U2

Angel of Harlem

Song Review by

“Angel of Harlem” is one of U2’s finest songs, even though it sounds nothing like much of the band’s material. Part of the rather ill-judged Rattle and Hum project, “Angel of Harlem” is certainly the finest song on that album, but it’s better than that – it’s a gorgeous nostalgic look at American music and, although ambitious in its scope, comes across as a heartfelt tribute to the heart and soul of the country. Essentially a soul tune (the band are backed by the Memphis Horns, the song is musically breathtaking, and it’s easy to compare it to the best Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett cuts. Bono’s often shows that he’s a great singer, and with lyrics such as “Birdland and 53/Streets sound like a symphony/You got John Coltrane and a love supreme/Miles swollen like a bee sting” it’s easy to see how he can be so emotive.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Rattle and Hum 1988
U2
Island 3:49
Now: 1988 [1999] 1998
Various Artists
Virgin / EMI 3:03
The Best of 1980-1990/The B-Sides 1998
U2
Island 3:49
The Best of 1980-1990 1998
U2
Island 3:49
The Best of 1980-2000 2009
U2
Island 3:50