If you have a copy of The Joshua Tree, you’ll know that the song “One Tree Hill” was inspired by the death of Greg Carroll, Bono’s personal assistant, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. Aaron points is to this story at U2 Songs featuring an interview with Greg’s brother.
One of the names you hear when any discussion of The Joshua Tree comes around is that of Greg Carroll. The album is dedicated to Greg. Carroll worked with the band starting in 1984, and who was involved in a motorcycle accident on July 3, 1986 in Dublin. He was taking Bono’s bike back to his house on a rainy night, and a car pulled out in front of him. Carroll hit the side of the car and did not survive. Carroll was only 26. It was Carroll’s death and U2’s attendance at the subsequent funeral, or “tangi” as they are called by the Maori that lead to the writing of “One Tree Hill”.
Carroll was born in New Zealand. In 1980 at the age of 20 he started to work in the music business, with the band Straight Flash from Wanganui. The band was made up of Tony Johns, his brother Andrew Johns, and Dave Maugher. The band were a new wave band and had only minimal success locally. But the band would reform in various incarnations over the years. Tony Johns who worked with Carroll in these different bands was happy to do an interview with us regarding his time in the bands, and his friend, Greg Carroll. He spoke with Harry by phone for this interview.