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Released: February 28, 1983

Rating: 4.299 (average of 25 ratings)

Genre: alternative rock/ college rock

Quotable: “U2 always aimed at greatness, but War was the first time they achieved it” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Sunday Bloody Sunday [4:38]
  2. Seconds [3:24]
  3. New Year’s Day [5:38]
  4. Like a Song… [4:48]
  5. Drowning Man [4:12]
  6. The Refugee [3:40]
  7. Two Hearts Beat As One [5:00]
  8. Red Light [4:09]
  9. Surrender [6:01]
  10. 40 [2:08]
All songs written by U2.

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 4.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated 0.6
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 10.0


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 12
peak on U.K. album chart 1 1

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • New Year’s Day (1/22/83) #53 US, #10 UK, #2 AR
  • Sunday Bloody Sunday (3/83) #7 AR
  • Two Hearts Beat As One (4/2/83) #18 UK, #12 AR
  • Surrender (7/16/83) #27 AR

Notes: A Deluxe Edition released in 2008 added a second disc of “b-sides, live tracks and rarities. Also includes a 32 page booklet with previously unseen photos, full lyrics, new liner notes by Niall Stokes, and explanatory notes on the bonus material by The Edge.” AZ

Tracks on second disc include “Endless Deep,” “Treasure (Whatever Happened to Pete the Chop),” “Angels Too Tied to the Ground,” four remixes of “New Year’s Day,” another three of “Two Hearts Beat As One,” and live versions of “I Threw a Brick Through a Window/ A Day Without Me” and “Fire.”


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of my personal top 100 albums of all time. Click to learn more.

“The final album of U2’s early period, before the group broadened its sonic palette and lyrical vision, War is a brilliantly conflicted album, sounding martial and majestic while its very purpose is to tear down false idols propped up by politics.” DD “Blowing away the fuzzy, sonic indulgences of October with propulsive, martial rhythms and shards of guitar, War bristles with anger, despair, and above all, passion. Previously, Bono’s attempts at messages came across as grandstanding, but his vision becomes remarkably clear on this record.” STE

“Opening with the ominous, fiery protest of Sunday Bloody Sunday, War immediately announces itself as U2’s most focused and hardest-rocking album to date.” STE That song and "40" take the subject of Ireland’s troubles head-on.” DDNew Year's Day “is about a sundered love relationship symbolic of a greater division. ‘Torn in two, we can be one,’ Bono pleads, as Edge’s guitar scratches and snarls behind him.” DD

Anthems such as those and “Seconds are balanced by effective, surprisingly emotional love songs [such as] Two Hearts Beat as OneSTE “and the delicate Drowning Man,” DD “which are just as desperate and pleading as [Bono’s] protests.” STE’s Daniel Durchholz claims these “take a back seat here, but they help make War a compelling and well-rounded album.” DD Bono “performs the difficult task of making the universal sound personal, and the band helps him out by bringing the songs crashing home with muscular, forceful performances that reveal their varied, expressive textures upon repeated listens. U2 always aimed at greatness, but War was the first time they achieved it.” STE

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Links:

previous studio album: October (1981) U2’s DMDB page next live album: Under a Blood Red Sky (1983) next studio album: The Unforgettable Fire (1984)

Last updated February 18, 2010.