U2 Hits Collection Spans Post-Punk To Americana

First of three 'best of' albums from Irish rockers will include a recently completed B-side track.

The first of three upcoming "best of" collections from Irish

superstars U2 will chart the

band's career from its beginnings in earnest post-punk to its

late '80s dabbling in

Americana, including a previously completed track from the

Joshua Tree era.

U2 The Best of 1980-1990 is set to be released Nov. 3

and will cover the group's

rise from their 1980 debut, Boy, through the 1989

R&B-influenced Rattle and Hum. The album will also include

a recently completed tune which had previously

been released in its raw form as the B-side of a single.

Since their formation in Dublin, Ireland, in the late '70s, the

quartet has sold an estimated

83 million albums and earned the status as one of the

premiere rock bands in the world.

The full track-listing for the album is: "Pride (In The Name Of Love)"

(The Unforgettable Fire), "New Year's Day" (War),

"With or

Without You" (The Joshua Tree), "I Still Haven't Found What

I'm Looking For" (The Joshua Tree),

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" (War), "Bad"

(The Unforgettable Fire), "Where the

Streets Have No Name" (The Joshua Tree), "I Will Follow"

(Boy), "The

Unforgettable Fire" (The Unforgettable Fire), "Desire"

(Rattle and Hum),

"Angel Of Harlem" (Rattle and Hum), "When Love Comes To Town"

(Rattle and Hum), "Sweetest Thing" and "All I Want Is You"

(Rattle and Hum).

News of the "best of," the first of three such collections covering

U2's critically acclaimed

10-album, two-decade career, shocked some longtime fans.

"I have been into U2 since Achtung Baby [1991] and have learned

much about

the band and what they stand for," wrote 22-year-old Mark Grzymala

of Illinois, the

webmaster of "Mark Grzymala's U2 Page." "A greatest-hits album was

one of those

things I would never expect from them, based on the interviews and

their comments."

The 14-track collection will be available as a limited-edition

double-CD set during its first

week of release, bundled with a 15-track album of U2 B-sides from

the '80s, according to

Island Records. The limited-edition pack will be available at a

reduced price. The

single-CD version of the album will go on sale Nov. 10.

The previously unfinished B-side "Sweetest Thing" will serve as a

single from the

collection. The song, originally intended for inclusion on 1987's

15-million-selling

American folk/gospel-influenced The Joshua Tree, was left

unfinished and later

appeared as the flipside to the hit single "Where the Streets Have

No Name."

According to Island Records, the band recently returned to the

studio with the producer of

The Joshua Tree, Steve Lilywhite, to complete the track.

The collection covers one of the most fruitful decades for the band,

which includes singer

Bono, guitarist the Edge, drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and bassist

Adam Clayton.

Beginning with its 1980 debut, Boy, and continuing through

its commercial peak,

1987's multi-platinum The Joshua Tree, the group perfected

its brand of strident,

often political rock. The Irish superstars' signature sound is

exemplified by the interplay

between Bono's brooding vocals and the Edge's hard-hitting guitar

riffs.

"As a diehard fan, I figured I could avoid the purchase [of the hits

collection]," Grzymala

said, "but now they are enticing us with a new version of

'Sweetest Thing' and a

limited-edition B-side companion disc. Now I have to buy a

copy."

The deal for the three "best of" albums is reportedly worth $50

million for the band, which

has been on an extended vacation since the end of the year-long tour

in support of its

1997 album, Pop. The deal is unlike mega-deals by other top

acts such as Janet

Jackson and R.E.M., in that it covers previously released material,

not new recordings.