How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is the eleventh studio album by Irish rock band U2, released in November 2004. Much like their previous album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was commercially successful and critically acclaimed and maintains a more traditional rock sound after the band experimented with alternative rock and dance music in the 1990s. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, with others involved in the production including Flood, Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper, Chris Thomas, Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno, and Carl Glanville.
U2 lead singer Bono described the album as "our first rock album. It's taken us twenty years or whatever it is, but this is our first rock album." Although not a concept album in the traditional sense, most of the music on the record deals with the world at the crossroads of its existence. Love and war, peace and harmony, and approaching death are themes of the album.
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and its singles won eight Grammy Awards in all eight categories nominated in. The album also sold over 10 million copies and yielded several successful singles in "Vertigo", "City of Blinding Lights", and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own".
A demo version of the album (The Edge's copy) was stolen while the band were having their photo taken for a magazine in France in July 2004. It contained unfinished versions of several songs that made it onto the album. The band publicly announced that if those tracks were leaked online, they would release the album immediately. Several months later, tracks from the album were released online, but they were the finished products, and not the rough demos from The Edge's stolen CD.
Adam Clayton said of Atomic Bomb, "It's very much a guitar record. "Vertigo", "Love and Peace", "City of Blinding Lights", "All Because of You", all pretty up, rocky tunes. A lot of them are a kick-back to our very early days, so it's like with each year we have gathered a little bit more and this is what we are now."
In late 2004, "Mercy", an unreleased track taken from the How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb sessions, surfaced on the Internet through a fan who had been given a copy of the album containing the extra track. The track is of less than standard audio quality, but managed to become a favorite on fan websites. Singer Michael W. Smith joined the band in the studio during the Atomic Bomb sessions and worked on at least one track with them entitled "North Star". That track, which was a tribute to Johnny Cash, has not yet surfaced officially or unofficially in any form.
The album's release was followed by the commercially successful Vertigo Tour.
The second single in the UK was "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" which became U2's first-ever follow-up single to top the charts. On US adult contemporary radio it reached #15 on the Adult Top 40 and also appeared on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, the Pop 100, and the Hot 100.
"City of Blinding Lights" was the third UK release. It peaked at #2 and spent nine weeks on the chart. It also placed on the US Adult Top 40.
The second single in the US was "All Because of You". Although it received some airplay on rock radio, reaching #6 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and #20 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, the song had little mainstream exposure. When released in the UK, it peaked at #4 but only spent four weeks on the chart.
"Original of the Species" has been released to airplay in the US. It peaked at #6 on the Triple A Chart according to mediaguide.com and the video has reached #12 on VH1's top 20 video countdown. The track has also made brief appearances on the Hot AC charts according to Radio and Records and MediaGuide.
|New Zealand||1||3x Platinum||45,000+|
|United Kingdom||1||4x Platinum||1,200,000+|
|United States||1||3x Platinum||3,000,000+|
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