Listeners of U2’s BBC Radio 2’s Sounds of the 80s have voted U2’s The Joshua Tree as the greatest 80s album for National Album Day. Tune into the show, presented by Gary Davies, to hear the full top 40 countdown on Friday 9th October, 8-10pm, on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds ahead of National Album Day this Saturday.
U2’s The Edge said, ““The Joshua Tree changed everything for us as a band. It was written in the mid-Eighties, during the Reagan-Thatcher era of British and U.S. 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. Huge thanks to Radio 2 and everyone who voted!”
Gary Davies said, "Because there were so many brilliant albums in the 80s having to choose just one is really difficult. I’m very pleased to see that the Radio 2 listeners have impeccable taste by choosing an album from my all-time favourite band and agree with me that the Ultimate 80s album just has to be The Joshua Tree from U2."
Jeff Smith, Radio 2’s Head of Music, said: “The 80s saw the introduction of the CD and a renaissance for the album format but now in pristine digital audio. Our listeners have picked some of the best examples of that and the result of their choices will make a great listen as Radio 2 celebrates National Album Day with this show on Friday night and great 80s album music across programmes on Saturday.”
U2 comprising Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr. formed in 1976 in Dublin, Ireland and released The Joshua Tree on 9th March, 1987. It reached No.1 on the UK, Canadian, West German, Dutch, Switzerland and Australian album charts and was the band’s first album to reach No.1 in the US chart. Later that year, The Joshua Tree won U2 both the Best Album and Best Rock Performance By A Group Or Duo at the Grammy Awards. And the record and sleeve cover were placed No. 1 in Rolling Stone magazine's annual Music Awards as chosen by readers, with critics at the magazine making it their No. 2 album of the year. The album was recorded at Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin and since its release, over 25 million copies have been sold globally.
Top 20 greatest 80s album as voted for by listeners to Sounds of the 80s:
U2 - The Joshua Tree
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction
The Human League – Dare
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
Paul Simon - Graceland
ABC - The Lexicon Of Love
Prince – Purple Rain
Kate Bush – Hounds Of Love
Duran Duran – Rio
Tears for Fears - Songs From The Big Chair
Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
AC/DC - Back In Black
Deacon Blue – Raintown
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome To The Pleasuredome
INXS – Kick
George Michael – Faith
Pet Shop Boys - Actually
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, as well as some slow-burners that are now considered classics of the era. The list included featured Stadium rockers, pop megastars, New Romantics, synth-pop pioneers, indie gods, hip hop heroes and beyond by bands and solo artists from across the world.
This is the third National Album Day, organised and supported by the music industry, and this year takes the 1980s as its inspiration, with the music and artist community coming together for a series of events and activities in the lead up to Saturday 10th October that will celebrate the UK’s love for the album and the craft that goes into making this culturally significant body of work.
The BBC is the Official Broadcast Partner to National Album Day, with supporting programmes and content on radio, tv and online, including:
On National Album Day itself (Saturday 10th October), Radio 2 marks this year’s 80s theme celebrating the albums of that iconic decade by playing 80s album tracks throughout the day, starting in Dermot O’Leary’s show (8-10am), followed by Graham Norton (10am-12pm) who joins in with a playlist of 80s album tracks, then Pick Of The Pops with Paul Gambaccini counting down the charts from 1983 and 1987 (1pm-3pm), through Rylan on Saturday (3-6pm) and Liza Tarbuck (6-8pm). The Rock Show with Johnnie Walker will feature 80s albums tracks (8pm-9pm), and here’s another chance to hear Andrew Ridgeley’s 80s Playlist (Saturday and Sunday, 9-10pm). In the second hour of The Craig Charles House Party, Craig has dug deep in his record collection to compile a whole Mixtape crammed full of album tracks from that decade (10pm-12am). All programmes also on BBC Sounds, and available for 30 days after broadcast.
On BBC Radio 6 Music on National Album Day Chris Hawkins plays tracks from the album that takes him away from it all, the incredible Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads. Chris is also joined by Talking Heads’ keyboardist and guitarist Jerry Harrison to discuss the making of the album and the key moments within it (5am-7am). Afterwards, Stuart Maconie celebrates one of his most cherished albums of all time - Lloyd Cole And The Commotions' acclaimed 1984 debut, Rattlesnakes. He hears from Derbyshire-born singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole himself, who shares some of the music that he finds comforting and has been listening to over lockdown and talks about his latest album, Guesswork (7am-10am). In the afternoon, Liz Kershaw plays Meddle by Pink Floyd in full - a whole side of which in its vinyl format is one track, Echoes (1pm-3pm). On the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show, Craig selects Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions as his featured album - a landmark recording on which Stevie played most of the instruments on the record . Plus, the Funky Forty Album countdown, a regular feature on Craig’s show, reaches number 5 with Stand by Sly & The Family Stone (6pm-9pm). The Tom Robinson Show sees Tom revisit The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band - an album that is very personal and significant to Tom (9pm-12am). There’s also another chance to hear The Album As Art presented by Guy Garvey and first broadcast on Radio 2 in 2008, in which the Elbow frontman explores how the LP combined music, cover art, lyrics, liner notes and packaging to become a work of art in its own right (3am-4am). All programmes also on BBC Sounds, and available for 30 days after broadcast.
BBC Asian Network celebrates National Album Day with mixes reflecting this year’s 80s theme, combined with Bollywood and Bhangra influences on air throughout the weekend. Also, National Album Day ambassador and R&B singer-songwriter, Celina Sharma, will appear on Weekend Breakfast with Jasmine Takhar this Saturday (10th October, 06:00- 10:00). All programmes also on BBC Sounds, and available for 30 days after broadcast.
BBC Four celebrates National Album Day by curating a selection of programmes themed around iconic albums and music from the decade. The programmes, broadcast in the week leading up to the Saturday 10th October, are also available to watch on demand on BBC iPlayer. There’s another chance to watch Classic Albums: Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair, which explores the creation of the second album by Tears for Fears. Songs from the Big Chair took the gothic synth-pop foundations of the band and combined them with arena-ready anthems, leading to critical acclaim and three international hit singles, Mothers Talk, Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Musicians Midge Ure and Kim Appleby dive into the distinct sounds that emerged from different parts of Britain and Ireland throughout one of pop’s golden decades in Smashing Hits! The 80’s Pop Map of Britain & Ireland. And legendary cape-wearing keyboard player Rick Wakeman, himself the creator of several of history’s most elaborate long players, presents an insightful and playful exploration of the concept album in When Pop Went Epic: The Crazy World of the Concept Album - a musical format that developed to become the equivalent of rock and roll theatre. Also available on BBC iPlayer is Top of the Pops: Big Hits 1980 with archive performances from Adam Ant, The Pretenders, Dexys Midnight Runners, Spandau Ballet and Hot Chocolate; and Top of the Pops: Big Hits 1989 featuring Tina Turner, Phil Collins, Soul II Soul, Lisa Stansfield, The Beautiful South and more. All programmes are also available to watch on BBC iplayer for 30 days after broadcast.