War is the third studio album by Irish rock band U2, released on 28 February 1983. The album has come to be regarded as U2's first overtly political album, in part because of songs like "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "New Year's Day", as well as the title, which stems from the band's perception of the world at the time; Bono stated that "war seemed to be the motif for 1982."
While the central themes of their earlier albums Boy and October focused on adolescence and spirituality, respectively, War focused on both the physical aspects of warfare, and the emotional after-effects. Musically, it is also harsher than the band's previous releases. The album has been described as the record where the band "turned pacifism itself into a crusade."
War was a commercial success for the band, knocking Michael Jackson's Thriller from the top of the charts to become the band's first number 1 album in the UK. It reached number 12 in the US and became their first Gold-certified album there. While poorly received by British critics at the time of release, War has since gained critical acclaim. In 2012, the album was ranked number 223 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
The album was first released on 28 February 1983.
The boy on the cover is Peter Rowen (brother of Bono's friend, Guggi). He also appears on the covers of Boy, Three, The Best of 1980–1990, Early Demos and many singles. Bono described the reasoning behind the cover: "Instead of putting tanks and guns on the cover, we've put a child's face. War can also be a mental thing, an emotional thing between loves. It doesn't have to be a physical thing.
The original cassette release contains the entire album on each side.