Eight months later The unforgettable fire and 21 before Joshua tree, U2 made themselves available on extended play. The quartet released the four-track Wide Awake In America EP in North America and Japan on June 10, 1985. They saw it become a vital step in their record schedule.
The EP gave fans an early chance to own two performances from the Unforgettable Fire tour that accompanied this new album in the fall of 1984. From U2’s performance at the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham on November 12 came “Bad”. Then, from the Wembley Arena show in London three nights later, they captured and released “A Sort Of Homecoming”. Indeed, it is the song ‘Bad’ that inspired the title of the EP. The song included the lyrics “I’m wide awake, wide awake, I’m not sleeping.”
Rounding off rarities
The reverse side of the EP was aimed in particular at international fans. It included two tracks that had been B-sides of singles, but only in the UK. U2’s production collaboration with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois on “The Three Sunrises” was accompanied by “Love Comes Tumbling”. Both songs were featured on the UK release of The Unforgettable Fire as a second single, just two months earlier in April 1985.
Wide Awake In America reached 37th place in the United States, later achieving platinum certification. “The Three Sunrises”, meanwhile, went on to become a rock radio hit. The demand for the EP was such that it finally got a UK release, two years later in July 1987. There he qualified for the album charts and reached 11th place at the end of August of the same year, during a 15-week Top 100 race.
In April 2018, Island re-released Wide Awake In America in a 180 gram vinyl edition alongside two other U2 landmarks, the 1997s. Pop and the 2000s Everything you can’t leave behind.
Buy or stream Wide Awake In America.
Listen to the best of U2 on Apple Music and Spotify.