U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’ has been voted as the greatest album of the 1980s

U2’s ‘The Joshua Tree’ has been voted as the greatest album of the 1980s in a new poll.

The landmark 1987 LP came top of a BBC Radio 2-conducted poll ahead of National Album Day tomorrow (October 10).

Dire Straits’ ‘Brothers In Arms’ LP came second in the poll, while The Stone Roses‘ self-titled debut album was third and Michael Jackson‘s ‘Thriller’ came fourth.


Fifth in the poll was Guns N’ Roses‘ debut album ‘Appetite For Destruction’, while The Smiths‘ ‘The Queen Is Dead’ went in at seven. You can view the top 20 below.

Reacting to the result, U2 guitarist The Edge said: “‘The Joshua Tree’ changed everything for us as a band. It was written in the mid-80s, during the Reagan-Thatcher era of British and US politics, a period when there was a lot of unrest.

“And it feels like we’re right back there in a way, politics are still so polarized. We’ve had the privilege of playing ‘The Joshua Tree’ live all over the world in the last few years and it’s almost like the album has come full circle.

“We’re just thrilled that people are still connecting with these songs, night after night, year after year.”

The top 50 albums were selected by a Radio 2 panel of music experts and was based on the best-selling albums of the decade, alongside iconic albums that have endured to this day and some slow-burners that are now considered to be classics of the era.


You can see the top 20 of BBC Radio 2’s greatest 80s album poll below.

  1. U2 – ‘The Joshua Tree’
  2. Dire Straits – ‘Brothers In Arms’
  3. The Stone Roses – ‘The Stone Roses’
  4. Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’
  5. Guns N’ Roses – ‘Appetite For Destruction’
  6. The Human League – ‘Dare’
  7. The Smiths – ‘The Queen Is Dead’
  8. Paul Simon – ‘Graceland’
  9. ABC – ‘The Lexicon Of Love’
  10. Prince – ‘Purple Rain’
  11. Kate Bush – ‘Hounds Of Love’
  12. Duran Duran – ‘Rio’
  13. Tears for Fears – ‘Songs From The Big Chair’
  14. Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born In The USA’
  15. AC/DC – ‘Back In Black’
  16. Deacon Blue – ‘Raintown’
  17. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’
  18. INXS – ‘Kick’
  19. George Michael – ‘Faith’
  20. Pet Shop Boys – ‘Actually’

U2 recently announced a remastered edition of ‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ to mark the album’s 20th anniversary.

Released in October 2000, the group’s tenth studio effort – produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno – features the tracks ‘Beautiful Day’, ‘Elevation’ and ‘Walk On’, and went on to win seven Grammys.

On October 30, exactly 20 years on from its arrival, fans will be able to get their hands on a reissued version in multiple formats, including a special 51-track Super Deluxe box set. Each edition will contain the additional cut ‘The Ground Beneath Her Feet’.

U2’s last full-length release, ‘Songs Of Experience’, came out in 2017.

Back in July, U2 reportedly donated a further $1,500,000 (£1.2m) to helping the live music survive during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, having donated €10m to Irish COVID-19 relief efforts in April.