Tuesday, November 19, 1991

U2 released Achtung Baby: November 19, 1991

Originally posted November 19, 2012.

image from u2interference.com


Release date: 19 November 1991
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Zoo Station / Even Better Than the Real Thing (6/20/92, #32 US, #8 UK, #1 AR, #5 MR) / One (1/4/92, #10 US, #7 UK, #1 AR, #1 MR, #24 AC) / Until the End of the World (2/1/92, #5 AR, #4 MR) / Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? (1/25/92, #35 US, #14 UK, #2 AR, #7 MR) / So Cruel / The Fly (11/2/91, #61 US, #1 UK, #2 AR, #1 MR) / Mysterious Ways (11/23/91, #9 US, #13 UK, #1 AR, #1 MR) / Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World / Ultra Violet (Light My Way) / Acrobat / Love Is Blindness

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 1.2 UK, 20.4 world

Peak: 11 US, 2 UK

Rating:


Review: “Reinventions rarely come as thorough and effective as Achtung Baby,” AMG an album in which “U2 discarded the arena-rock sound that catapulted it into stardom on The Joshua Tree in favor of feedback, electronic beats and introspective lyrics.” RV They “detour[ed] into the darker realms of irony, decay and turmoil on accessible avant-garde rock tunes recorded in Berlin.” UT In addition, U2 loosened up “after fostering a dour public image for years…cracking jokes and even letting themselves be photographed in color. ‘It’s a con, in a way,’ Bono admitted to Rolling Stone in 1992. ‘…It’s probably the heaviest record we’ve ever made.’” RS500

“Coaxed to Berlin by producer Brian Eno, U2 spent several chilly months arguing over how they wanted to sound in their second decade. Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton were in the ‘Ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ camp while Bono and The Edge campaigned for changing everything.” TL

“This radical shift in style is loudly declared on Zoo StationRV with “crashing, unrecognizable distorted guitars” AMG and “postmodern, contemporary European music. Drawing equally from Bowie’s electronic, avant-garde explorations of the late ‘70s and the neo-psychedelic sounds of the thriving rave and Madchester club scenes of early-‘90s England, Achtung Baby sounds vibrant and endlessly inventive.” AMG

Throughout the album, U2 “use the thick dance beats, swirling guitars, layers of effects, and found sounds to break traditional songs out of their constraints, revealing the tortured emotional core of their songs with the hyper-loaded arrangements.” AMG They experimented “with a wall of sound, using waves of melody emanating in Until the End of the World and Ultra Violet.” RV

One

“In such a dense musical setting, it isn’t surprising that U2 have abandoned the political for the personal on Achtung Baby, since the music, even with its inviting rhythms, is more introspective than anthemic.” AMG “Bono has never been as emotionally naked as he is on Achtung Baby, creating a feverish nightmare of broken hearts and desperate loneliness.” AMG “U2 capped its reinvention with…One,” RV “one of the most beautiful songs U2 ever recorded.” RS500 It is “a fragile ballad that shines amidst a whirling soundscape of strings, guitars and Bono’s anguished voice.” RV “Bono wonders whether individuality also means eternal loneliness and comes down on the side of hope.” RS500 The song “started as a bitter take on Bono’s relationship with his father, twisted into a commentary on the state of the band, became a staple at weddings and now is used as an anthem to fight global poverty.” TL

“Unlike other U2 albums, it’s filled with sexual imagery, much of it quite disturbing, and it ends on a disquieting note. Few bands as far into their career as U2 have recorded an album as adventurous or fulfilled their ambitions quite as successfully as they do on Achtung Baby, and the result is arguably their best album.” AMG

The Fly

Mysterious Ways

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?


Resources and Related Links:


Award(s):


Tuesday, November 12, 1991

Back to Mono box set released

Last updated 11/16/2020.

Back to Mono

Various Artists, produced by Phil Spector


Released: November 12, 1991


Recorded: 1958 to 1969


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop


Tracks:

ACT “Song Title” (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

Tracks, Disc 1:

  1. TEDDY BEARS “To Know Him Is to Love Him” (9/22/58, 1 US, 2 UK, 10 RB)
  2. RAY PETERSON “Corinna, Corinna” (11/21/60, 9 US, 41 UK)
  3. BEN E. KING “Spanish Harlem” (12/31/60, 10 US, 15 RB)
  4. CURTIS LEE “Pretty Little Angel Eyes” (7/3/61, 7 US, 47 UK)
  5. GENE PITNEY “Every Breath I Take” (8/7/61, 42 US)
  6. THE PARIS SISTERS “I Love How You Love Me” (9/4/61, 5 US)
  7. CURTIS LEE “Under the Moon of Love” (10/16/61, 46 US)
  8. THE CRYSTALS “There’s No Other Like My Baby” (11/20/61, 20 US, 5 RB)
  9. THE CRYSTALS “Uptown” (3/31/62, 13 US, 18 RB)
  10. THE CRYSTALS “He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)
  11. THE BLOSSOMS (aka THE CRYSTALS) “He’s a Rebel” (9/8/62, 1 US, 19 UK, 2 RB)
  12. BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” (11/17/62, 8 US, 7 RB)
  13. THE ALLEY CATS “Puddin’ N’ Tain” (1/12/63, 43 US, 21 RB)
  14. BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Hearts” (2/16/63, 38 US)
  15. DARLENE LOVE “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” (4/6/63, 39 US)
  16. THE CRYSTALS “Da Doo Ron Ron” (4/27/63, 3 US, 5 UK, 5 RB)
  17. THE CRYSTALS “Heartbreaker
  18. VERONICA “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love
  19. DARLENE LOVE “Chapel of Love
  20. BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS “Not Too Young to Get Married” (6/8/63, 63 US)
  21. DARLENE LOVE “Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home” (7/20/63, 26 US)
  22. THE CRYSTALS “All Grown Up” (8/1/64, 98 US, 98 RB)

Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. THE RONETTES “Be My Baby” (8/31/63, 2 US, 4 UK, 4 RB)
  2. THE CRYSTALS “Then He Kissed Me” (8/17/63, 6 US, 2 UK, 8 RB)
  3. DARLENE LOVE “A Fine, Fine Boy” (10/19/63, 53 US)
  4. THE RONETTES “Baby, I Love You” (12/21/63, 24 US, 11 UK, 24 RB)
  5. THE RONETTES “I Wonder
  6. THE CRYSTALS “Girls Can Tell
  7. THE CRYSTALS “Little Boy” (2/1/64, 92 US, 92 RB)
  8. THE TREASURES “Hold Me Tight
  9. THE RONETTES “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up” (4/4/64, 39 US, 43 UK, 39 RB)
  10. THE RONETTES “Soldier Boy of Mine
  11. DARLENE LOVE “Strange Love
  12. DARLENE LOVE “Stumble and Fall
  13. THE RONETTES “When I Saw You
  14. VERONICA “So Young
  15. THE RONETTES “Do I Love You?” (6/20/64, 34 US, 35 UK, 34 RB)
  16. THE RONETTES “Keep on Dancing
  17. THE RONETTES “You, Baby
  18. THE RONETTES “Woman in Love with You
  19. THE RONETTES “Walking in the Rain” (10/24/64, 23 US, 28 RB)

Tracks, Disc 3:

  1. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (12/12/64, 1 US, 1 UK, 3 RB)
  2. THE RONETTES “Born to Be Together” (2/6/65, 52 US)
  3. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS “Just Once in My Life” (4/10/65, 9 US, 26 RB)
  4. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS “Unchained Melody” (7/17/65, 3a US, 1 UK, 1 AC, 6 RB, sales: 1.0 m)
  5. THE RONETTES “Is This What I Get for Loving You?
  6. DARLENE LOVE “Long Way to Be Happy
  7. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS “Love You for Sentimental Reasons
  8. THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS “Ebb Tide” (12/4/65, 5 US, 3 UK, 13 RB)
  9. THE MODERN FOLK QUARTET “This Could Be the Night
  10. THE RONETTES “Paradise
  11. IKE & TINA TURNER “River Deep, Mountain High” (5/28/66, 88 US, 3 UK)
  12. IKE & TINA TURNER “I’ll Never Need More Than This
  13. IKE & TINA TURNER “A Love Like Yours Don’t Come Knockin’ Everyday” (10/27/66, 16 UK)
  14. IKE & TINA TURNER “Save the Last Dance for Me
  15. THE RONETTES “I Wish I Never Saw the Sunshine
  16. THE RONETTES “You Came, You Saw, You Conquered
  17. SONNY CHARLES & THE CHECKMATES “Black Pearl” (5/10/69, 13 US, 8 RB)
  18. THE CHECKMATES “Love Is All I Have to Give” (4/5/69, 65 US)

Tracks, Disc 4 (A Christmas Gift for You):

  1. DARLENE LOVE “White Christmas
  2. THE RONETTES “Frosty the Snowman
  3. BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS “The Bells of St. Mary
  4. THE CRYSTALS “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  5. THE RONETTES “Sleigh Ride
  6. DARLENE LOVE “Marshmallow World
  7. THE RONETTES “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  8. THE CRYSTALS “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  9. DARLENE LOVE “Winter Wonderland
  10. THE CRYSTALS “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers”
  11. DARLENE LOVE “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  12. BOB B. SOXX & THE BLUE JEANS “Here Comes Santa Claus
  13. PHIL SPECTOR & ARTISTS “Silent Night


Total Running Time: 206:12

Rating:

4.529 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)


Quotable: “Spector’s Wall of Sound made even the most pedestrian teen pop seem mythic.” Blender Magazine


Awards:

About the Album:

“Two hits and ten pieces of junk, was how [producer Phil] Spector described the typical album, so the groups he produced released singles – honed to perfection and exclusively in mono.” TL “Monomaniacally massive, magical and mysterious,” BL “Spector thought that stereo sound gave listeners more control than producers; he really liked control.” TL

“This junk-free, four-disc set released in 1991 includes Ben E. King’s Spanish Harlem, The Ronettes’ Be My Baby (Brian Wilson pulled off the road and wept with joy the first time he heard it) and the Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, all pinnacles of Spector’s Wall of Sound production techniques” TL in which “a huge Wagnerian slab of instruments…made even the most pedestrian teen pop seem mythic.” BL

“At the time Back to Mono was released in 1991, Phil Spector’s reputation as one of pop's great visionaries was intact, but there was no way to hear his genius. It wasn't just that there were no collections spotlighting his productions, there weren't collections of artists he produced. It wasn't until Back to Mono that there was a thorough overview of Spector's greatest work, and while it’s not without flaws, it still stands as one of the great box sets. Some may complain that there are no selections from his superstar '70s productions for John Lennon, George Harrison, Leonard Cohen, and the Ramones, but that's for the best, since their presence would have been incongruous, taking attention away from the music that forms the heart of Spector's legacy.” STE

“All of that music is here, not just on the first three discs, all devoted to singles, but also on the fourth disc, his seminal 1963 holiday album, A Christmas Gift for You,” STE “the only holiday album one ever need own.” TL Not only is it “the greatest rock Christmas album, but a crystallization of his skills.” STE

“It could be argued that the song selection overlooks some obscure fan favorites, such as ‘Do the Screw,’ but that’s simply nitpicking, because what’s here are all the great Spector records, which were hardly just great productions, they were great songs as well. As the set plays, it’s hard not to be stunned by the depth of the material and clarity of Spector’s vision…whether you’ve heard these songs hundreds of times or not at all – especially because they gain power when grouped together. Many producers have been credited as the true creative force behind many rock records, but usually that’s hyperbole. In Spector's case, it wasn’t, as this set gloriously proves.” STE

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Phil Spector
  • BL Blender Magazine’s “100 Greatest American Albums” (10/08)
  • STE Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
  • TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” (11/13/06)