On this day in music history: May 16, 1987 – “…

On this day in music history: May 16, 1987 – “With Or Without You” by U2 hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the Mainstream Rock chart for 5 weeks on April 4, 1987. Written by U2, it is the first chart topping single for the rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The song originates as a demo recording in late 1985 following the world tour for “The Unforgettable Fire”. Bono is inspired by the contradictions of being a musician, touring and traveling the world and his life at home with his wife Alison. Initial attempts to record “With Or Without You” are not to U2 or co-producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois’ liking, and the song is nearly discarded. Their mutual friend, former Virgin Prunes singer Gavin Friday feels otherwise, making suggestions on what changes to make in order to realize its hit potential. The track is completed with the rest of the band in 1986 during sessions for “The Joshua Tree” at the Danesmoate House and STS Studios in Dublin, Ireland. “With Or Without You” sounds unlike anything on the radio at the time, beginning with a virtual gentle whisper before building to a crescendo during the last third before closing with an understated and minimalist guitar solo from The Edge. Released simultaneously with the album on March 9, 1987, “With Or Without You” is an instant classic, having an immediate impact with fans and radio programmers alike. Entering the Hot 100 at #64 on March 21, 1987, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. “With Or Without You” becomes U2’s biggest single in the US, and one their most popular and best known songs.