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"Angel of Harlem" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the tenth track on their 1988 studio album Rattle and Hum and was released as its second single in December 1988. It peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart, number eight on the Dutch Top 40, number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number one on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Written as a homage to Billie Holiday, it was released with two different B-sides; one was an original U2 song called "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel," while the other was a live version of Rattle and Hum's "Love Rescue Me".

"Angel of Harlem"
Angel harlem.jpg
Single by U2
from the album Rattle and Hum
B-side"A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel"
Released1 December 1988
StudioSun Studio (Memphis)
  • U2 (music)
  • Bono (lyrics)
Producer(s)Jimmy Iovine
U2 singles chronology
"Angel of Harlem"
"When Love Comes to Town"


The lyrical content of the song refers to various New York City-area landmarks, including JFK airport, WBLS radio and Harlem. It also refers to jazz-related history including John Coltrane and A Love Supreme, Birdland club, Miles Davis and Holiday herself ("Lady Day").


"Angel of Harlem" was written during 1987's Joshua Tree Tour and the in-studio performance on the Rattle and Hum movie dates from a recording session at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, during the later stages of the tour's third leg. The song was a regular on 1989's Lovetown Tour and was played with B.B. King's band. A stripped-down acoustic rendition was performed on the Zoo TV Tour in 1992 and 1993 on a b-stage positioned in the midst of the crowd. It was then not played again until 2001's Elevation Tour, when it was sometimes performed acoustically and sometimes in its original electric style, albeit without the brass section.[citation needed]

The only performances on 2005's Vertigo Tour came when a fan was pulled on stage in Dallas in late October to play guitar. The fan asked to play "Angel of Harlem" and although Bono's knowledge of the lyrics was poor, the band agreed to the request and the fan played the song along with them.[citation needed]

The song has also been performed on 2009's U2 360° Tour with dedications to Michael Jackson, and included snippets of "Man in the Mirror" and "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough." In the Berlin concert of the 360° Tour three young fans from Prague, Czech Republic, held signs asking to play "Angel of Harlem" together with U2, Bono invited them to the stage, the band lent them the instruments and they played the song together.[2][3]

Track listingsEdit

7" and cassette release
1."Angel of Harlem"3:47
2."A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel"5:29
12" and CD release
1."Angel of Harlem"3:47
2."A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel"5:29
3."Love Rescue Me" (Live in London, England, 16 October 1988; featuring Ziggy Marley and Keith Richards)5:24

The version of "A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel" on The Best of 1980-1990 B-Sides disc is actually an edit of the version on this single.


Chart positionsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ U2PopTarts (17 July 2010). "Fans on stage with U2: Angel Of Harlem, Berlin 2009 (multicam)" – via YouTube.
  4. ^ " – U2 – Angel of Harlem". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  5. ^ " – U2 – Angel of Harlem" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  6. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  7. ^ "RPM100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. Vol. 49 no. 16. 13–18 February 1989. p. 6.
  8. ^ " – U2 – Angel of Harlem". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  9. ^ "Irish Singles Chart". The Irish Charts. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-23. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – U2" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  11. ^ " – U2 – Angel of Harlem". Top 40 Singles.
  12. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  13. ^ " – U2 – Angel of Harlem". Swiss Singles Chart.
  14. ^ " search results: U2". Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-22. Note: U2 must be searched manually.
  15. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 51, No. 8, December 23, 1989". RPM. December 23, 1999. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017. Retrieved November 22, 2017.

External linksEdit