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Angel of Harlem: Wikis


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"Angel of Harlem"
Single by U2
from the album Rattle and Hum
Released 17 December 1988
Format CD, cassette, 7", 12"
Genre Rock
Length 3:47
Label Island
Producer Jimmy Iovine
U2 singles chronology
"Angel of Harlem"
"When Love Comes to Town"
Music video
Angel of Harlem at YouTube

"Angel of Harlem" is the second single from U2's 1988 album, Rattle and Hum. It peaked at #9 on the UK singles chart, #8 on the Dutch Top 40, #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks. An homage to Billie Holiday, it was released with two different B-sides; one was an original U2 song called "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel", while the other was a live version of Rattle and Hum's "Love Rescue Me."

The lyrical content of the song refers to various New York City-area landmarks, including JFK airport, WBLS radio and Harlem. It also refers to jazz-related history including John Coltrane and A Love Supreme, Birdland club, Miles Davis and Holiday herself ("Lady Day").



"Angel of Harlem" was written during 1987's Joshua Tree Tour and the in-studio performance on the Rattle and Hum movie dates from a recording session at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee during the later stages of the tour's third leg. The song was a regular on 1989's Lovetown Tour and was played with B.B. King's band. A stripped-down acoustic rendition was performed on the Zoo TV Tour in 1992 and 1993 on a b-stage positioned in the midst of the crowd. It was then not played again until 2001's Elevation Tour, when it was sometimes performed acoustically and sometimes in its original electric style, albeit without the brass section. The only performances on 2005's Vertigo Tour came when a fan was pulled on stage in Dallas in late October to play guitar. The fan asked to play "Angel of Harlem" and although Bono's knowledge of the lyrics was poor, the band agreed to the request and the fan played the song along with them. It has also been performed on Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide shows on the Australian leg of the Vertigo tour in November 2006, where Bono dedicated the song to Kylie Minogue and often ended it with a snippet of Kylie's "I Should Be So Lucky." The song has also been performed on 2009's 360° Tour with dedications to Michael Jackson, and included snippets of "Man in the Mirror" and "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough." In the Berlin concert of the 360° Tour three young fans from Prague, Czech Republic, held signs asking to play Angel of Harlem together with U2, Bono invited them to the stage, the band lent them the instruments and they played the song together.

Live performances of "Angel of Harlem" appeared on Zoo TV: Live from Sydney and U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle.

Track listing

7" and cassette release
# Title Length
1. "Angel of Harlem"   3:47
2. "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel"   5:29
12" and CD release
# Title Length
1. "Angel of Harlem"   3:47
2. "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel"   5:29
3. "Love Rescue Me" (Live from London, 16 October 1988; featuring Ziggy Marley and Keith Richards) 5:24

The version of "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel" on The Best of 1980-1990 B-Sides disc is actually an edit of the version on this single.

Chart positions

Chart (1988) Peak
Australian ARIA Chart[1] 18
Dutch MegaCharts[1] 10
Irish Singles Chart[2] 3
New Zealand Singles Chart[1] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[1] 25
Chart (1988) Peak
UK Singles Chart[3] 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[citation needed] 14
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[citation needed] 3
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[citation needed] 1

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "U2 – Angel of Harlem". Hung Median. Retrieved 2009-11-24. 
  2. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Retrieved 2009-11-23.  Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  3. ^ " search results: U2". Retrieved 2009-11-22.  Note: U2 must be searched manually.


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