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"In the pits of poverty, I saw a strong spirit in the people, a richness of spirit I didn't see when I came home," Bono told Rolling Stone at the time of the album's release. "I started thinking, 'They may have a physical desert, but we've got other kinds of deserts.' That's what attracted me to the desert as a symbol."




09-10-2004) Joshua Tree's Photo Session - Rolling Stone*
Joshua Tree's Photo Session

Ed. note -- The latest issue of Rolling Stone ("The Photographs") celebrates the "50th Anniversary of Rock" with a section dedicated to iconic rock and roll photographs and the stories behind them. U2's Joshua Tree photo session with Anton Corbijn is featured.



U2 looked bigger than they ever were intended," Anton Corbijn has said of the photos he took for the cover of the band's fifth album, The Joshua Tree. "I never realized the pictures would work out the way they did, where I think they look stronger, really, than any other band in the world."

The road to The Joshua Tree started with a trip to Ethiopia. After he played the Live Aid concert in 1985, U2 singer Bono and his wife, Ali, worked at an orphanage in the impoverished country, where they witnessed firsthand the effects of the famine sweeping the continent.

"In the pits of poverty, I saw a strong spirit in the people, a richness of spirit I didn't see when I came home," Bono told Rolling Stone at the time of the album's release. "I started thinking, 'They may have a physical desert, but we've got other kinds of deserts.' That's what attracted me to the desert as a symbol."

As U2 wrapped up recording a year later, Corbijn attended some of the studio sessions. "The working titles were The Desert Songs and The Two Americas," he says. He began mapping locations in eastern California and Nevada to illustrate the album. He drew a picture of a Joshua tree, which he had first seen while photographing avant-blues howler Captain Beefheart years earlier in the desert, and showed it to Bono. The gnarled tree had been named by nineteenth-century Mormon settlers because its upturned branches reminded them of biblical leader Joshua pointing the way to the Promised Land. As they drove through the California desert in December 1986, Corbijn and the band found clusters of Joshua trees before stumbling upon a lone one, not far from where the ashes of country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons were scattered in 1973.

Bono saw this hardy survivor as symbolic of the album's mood, although he thought the title The Joshua Tree wasn't very rock & roll, and he joked at the time that it "sounds like it would sell about three copies."

His estimate was a bit off: The Joshua Tree sold 12 million copies and became one of the decade's biggest albums.

Date: 2004-09-11 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ljleelah.livejournal.com
great quote. i've long suspected that the unforced, deep, tireless spiritual richness africans tend to possess is part of the untold story of bono's fascination with that continent.

Date: 2004-09-11 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
and i suspect that those qualities come from the land. i've not been to africa, but i've been to death valley a couple times. ... it changes you.

Date: 2004-09-11 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
Emptiness is one of the few things that can inspire everything, just by being.

Thanks for posting, love,

Date: 2004-09-11 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
yes. yes yes yes. .... i have no idea what you're taking about. ;-P

no prob. :-)

Date: 2004-09-12 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
No idea at all? That's a shame ;)

Date: 2004-09-13 10:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
such a shame, yes... ;-)

Date: 2004-09-14 03:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
Ahh well, perhaps one day you'll be educated.

Date: 2004-09-14 10:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
*hangs head in shame*

*awaits said day*

Date: 2004-09-14 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
*little nudge* *points in the direction of "Things Rogue says to sound educated but really mean nothing* *sends you on your way*

Date: 2004-09-14 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
*nudges back with head still hung to hide sly grin* muahaha.

Date: 2004-09-14 03:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
Oooh, cheeky.

Incidentally, I've been spazzing out that when I get back to Dublin, YOU'LL BE HERE.

Date: 2004-09-14 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
i'm spazzing too. quietly.

when do you leave?

Date: 2004-09-14 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
Quietly, but inside your head you're all boingy-boingy springy-springy?

Tomorrow morning.

Date: 2004-09-14 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stateless.livejournal.com
just like that, yep.

aah, that's really soon now! fly safe. :-)

Date: 2004-09-14 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rogue-writer.livejournal.com
BoingyBOINGY.

Really is. So. Much. Coffee.

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