"Achtung Baby" by U2 has been named as this year's RTÉ Choice Music Prize Classic Irish Album.

U2's 1991 album was announced as the Classic Irish Album by Will Leahy RTÉ Gold on February 22, ahead of the RTÉ Choice Music Prize live event in Dublin's Vicar Street venue on March 7.

The prize, in its second year, celebrates the cultural and artistic impact of a body of work by an Irish artist, band or collective that was released to the general public as an album at least 25 years prior to the year for which it is being awarded.

It is unclear whether U2 will be in attendance to receive the award, with the band set to finish its residency at the Las Vegas Sphere on March 2. 

The RTÉ Choice Music Prize Classic Irish Album, in association with IMRO & IRMA, has just been announced on RTÉ Gold by Will Leahy.

The winning album is: Achtung Baby by @U2 💿#RTEChoicePrize pic.twitter.com/TOirS36Iaz

— RTÉ Choice Music (@choiceprize) February 22, 2024

Recorded over six months at Hansa Studio in Berlin and Windmill Lane in Dublin, "Achtung Baby" is U2’s seventh studio album. It was produced by longtime U2 collaborators Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno with Steve Lillywhite and was engineered by Flood.

Released on November 18, 1991, "Achtung Baby" featured singles "The Fly," "Mysterious Ways," "One," "Even Better Than The Real Thing," and "Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses."

The album won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance and became one of the most significant records of the 90s and of U2’s career.

Bono described "Achtung Baby" as “the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree” while Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote that “stripped-down and defying its old formulas, U2 has given itself a fighting chance for the 1990s."

The judges for the RTÉ Choice Music Prize Classic Irish Album were Sinead Crowley (Coimisiún na Meán), Michael Kealy (RTÉ TV), Maeve Quigley (Irish Daily Mail) and Will Leahy (RTÉ Gold) with Paul Russell (2FM) as the chairperson.

Announcing "Achtung Baby" as the winner, the panel said: “The panel is unanimous that you cannot deny the album’s authenticity and significant cultural impact as one classic song after another unfolds over 55 minutes.

"To this day, it still resonates as a collection of songs that capture the spirit of change at both a personal as well as a societal level, when the Berlin wall came tumbling down, and Ireland sensed a change in the air.

"The ground-breaking Zoo TV Tour in support of the album helped to re-invent the stadium show and now over 30 years later, Achtung Baby is at the heart of the globally acclaimed ‘U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere’, a string of ground-breaking performances which launched Sphere, the cutting-edge new venue in Las Vegas."

"Achtung Baby" is the second-ever recipient of the Classic Irish Album award. Last year, Sinéad O'Connor won for her album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" just months before her death.

A number of other Choice Music Prize recipients will be announced on March 7, including the winners of the Irish Album of the Year 2023, Irish Breakthrough Artist, and Irish Artist of the Year. The winner of Irish Song of the Year 2023 will be announced on RTÉ 2FM earlier in the day. 

Several newcomers, including Jazzy and Cian Ducrot, have been nominated for the Artist of the Year award along with Hozier and contemporary folk band Lankum. Irish singer-songwriter CMAT rounds off the Artist of the Year nominees. 

All five artists have also been nominated in the Irish Song of the Year category, while CMAT and Lankum have additionally been nominated in the Album of the Year category. 

Irish Song of the Year 2023

  • Chubby Cat – "Big Dog Barking"
  • Cian Ducrot – "Heaven"
  • CMAT – "Stay For Something"
  • Hozier – "Eat Your Young"
  • Jazzy – "Giving Me"
  • John Francis Flynn – "Mole In The Ground"
  • Kojaque – "Woof"
  • Lankum –"Go Dig My Grave"
  • Niall Horan – "Heaven"
  • Soda Blonde – "Bad Machine"

Irish Album of the Year 2023

  • Grian Chatten – "Chaos For The Fly"
  • CMAT – "Crazymad For Me"
  • John Francis Flynn – "Look Over The Wall, See The Sky"
  • Kojaque – "Phantom of the Afters"
  • Lankum – "False Lankum"
  • Rachael Lavelle – "Big Dreams"
  • The Murder Capital – "Gigi’s Recovery"
  • The Scratch – "Mind Yourself"
  • Soda Blonde – "Dream Big"
  • Ezra Williams – "Supernumeraries"

Irish Artist of the Year

  • CMAT
  • Cian Ducrot
  • Hozier
  • Jazzy
  • Lankum

Breakthrough Irish Artist of the Year

  • 49th & Main
  • Jazzy
  • John Francis Flynn
  • OXN
  • The Scratch