2004's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was an album that not only led to three more Grammy Awards for U2, but heralded their momentous arrival in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From the very first sound of Larry Mullen Jr's sticks and Bono's count-in to "Vertigo," there was no room for doubt that they were in the mood to complete the circle back to being the uncompromising rock ‘n' roll band we first knew. The resolution to make a definitive rock ‘n' roll record was unshakeable and Steve Lillywhite jumped aboard as the album's principal producer. He was just the link with U2's lean and formative persona that was required, chief among a cast of eight production contributors that included further longtime confidants Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and Flood, and newer collaborators Jacknife Lee, Nellee Hooper and Carl Glanville.
The calling card was the unstoppable "Vertigo," the sort of definitive U2 single to give "rifferama," as Bono called it, a good name. It was one of the earliest ideas for what became How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, a riff that immediately sounded like something from the annals of classic rock, somewhere between Zeppelin and the Stooges, but with a 21st century vitality that was entirely custom-made. The song smashed straight to No. 1 in the UK, their sixth chart-topping single. Two weeks later, when the album arrived, it was clear that U2 had outrun all of the misfortune to complete a record full of new signature tunes. Underpinned by rock guitar, they came in a wide variety of moods and tempos, from loud and extrovert on "All Because Of You" to contemplative on "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own."
Indeed, the album was immersed in that rare spirit that this quartet had developed over decades by now: never to be afraid of thinking big, with inspiring songs that put their arms around their entire world of devotees.