‘Angel of Harlem’ by U2 – Classic Hit or Miss
“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. Written as a homage to Billie Holiday, The lyrical content of the song refers to various New York City-area landmarks, including JFK airport, WBLS radio and Harlem. “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 Studio 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.