The Top 10 Best-Selling U2 Albums As Of 2023

The Top 10 Best-Selling U2 Albums As Of 2023

How many albums has U2 sold as of 2023? In this article, we will look at the best-selling U2 album of all time, detailing how many copies the band has sold with its albums over the years.

Formed in 1976, U2 is widely considered one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Their musical sound has evolved over the years, but at its core, it is characterized by a combination of post-punk, alternative rock, and anthemic stadium rock. Their early albums, such as Boy and October, had a more straightforward, guitar-driven sound that drew inspiration from punk and new wave.

With albums like The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua TreeU2 began to incorporate more atmospheric and cinematic elements into their music. These albums are characterized by The Edge‘s use of delay and echo effects on his guitar, which created a distinctive sound that became one of U2‘s trademarks.

In the 1990s, U2‘s sound shifted again with the release of Achtung Baby and Zooropa. These albums incorporated more electronic and experimental elements into the band’s music, including dance beats, synthesizers, and distorted vocals.

U2 band

In the 2000s and beyond, U2 returned to a more straightforward rock sound but continued to experiment with new elements and production techniques. Their more recent albums, such as No Line on the Horizon and Songs of Innocence, have been characterized by a mix of rock, electronic, and pop influences.

How Many Albums Has U2 Sold As Of 2023?

Debuted in 1980 with Boy, U2 has released 15 studio albums as of March 2023. Released on March 17, 2023, Songs of Surrender marked the band’s most recent album during its ongoing career.

However, how many albums has U2 sold to this day? U2 has sold over 175 million copies worldwide, with over 70 million coming from the United States only.

The Top 10 Best-Selling U2 Albums Until 2023

Our list that said best-selling U2 albums to this day includes Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept, which means it features digital single sales, streams, studio album sales, physical sales, and other LPs. Prior to the band’s release of its new album, Songs of Surrender, we listed the best-selling U2 albums of all time.

#10. U2 – Boy


Number Of Sales: 5.7 Million

U2’s Boy album is the band’s debut studio album, released on October 20, 1980. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite and recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland. It features 11 tracks, including the singles I Will Follow and A Day Without Me.

Boy was well received by critics and helped to establish U2 as a rising force in the music industry. It has since become regarded as a classic album and an important piece of the band’s discography. As of March 2023, U2 has sold over 5.7 million copies of Boy. The album is the band’s tenth best-selling album of all time.

#9. Pop


Number Of Sales: 7.8 Million

U2 released its Pop album in March 1997. The album marked the band’s ninth studio album during its ongoing career. It was a commercial success for the band, as they have sold over 7.8 million copies worldwide with it.

However, despite its commercial success, Pop marked a departure from U2‘s signature sound. It met with some criticism from fans who felt that the band had abandoned their roots. Featuring a more experimental and electronic sound, influenced by the burgeoning electronic dance music scene of the late 1990s, however, the album featured beloved songs, such as If God Will Send His Angels, Discotheque, and Staring at the Sun.

#8. Zooropa


Number Of Sales: 8.9 Million

U2 released Zooropa in July 1993. The album was the band’s eighth album that was inspired by the band’s experiences on the Zoo TV Tour. The band showed off its willingness to take risks and experiment with new sounds with the album. As a result, it succeeded in creating its new sound and has sold over 8.9 million copies since its release.

The album’s producer was Flood, who appeared on the band’s several albums. In the past, the producer shared his thoughts about the album and said it was a great album to record.

U2, 1976 – image: Martyn Goddard

“Definitely,” answers the producer, when the interviewer asked whether the album aged well. “The rewards are so great. It’s an album that needs to be listened to quite a few times, because something that you initially love you might grow to hate, and vice versa.”

In the past, U2 guitarist The Edge reflected on releasing Zooropa, saying, “I never thought of Zooropa as anything more than an interlude.” He also added, “This is something we don’t necessarily care to do anymore.”

#7. U2 – How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb


Number Of Sales: 11.8 Million

U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is the band’s eleventh studio album, released on November 22, 2004. The album was a critical and commercial success, debuting at number one in 30 countries and winning several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. It is often seen as a return to U2‘s classic rock sound, featuring some of the band’s most anthemic and memorable songs.

The album featured the band’s hit songs, such as the opening track Vertigo, Miracle Drug, and All Because of You. After the band released the album, they launched a tour named Vertigo Tour, supporting it. They played over 131 shows during the tour and sold more than 4,5 million tickets for a total gross of $389 million.

As of March 2023, U2 has sold over 11.8 million copies of How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. The album is the band’s seventh best-selling album.

#6. The Unforgettable Fire


Number Of Sales: 13.4 Million

Released in October 1984, The Unforgettable Fire marked U2‘s fourth studio album. Lyrically, the album explores themes of social and political unrest, as well as personal reflection and introspection.

In support of the album, U2 embarked on a world and played 112 shows in total. Their trek was a successful one for the band, as they moved into indoor arenas in the United States.

However, U2 has sold over 13.4 million copies of The Unforgettable Fire, which means it is the band’s sixth best-selling album of all time.

U2 band – image: Getty Images

In 1985, Jas Obrecht interviewed The Edge of U2 to discuss the band’s then-new released album, The Unforgettable Fire. During the interview, The Edge detailed the recording process of the album. He admitted they used to go a different way to make the album’s sound. 

“Well, there’s one thing I’m thinking about, which isn’t actually my idea, so I don’t know whether I should explain it fully, but it’s a guitar that plays itself,” The Edge laughed. “It’s one that you just depress the string and you get infinite sustain having plucked the string once. I haven’t actually perfected it or finalized the physics involved, but the principle should work [laughs], so I can’t wait to try that. What else? Well, I suppose that’s about it just at the moment.”

#5. U2 – Rattle And Hum


Number Of Sales: 17 Million

Rattle and Hum is a double album and a documentary film by U2, released in 1988. It includes several original songs, as well as covers of classic rock and blues songs, and features collaborations with several prominent musicians, including B.B. King, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison.

The album was a commercial success, reaching number one in several countries, and it was accompanied by a feature-length documentary film that chronicled the band’s travels and performances during the tour. It received mixed reviews from critics all over the world. While some of them praised the album’s diverse range of songs, others criticized it for being self-indulgent and overly pretentious.

1981 – image: Adrian Boot

In 1998, The Edge opened up about the album’s recordings. He said the album’s new recordings reacted pretty well.

“‘Rattle And Hum,’ weirdly enough, I think there are more songs from that album than any other on this collection,” The Edge said. “As odd a record as it is, being a mix of studio and live and hi-fi and lo-fi recordings. The new songs that we wrote and recorded for that album have really stood up very well. Even in some ways, as they’re U2 experimenting with roots music forms, I still feel like we’ve kind of made them our own. I don’t think we’ve lost our identity completely [by] experimenting with forms like the blues and more folk styles.”

However, the number of album sales is 17 million today in 2023, which means it is the band’s fifth best-selling album of all time.

#4. All That You Can’t Leave Behind


Number Of Sales: 21.4 Million

U2 released All That You Can’t Leave Behind in 2000. Marked as the band’s tenth album, it features strong melodies, catchy hooks, and a more straightforward rock sound while incorporating some atmospheric and emotional elements that defined the band’s earlier work.

In October 2020, The Edge sat down with Rolling Stone to look back on the making process of the album. He revealed what the album meant for them.

image: Pinterest

“‘All That You Can’t Leave Behind’ was very much on our minds that this was a new millennium,” he said. “The title tells you everything. All That You Can’t Leave Behind…

“You could also parse it as only the things you can’t leave behind, only the things that were essential. After all the opinions of the day had drifted away, what would be left behind by this work? We realized it’s just the songs themselves.”

So, if you want to learn how many copies did U2 sell with All That You Can’t Leave Behind, the right number is 21.4 million.

#3. U2 – War


Number Of Sales: 25.1 Million

U2’s War is the band’s third studio album, released in 1983. It featured the band’s hit singles New Year’s Day, Two Hearts Beat as One, and Sunday Bloody Sunday.

War marked a turning point in U2’s career, as the band began to incorporate political and social themes into their music, with several songs addressing the Troubles in Northern Ireland and other conflicts around the world. The album featured a more aggressive and urgent sound than U2’s previous albums.

However, War marked the band’s third best-selling album of all time, with 25.1 million sales.

#2. Achtung Baby


Number Of Sales: 25.4 Million

Released in 1991, U2‘s Achtung Baby marked their seventh album. The album’s opening track, Zoo Station, sets the tone for the album with its distorted guitar riffs and electronic beats. The use of keyboards, synthesizers, and drum machines is prominent throughout the album, adding a more experimental and modern sound.

The band’s signature guitar sound is still present, but it’s often distorted or processed in unique ways, such as the riff in The Fly, which uses a wah-wah pedal to create a metallic sound. However, U2 has sold over 25.4 million copies of the album, which means it is the band’s second best-selling album until 2023.

#1. U2 – The Joshua Tree

U2 best-selling album
U2, 1979 – image: Paul Slattery

Number Of Sales: 49.4 Million

So, it’s time to learn about the best-selling U2 album of all time. As of March 2023, U2 has sold over 49.4 million copies of The Joshua Tree, which means the album is the band’s highest-selling album of all time.

Consisting of 11 tracks in total, the album won several Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and it has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time. Its success catapulted U2 to international stardom and helped establish them as one of the most important and influential bands of its era. The band’s subsequent tours in support of the album, including the iconic Joshua Tree Tour, further solidified their reputation as one of the best live acts in the world.

The Joshua Tree album was ranked number one on several charts in different countries. The album received 45x Platinum and 2x Diamond certifications.


[via: ChartMasters]

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