-Filled Speech For Their Industry-Altering Song Of The Year Win In 2007
The Chicks at the 2007 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Vince Bucci/Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: The Chicks Give A Tear-Filled Speech For Their Industry-Altering Song Of The Year Win In 2007

The Chicks were full of emotions after winning a golden gramophone for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the song made in response to the criticism they faced in 2003.

GRAMMYs/Mar 17, 2023 - 05:00 pm

Flashback to 2003, the Chicks frontwoman Natalie Maines made her infamous statement advocating for peace against the invasion in Iraq. The seemingly unthreatening comment quickly led to nationwide backlash, including a boycott of the Chicks by country music's fans, radio stations and musicians.

But more importantly, Maines' progressive endorsement prompted a conversation surrounding America's conservative expectations for country artists. Maines' courage to speak out was an inspiration to the next generation of women in country, including Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves, who credit the Chicks for empowering them to publicly claim their liberal beliefs.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we fast forward four years after the career-changing controversy to the 2007 GRAMMYs, when the trio won Song of the Year alongside folk singer/songwriter Dan Wilson for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the track made in response to the massive criticism they faced.

"This is overwhelming," said Emily Strayer, holding back tears. "Thank you, Dan, for writing with us … It was very important that you [understood] what we were trying to get across. Thank you for helping us to get all of this out and into a song."

Before heading off the stage, Maines took the time to express appreciation for her bandmates: "For the first time in my life, I'm speechless. Thank you, Martie and Emily, for sticking by me. I told you I'd take it to the GRAMMYs!" Maines joked. (The trio were the big winners that night, also taking home the GRAMMYs for Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Country Album.)

Press play on the video above to watch The Chicks' complete acceptance speech for Song of the Year at the 2007 GRAMMY Awards, and keep checking back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

10 College Courses Dedicated To Pop Stars And Music: Taylor Swift, Bad Bunny & Hip-Hop

What Does U2 Stand For? To Mark 'Songs Of Surrender,' 6 Facts About The 22-Time GRAMMY Winners
U2 live in Saitama, Japan in 2019

Photo: Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images


What Does U2 Stand For? To Mark 'Songs Of Surrender,' 6 Facts About The 22-Time GRAMMY Winners

One of the most innovative, popular and acclaimed rock bands of all time, U2 are reexamining their past on their new album, 'Songs of Surrender.'

GRAMMYs/Mar 17, 2023 - 03:43 pm

From their songs to their vision to their constant evolution, U2 have earned their place as one of the most popular and innovative rock bands of all time — and they have an astounding 22 GRAMMYs to show for it.

With their earthy, tactile first three albums, 1980's Boy, 1981's October, and 1983's War, the band positioned themselves at the vanguard of post-punk. Summarily, they hurtled past its parameters with a little help from producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, culminating in their 1987 masterpiece The Joshua Tree.

After ripping up the rulebook with 1991's deconstructionist Achtung Baby, U2 spent the rest of the decade throwing electro-tinged curveball after curveball with Pop and Zooropa. The band then settled into something of an elder-statesmen role with 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind and its consolidative, substantive follow-ups.

Today, U2 remain intact without a single lineup change — save drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. having to sit out a Vegas residency due to recovery from surgery. Partly as a tribute to their astonishing longevity, U2 released the Songs of Surrender — the third in their Songs of… series — on Mar. 17.

Part retrospective, part reimagining, Songs of Surrender culls 40 songs from their past — including some of their biggest hits, like "One," "Pride (In the Name of Love" and "With or Without You" — and renders them in soft-focus minimalism.

Accompanied by a memoir by Bono, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, the album acts as a panorama of U2's singular landscape — the spiritual searches, the self-conscious reinventions, the sociopolitical grandstanding, the triumphs and travails.

With the band back in the ether, here are some answers to common questions about Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.

What Does U2 Stand For?

While the band shares a name with an American spy plane, the exact origin of the name is unclear. What's established, however, is that they were previously known as Feedback — one of the only musical terms they knew — and the Hype before settling on the name.

In a BBC interview, Bono and the Edge explained that a friend curated a list of names for them, and they chose U2 because they hated it the least. Bono remarked that the name gave off "futuristic" images of "the spy plane" and "the U-boat." (The name still makes him "cringe.")

What Is U2's Latest Album?

After Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, U2 have released Songs of Surrender, which shrinks down the often grandiose arrangements of their past work and examines them with a new lens. Produced by the Edge, the album is spread across four discs, each named after a band member.

"I just need to be more silent, and to surrender to my band as being at the core of what I'm trying to do with my life, surrender to my wife," Bono recently told NPR. "And when I say 'surrender,' I do not mean making peace with the world... I'm trying to make peace with myself, I'm trying to make peace with my maker, but I am not trying to make peace with the world.

"The world is a deeply unfair place, and I'm ready to rumble," he continued. "I'm keeping my fists up for that one."

What Is U2's Latest Book?

Bono has characterized the operating principle behind Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story as such: "I was hoping to draw in detail what I'd previously only sketched in songs. The people, places, and possibilities in my life."

Organized around the 40 selections in its attendant album with plenty of off-ramps and asides, Surrender illuminates hidden corners of Bono's history, faith and psyche like never before.

Why Is Bono Called Bono?

Born Paul David Hewson, Bono was nicknamed Bono Vox as a teen in Dublin, when he and his friends were part of a surrealist street gang named Lypton Village.

As they were all assigned nicknames, Hewson assumed the moniker Bono Vox — the name of a hearing-aid store near where they grew up, which itself came from the Latin word Bonavox, which means "good voice."

Are U2 Touring In 2023?

Come fall 2023, U2 will return to the stage after a four-year absence for a Las Vegas residency focusing on their classic Achtung Baby album.

In an unprecedented move, Mullen won't be part of the proceedings, though the band looks forward to his return.

"No one is more disappointed than us that Larry won't be joining us in Vegas," the Edge told The Telegraph, adding: "In the history of U2, you can count the shows we've missed on the fingers of one hand."

What Was U2's Biggest Hit?

From a Billboard Hot 100 standpoint, the U2 song that's made the biggest commercial splash is "With or Without You," that skyscraping, eros-meets-agape wonder from The Joshua Tree. (That song stayed at No. 1 for three weeks; "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" remained in the same position for two.)

And when you listen to the hushed, humbled rendition of "With or Without You" just released on their new album, you hear not only how their artistic achievements have resonated through the decades.

Instead hear the four men not as rock titans, but as human beings — searching, striving, and ultimately surrendering.

Living Legends: Van Morrison On New Album Moving On Skiffle, Communing With His Roots & Reconnecting With Audiences

GRAMMY Rewind: Whoopi Goldberg Delivers A Fittingly Joke-Filled Speech At The 1986 GRAMMYs
Whoopi Goldberg at the 1986 GRAMMYs.

Photo: CBS via Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: Whoopi Goldberg Delivers A Fittingly Joke-Filled Speech At The 1986 GRAMMYs

Whoopi Goldberg brought her comedy skills to the GRAMMY stage when she won Best Comedy Recording, which marked a historic GRAMMY moment.

GRAMMYs/Mar 10, 2023 - 06:00 pm

Almost 40 years ago, Whoopi Goldberg made history as the first Black woman to win Best Comedy Recording at the 1986 GRAMMYs — and marked her first step into achieving EGOT status, which she later accomplished in 2002.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we travel back to the night Goldberg received this trailblazing award for her one-woman Broadway show. The stand-up comedian fittingly warmed up her acceptance speech with a few jokes: "I'm going to have to get a job after this," she laughed before taking a quick-witted stab at the orchestra's untimely playing. "Make me move!"

She went on to thank Geffen Records, her colleagues, her longtime supporter Mike Nichols, and her family for inspiring and assisting her throughout the production of the record. Goldberg also took a moment to acknowledge her "date," 12-time GRAMMY Award winner Paul Simon, who wasn't able to escort her to the ceremony after falling ill.

"I want to say it's a very nice, wonderful honor to get something as nice as this," Goldberg concluded. "Thank you all, and good night!"

Press play on the video above to watch Whoopi Goldberg's full acceptance speech for Best Comedy Recording at the 28th GRAMMY Awards, and keep checking back to for more episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Fortune Feimster's Tour Rider Includes This Southern Snack Staple

GRAMMY Rewind: Irene Cara Thanks Her Family And Friends For 'Flashdance' Win At The 1984 GRAMMYs
Irene Cara at the 1984 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images


GRAMMY Rewind: Irene Cara Thanks Her Family And Friends For 'Flashdance' Win At The 1984 GRAMMYs

Irene Cara was speechless as she made her way to the stage to accept her award for "Flashdance … What a Feeling" at the 26th GRAMMY Awards.

GRAMMYs/Mar 3, 2023 - 06:00 pm

From its star-studded cast to its timeless music, there's no questioning that Flashdance is one of the most iconic and influential films to emerge from the early '80s. Musical dramas decorated the year following its release, including Footloose and Prince's Purple Rain, which credited Flashdance as its inspiration. So, it was no surprise when the film's soundtrack made a sweep at the 1984 GRAMMY Awards ceremony.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we flashback to the night Irene Cara won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Flashdance's titular song. The triple-threat singer, actress and dancer was stunned as she made her way to the stage to accept the award: "Are you sure? I can't believe this," she squealed to the presenters.

After acknowledging the film's producers, actors and musicians, she thanked her parents, who encouraged her to begin performing. "My mother and father, who started it all for me many years ago — you know I can't visit them if I don't say that," Cara joked. "I love you all, thank you!"

Press play on the video above to watch Irene Cara's full acceptance speech for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 26th GRAMMY Awards, and keep checking back to for more episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

From 'Shaft' To 'Waiting To Exhale': 5 Essential Black Film Soundtracks & Their Impact