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U2 - Desire (1988)

  • Video Views 15,159,978
  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.62
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"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 ...

"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.


U2 cite the Stooges' song "1969" as the primary influence on "Desire," which is an interpolation of the Bo Diddley beat. 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.

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

"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

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.

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