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Unfairly dismissed artists and bands? Starting with…U2 October 11, 2020

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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A new occasional series where people are invited to write about bands or musicians who they feel have been unfairly dismissed either by this site or more widely! So if you take issue with a This Weekend, or just want to sing the praises of a group or whoever, just email us at the site with your contribution.

Many thanks to Alan Myler for the following:

Where to start with this? U2. Bono, stadium rock, christianity, neoliberalism, lots of things in the mix that don’t add up to U2 being worthy of a TWIBMLT piece. Especially  on a Left wing blog. No arguments from me. But yet, patience comrades, stick with me.

So how to do this? A song from every album? No, boring, too many big songs, too many bland ones too. B-sides? Well i stopped buying their vinyl in the 80s so that won’t do either, and I’m not that big a fan anymore. But once upon a time I was, a huge fan.

In that once upon a time, before U2 became what they are, whatever that is now, they were a young band on the Dublin music scene. I was a teenager, 15 years old. They were teenagers, a few years older. At my age the Dublin music scene was an unknown, other than what I could tune into on a couple of radio programmes, the late night rock shows, hosted by Pat James on Radio Dublin and Dave Fanning on Big D, or had he moved to the new RTE Radio Two by then, I can’t recall? Pat James in particular was someone I listened to every night, not so much Dave Fanning as I had to get up for school the next day and teenagers do need their sleep. It was a music scene that also revolved around secondhand record shops, and maybe working up the courage to make one’s way through the punks and mods and other scary characters outside Advance Records where the Stephen’s green Shopping Centre is now. And weekend afternoon gigs in the Dandelion. If teenagers are impressionable, and Bono later claimed that the band’s visit to see the Ramones playing in the cinema in Cabra was what gave them what we’d now call their passion to do what they went on to do, well my own awakening to the power of live music was in the late summer of 1979 in the shed in the carpark in the Dandelion market, when in the space of a couple of weeks I experienced D.C. Nien and then U2 in the company of maybe a hundred other teenagers. A lifechanging experience. All of this only by way of setting the context for this post.

So, I’m going to be completely authentic here and list a few songs from U2’s past, before they got their CBS Ireland record deal that gave them their first couple of single releases here in Ireland, before their international deal with Island. Authentic because I have actually spent the past few weeks listening to these tracks again. Some of them appeared on the first album Boy. But many of them didn’t make that cut, and while I like the Boy album even now, it might even be my favourite album of theirs, and while I was  so excited to listen to it when it was first released in the early winter of 1981, well I   was also a bit disappointed then and to this day still that the early tracks, upon which my lifelong relationship with the band and their music was started, well just disappointed that those early songs were left behind, when in retrospect some 40 years later I would consider the rawness and relative lack of sophistication to be what marked them out as being special and allowed them to still be a musical force of sorts 40 years later. A more reactionary force now perhaps, and though we may have wandered apart from each other over those years I do still buy their albums.

So let’s kick off with a slow number. This one is from their first demo tape which was recorded in late 78 I think. It made it onto the first album, Boy, but in a much reworked form that even from the first listen I considered inferior to the original. Possibly the weakest track on that album, but in their live performances up to that point it was a crowd favourite for sure. The title is taken from a chapter in Lord Of the Flies, and whatever the lyrics light be about I’ve never been quite sure, other than them being a sort of teenage angsty poetry of sorts. The song is Shadows And Tall Trees, and if you don’t love the guitar sound in this one there’s something wrong with you.

Next up is one that also made it onto Boy, and was previously the B-side of their second single. This version is from their second demo, recorded in early 1979. The song is Twilight. The lyrics deal with growing up, teenage, that awful time between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers these days have anxiety and mental health disorders to beat the band but back then we also had to deal with boredom, alienation, social isolation, the whole beans. We’ve all been there I’m sure to one extent or other. So these types of topics, while dealt with in superficial ways in the lyrics of this song and many others, well they resonated back in the day. But for me what makes this song memorable is the bass line that weaves in and out, the way the song builds up to a crescendo, the vocals, the guitar, the whole mixed up cacophany of it all. I pogoed to this back in the day in     the Dandelion and I’d do the same now in the kitchen writing this if my family would let me.

Next up, possibly my favourite song of theirs at the moment. The band often talked in their early days of their inability to play the music of other bands, their lack of musical talent, and how bands like the Ramones and the Clash gave them permission to make music regardless. But they also talked about the influence of Television and the guitar  playing of Tom Verlaine, and to me this comes through strongly in this one. Again, it’s a track that made the cut onto Boy, and much as I like that version I prefer this one from that second demo tape from 1979. The song is Another Time Another Place. Again I’ve no idea what the lyrics are about, and it doesn’t really matter, it’s the guitar on this one that shines out for me. It’s raw, he hits a few bum notes, but again no matter.

So, this one was one of those left behind, a tune with a few different names, The Magic Carpet, Judith, Life On a Distant Planet. It rumbles on, the guitar jangles, Bono’s voice again weaves in and out. I don’t know why they dropped this one, maybe it was the subject matter, being about mental disability, or maybe they just thought it wasn’t that good a song. I’d disagree.

This one is just a boppy pop song that bounces along, sort of like the track Boy/Girl in that sense, nothing too deep. Alone In The Light.

If there was an early sign of U2’s Christian tendencies maybe this one could be it. I still like the catchiness of it though. This recording is off the radio so the quality isn’t great. What’s noticeable though is that the general sound of these early tracks is very different to what the band became once Steve Lilywhite got his hands on them at the time of recording their first album for Island records. I guess it was progress of sorts, but they all but lost the rawness of that early post-punk sound. For a band that has developed and reinvented its sound a couple of times at least during its long career there’s no question that progress has to be a good thing, but it’s just a pity  that  they  didn’t preserve that early incarnation of themselves, that beginning, other than in these leaked poor quality recordings of those original tapes. Anyway, here is False Prophet.

I’ll wrap up this short set with the same track that the band themselves used to finish up live. This one made it onto Boy. It also made it onto the A-side of the first single for CBS. And it’s the song that started me off a month ago relistening to these early tracks.

This one was a favourite with the fan’s for good reason. It has a  cracking  intro.  It thumps along. It is the shining example of the best that the early band were capable of.

This version is from the first single, but there is an earlier version from the early 1979 demo tape that I haven’t been able to find online anywhere, and which is even better to my ears. The reason I went down this rabbit hole again recently, without giving away too much personal information, is that one of my kids is having a tough time being a teenager for the past few years. She was 18 years old in September. I remember being 18 myself, it was a tough time, and this song meant a lot to me at that stage of my angsty years, so I thought it might help my daughter of she knew that I was once in similar shoes, and that this song in some small way helped me get through that. As existential anthems go this one is probably lightweight enough, but in  the limited horizons of Dublin in the late 70s this was as good as it got for me. The song is Out Of Control. I was pleased to hear that she had added it to her Spotify playlist subsequently., albeit the later version from Boy.

So finally, if any of these tracks are new to you, if you like the sound of the band from that era, I’ll point you at the greatest live album never made, the recording made by RTE of the band’s live performance in the National Stadium in early 1980. It contains most of the tracks above, and a good few others that never made it onto vinyl or CD, not officially anyway. Well I’m kidding about it being the best live album, but only a bit.

Like SonOfStan’s description of listening to the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street over and over again until every note is etched into the brain, well this one is the same for   me. I was there at the gig the night this was recorded, having gotten the 86 bus from Leopardstown (yep, I’m a southsider) to the South Circular Road. I was 15 years old, in 5th year in school. It was magical. And it only seems like yesterday when I listen to the recording. How to stay young, eh. Enjoy.

A postscript. There’s a tribute band called Zooropa doing the rounds in Dublin etc. We saw them in Navan a couple of years ago and again in the Church on Mary St last year. They’re a great night out if you’re a U2 fan, openly or in the closet. I’ve no connection  with the band, just putting it out there to share the joy.

Comments»

1. WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2020

I’ve no quibble with U2 up to A Celebration (and maybe New Years Day). Boy is a good if incredibly raw album though I take your point that it is a lot less raw than what came before (amazingly so to my ears these days). October is a great album that suffers from odd pacing. But they really had something. After that I baled out. I never had a problem with their Christian angle, they never seemed too preachy about that particular side (later though you know who became very preachy indeed).

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2. sonofstan - October 11, 2020

If the early recordings are the ones I think they are, I heard them at the time as someone I knew was involved (don’t want to name names – they can be quite litigious…)
I saw their first or second gig as U2 in the Church Hall in Sutton and quite a few times over the next couple of years. I remember a show in Sherriff St. during the Gregory Deal years where Paul was a bit insufferable about rising above the social situation with a bit of positive thinking?
I was never impressed, one way or the other, but it always sounds like begrudgery so I generally shut up (mostly :))
One thing though: I remember their first London gig was with Echo and the Bunnymen, Teardrop Explodes and one other band I can’t now remember – they were down the bill, but within a few years had effortlessly surpassed the others in terms of success – I think because they weren’t as bothered about the echo chamber of the UK music press/ radio/ etc. and understood that there was a world out there.

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oliverbohs - October 11, 2020

A funny thing, U2 had the knack of pulling out enough decent tunes at regular intervals over two decades to keep them impossible to ignore. To me a lot of those wd be all played out and I’d be happy not to hear them again (same cd be said of the Beatles). But they meant a lot to millions then. And 20 years of being decent if not earth shattering isn’t bad going. And Bongo was v uncool compared to every one of his post punk contemporaries. Ultimately the obviousness of his whole shtick and total lack of mystery was a drawback in that way. Michael Hutchence had to be on stage with a pub band every gigging night but was the second coming of Chris combined with Jim Morrison compared to Bongo

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WorldbyStorm - October 11, 2020

Yeah that’s an interesting point re obviousness OB. I think that’s very true.

Agree Stan, they were sensible in having their sights set a lot higher than acclaimation in the NME or Melody Maker. Problem was there was never a clear yardstick for what represented success after that. urghhh… I hate that positive thinking can trump material conditions line…

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oliverbohs - October 12, 2020

😬 Fast forward 22 years to half time at the Super bowl…

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3. tafkaGW - October 12, 2020

I wish it could attain an open mind, but I feel every click on an U2 track is another penny in the coffers of serial property speculators and tax evaders.

So I won’t be reconsidering my boycott of them, musically of politically.

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4. NFB - October 12, 2020

Those who read the blog will know I’m a pro-wrestling fan. I went to a WWE show with my GF in the 3Arena a few years ago, and one of the wrestlers is a guy named Elias, whose gimmick is that of a drifter guitar player. As a heel/bad guy he starts off every appearance alone in the ring, strumming a few chords and singing a song that runs down the crowd. Part of that is usually picking a local musical celebrity and implying that they were/are rubbish and they actually got all of their ideas from him. This of course i meant to get the crowd, outraged, to boo him.

Anyway, in Dublin that night he naturally picks Bono, and I can’t even remember what he said, it was along the lines of what I outlined above. And, of course, the Dublin crowd to a man all cheered Bono getting insulted. I remember the confused look on Elias’ face. I think my GF was the only exception that I could see, she just rolled her eyes at the reaction.

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5. alanmyler - October 12, 2020

Appreciate the comments above all, I genuinely didn’t really expect anyone to engage with the post at all, given the at best indifference towards the band from those on the Left, as perfectly encapsulated by TafkaGW’s comment above. I completely get that by the way, and if I hadn’t been such a fan of the band early on I’m sure I’d feel the same now.

I also get where SonOfStan and OliverBohs are coming from in their weariness towards or disinterest in the music itself. Obviously I don’t fully share that sentiment myself, but it’s been an interesting experience over the years and decades whereby as a long-term fan of the band I came into contact with people who became fans long after myself, maybe at the time of The Joshua Tree album, or Achtung Baby, as those two albums really were sorts of turning points in the bands career and musical journey. Those new fans were really following a very different band to the one I was into, their relationship to the band and their history was very different. Typically, in my experience, they were people for whom music wasn’t as all consuming a passion as it was for me in my heyday. They were becoming passionate about the band’s music at a time when I myself was wearying of it. (In fact I only bought the Joshua Tree album on CD sometime in the 2000s.) It all just became a bit beige, a bit formulaic, a bit dull.

For me there are significant parallels in this to the political journey necessary for the success of a mass party of the Left. How does the original core of fans cope with the changes that occur as their project broadens out and gains popularity and loses elements of whatever it was that made them special to that original core? How do deal with the dumbing down, the inflation of importance of the main protagonists, the turns along the way, whether at Salerno in 1944 or in some midwestern US stadium in the late 90s? Bono is no Togliatti of course.

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rockroots - October 17, 2020

Supposing, Alan, that someone had come into possession of a rough demo tape from their Hype days – is that something particularly rare? Asking for a friend. 😉

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alanmyler - October 18, 2020

Genuinely don’t know the answer to that but I would expect so. Might be very rare indeed. I’d never heard of any recording from that early on. Do you, or your friend, know what tracks are on the recording?

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rockroots - October 18, 2020

Being a fairly casual fan I couldn’t be sure of titles, nor of whether it was something widely bootlegged. Perhaps the CLR’s Supreme Leader might facilitate a private fileshare, just in the interests of research.

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2020

Surely – no problem – I’ll ask them 🙂

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6. Joe - October 12, 2020

I met a semi-retired, very experienced guitarist from the Dublin scene a year or so back who told me that he’d been onstage before one of their big gigs in Dublin and was surprised at all the equipment under the stage. I’m not a techno or a musician but I think he was trying to say to me that there was a bit of a Monkees vibe about the band by then.
Then again we’re a nation of begrudgers.
I bought Boy and liked it. Can still play some of that early stuff in my head. It was decent. But I begrudge Bono – he was born the same year as me on the same side of town and look at us both now :). I do appreciate though the one thing he taught me – how to correctly pronounce the letter o – he started a landslide in his egow.

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alanmyler - October 12, 2020

Joe, about the gear under the stage at the big gigs, there’s a fascinating video on YouTube that interviews the band’s guitar support guy, he who is responsible for getting all the guitars and amps and effects ready for when Edge walks onto the stage. He’s a yank, calls people man and cat, you know the sort. Anyhow he was saying that Edge is a complete perfectionist, obsessive, and he has various guitar amp / microphone setups under the stage which are used for different songs due to their different tones, and not only that but Edge insists on a completely dual redundant setup in case one of the amps fails mid set. All of which adds up to a ridiculous amount of equipment hidden away behind the scenes, but not a Monkees situation. As for pronouncing your o’s properly, is that not just a DORT thing? We’ve friends who live in Blackrock and their kids have that ow as in owl sound to the o’s. Bono was clearly just an early adopter, with an eye to moving to Killiney once he hit the bigtime.

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Joe - October 12, 2020

He must have picked it up in school so. Finglas isn’t on the DORT line but Mount Temple is.
Come to think of it, Finglas is still hanging on for a Luas extension and/or a MetroLink and/or any number of other infrastructure promises that will be put before the northside electorate before the next three or four general elections.
I’m not waiting at an airport, I’m not waiting at a station…. I’m standing at a bus stop.
It’s mad, what was Paul Wotsit thinking? Isn’t Ringsend on the DART line?

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6to5against - October 12, 2020

Well Ringsend is on the DART, but he’d just woken up in an ‘unfamiliar room,’ hadn’t he?

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Joe - October 12, 2020

Top person, 6to5. I only remember the ‘chorus’.

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7. sonofstan - October 12, 2020

No it’s not a Monkees situation. Most of the big stadium level acts do the same, and the tech world will be under the stage, which is almost always a touring stage, built and dismantled on the day of the show.
Which is not to say that there will not be occasional ‘reinforcement’ – quite often, there will be extra musicians semi-hidden in the wings (not with U2 to my knowledge) and bits of extra samples and stuff triggered by techs rather than the musicians onstage. Where once it was the case that records tried to sound as much like a live performance as possible, it’s now the oppposite and the live performance mimics the record, which can sometimes present challenges, since there’ll be ay number of overdubs on the record.
Something odd about the lads though that occurred to me: they’ve done almost no solo stuff. Edge did an EP with Wobble and Holgar Czukay, and Bono has lent his voice to various charity things, but no solo albums, no side projects….. No sure the world needs an Adam Clayton record, but still.

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WorldbyStorm - October 12, 2020

That is a strange one alright. Thinking of the sort of groups they’re so often compared to I’m hard pressed to think of one act where members didn’t do any solo work at all, granted sometimes after the bands had ceased to be, but not always.

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alanmyler - October 12, 2020

That’s a good point SoS, and not one I’d ever given any thought to. I’m not that familiar with the inner workings of the band by any means but anything I’ve read or heard from the various members would point to Edge being a musical dictator in the band, with a workaholic perfectionist sense of ownership of even the most minute details. I suppose Bono gets to be the public face of things and behind the scenes it’s nearly all Edge, with Bono providing lyrics and the other pair showing up for recording sessions to fill in the bits that Edge has written for them. Now if that’s even half accurate I’d imaging that the interpersonal tensions caused by that would have risen to a head within a few years of starting out, so at this stage presumably everyone has made their peace with it and is happy to go along for the ride. Underlying all of this is that the song writing credits are given to all four band members equally, so presumably the hired help in the rhythm section are happy enough with their situation and don’t feel the need to go solo in order to boost their income or their ego(w)s. Adam and Larry did collaborate on that world cup adaptation of Horslips’ Dearg Doom back in the 90s, Put ‘Em Under Pressure. Perhaps after that they realised that their musical future without Edge and Bono in the picture just didn’t really have legs?

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6to5against - October 12, 2020
8. 6to5against - October 12, 2020

If we could separate the musical product of U2 from the hard-to-ignore doings of Bono, would we feel the same about them.

I would actively avoid a U2 concert and I don’t think I’ve ever bought any of their product, but I would also be inclined to think they’ve had some good moments. And I think they deserve credit for being prepared to evolve. Whatever their crimes, they have never sat back and just tried to recreate a few hits over and over again.

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9. pettyburgess - October 12, 2020

U2 as a band rather than a brand were before my time. They were already The Biggest Band In The World tm by the time I was even dimly aware of them. From that perspective, without any teenage memories of before they were famous gigs to fill in the holes, I think that the single thing that strikes me about them is how much less prominent than the band their actual music is and always seemed to be. They seemed to be more like cardboard cut outs of Rock Stars than like an actual band.

I can think of very few rock acts of anything approaching their size and fame which have left less of a musical imprint on the world. Very few of their songs are regularly played at least anywhere I might hear them. Only a couple of songs have entered the standards repertoire of bores with acoustic guitars. With the exception of a few Irish would be next big things who followed in their wake, I can’t see that they’ve had much distinctive influence on acts that came after.

This seems linked to the lack of solo material in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on. With the exception of the Edge, they just don’t seem like the kind of people who are bursting with a need to make music.

It also means that the hostility they attract mostly isn’t directly about their music either. I’ve always shared the disdain for them that was standard among somewhat younger Dubliners convinced that our own tastes were altogether more sophisticated, but in retrospect that disdain was always focused on the posture, the act, the stadium messianism and leather pants. They can’t say that I was ever familiar enough with their music to have particularly grounded opinions about it (which never stopped me of course)

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sonofstan - October 12, 2020

” With the exception of the Edge, they just don’t seem like the kind of people who are bursting with a need to make music”

I’m not sure he is either – I remember reading something where he was all ‘it’s my job’ about it, but saying music wasn’t a huge part of his life otherwise.

“Edge being a musical dictator in the band, with a workaholic perfectionist sense of ownership of even the most minute details”

@AM – there’s a good piece in a really good book by Alison Stone called ‘The Value of Popular Music’ where she talks about the recording of ‘With or Without You’ and the role of the happy accident. So maybe not that anal….

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alanmyler - October 12, 2020

What was the gist of that story SoS, it sounds intriguing?

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sonofstan - October 12, 2020

There’s a review of the book here by some eejit that summarises it:
https://www.academia.edu/41173040/The_Value_of_Popular_Music_Stone_Review_for_PMS

(A fair bit in – control +F is your friend)

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10. Phil - October 12, 2020

Almost everything U2 have done since War has given me that “OK, got it, what else is there?” feeling that I get from (e.g.) Springsteen (most of the time); I guess you’re either on board or you aren’t. The early stuff is much more interesting, although even then I was never a fan – I got “11 o’clock tick-tock” to see what the (minor!) fuss was about, didn’t much like it, tuned out. (“Treasure (WHTPTC)” was good though.)

Comparing U2’s career with (e.g.) Echo &TB’s – or Simple Minds’ – is interesting. It reminds me a bit of a friend of ours at university. Nobody really knew what they were going to end up doing, except this guy – he was going to be a doctor, make consultant by 40 and retire at 50; he even knew what car he was going to drive. And, in time, he did. U2 really wanted to be the biggest band in the world (and they had the chops to back it up and the cohesion to stay together long enough) – and, in time, they were.

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Phil - October 12, 2020

What do you know, “Silver Lining” is “11 o’clock”, only without the pretentious and preachy are we not all but children…? angle and with a less irritating title – without most of the things that always annoy[ed] me about U2, in other words! What might have been eh.

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alanmyler - October 12, 2020

Springsteen is a good comparison in that respect alright. As it happens I do like Springsteen’s early albums up to and including Nebraska, but I tire of listening to him quite quickly.

If you’re listening to that live recording you’ll hear the original Pete The Chop which sort of evolved into Treasure, with the original being far better in my opinion.

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11. crocodileshoes - October 12, 2020

Class – they were too middle – and careerism – they were well-managed, their gear was expensive – had a lot to do with the aversion many of their contemporaries felt. So did the bumptious personalities of some of the main players. I must have seen them 30 times before they released an lp (such quaint terminology) but never since. I was usually there to see what the other half of the bill, the Prunes, were up to.
Musically, they never were more interesting than in those early songs ‘Street Mission’, ‘Cartoon World’,’False Prophet’. And they put on a show – an aspect of music that has never been a high priority in Irish ‘rock’. I can see why people like/d them but haven’t heard anything to interest me since about 1982. (Re solo projects, my favourite is Bono’s cover of Jimmie Rogers’ ‘Dancing With Tears in my Eyes’.)
Telling fact: if you google ‘Bono’, the first suggestion that comes up is ‘Bono net worth.’

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crocodileshoes - October 12, 2020

That’s ‘Dreaming’, not ‘dancing’.

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Phil - October 13, 2020

I was usually there to see what the other half of the bill, the Prunes, were up to

I remember that period, although very differently – I just remember Dave McCullough in Sounds enthusiastically plugging this Irish band you’d never heard of with the weird names Bono Vox would you believe, and the next week plugging this other Irish band you’d never heard of with the weird names Haa Lacka Binttii would you believe… Peel didn’t like the Prunes, though, so they never really impinged on me musically. They had a slot on the legendary C81 cassette, for which they turned in a completely forgettable instrumental. Catch Bongo throwing away that kind of exposure…

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12. oliverbohs - October 12, 2020

When I was working in an insurance company that I won’t name the radio was always on and in the 00s U2 were all over the radio, usually the greatest hits, which added to the tedium pretty much. These days that same radio station plays chart music now, which is it’s own bland genre really nowadays, capitalism in aural form. Even U2 wd be a bit old fashioned now. And in all the years I never heard the Beatles much on radio either for whatever reason.
As for old acts that let you down, well the Who Stones Oasis etc never had messiah complexes as bad as Bongo had. I’d contend plenty took him seriously enough for a long time (check out the 80s World in Action doc about them) but what people associate with him now is stuff from the past 20 years. Any cool critical analysis of U2 from these shores is impossible too, the way it’s impossible to discuss Dylan without sounding like… u know who

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sonofstan - October 12, 2020

“Very few of their songs are regularly played at least anywhere I might hear them. Only a couple of songs have entered the standards repertoire of bores with acoustic guitars”

They’re not really alone in that though: apart from ‘Creep’, Radiohead don’t feature in the buskers armoury, nor, cept for ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ do the original Radiohead Pink Floyd .

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pettyburgess - October 12, 2020

Fair point but I think tends to be true among very big acts on the more, well, proggy end of the spectrum which I don’t think really fits U2.

I think you are underestimating the degree to which a bunch of songs off OK Computer have a continuing presence by the way. I’ve no particular fondness for that stuff but I still hear it regularly enough whether I want to or not.

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13. Michael Carley - October 12, 2020

Never a great fan and I own none of their albums but in the early eighties, they were clearly set for world domination, and they were, at least then, an Irish act, and one which would be the biggest act on earth in a way that Van the Man, Gallagher, Lynott, the Rats, whatever weren’t.

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Starkadder - October 14, 2020

Good point. Also remember that in the 1980s, Irish society was more insular, and Irish people who were world famous were pretty rare (I’d struggle to think of any besides U2 and Bob Geldof). So U2 became ambassadors for Irishness.

I can listen to any of their stuff up to Zooropa…after that I lost interest. I still think “New Year’s Day” is one of the best songs of the 80s though.

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14. Joe - October 17, 2020

Just got a flyer in the door from An Post. They’ve issued special edition U2 stamps. Get down to Oifig an Phoist quick lads before they’re all gone.

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WorldbyStorm - October 17, 2020

🙂 Well that made me laugh.

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15. alanmyler - October 17, 2020

Since writing this I’ve gone deep Bono and read his interviews from the early noughties in this book

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bono:_In_Conversation_with_Michka_Assayas

It’s a fascinating read. I suppose I’d never really absorbed how central his Christian faith was to his life. I mean I knew about it, but not how it has formed him. It’s a tough read for a Lefty, as you might imagine. From praise of Jeffrey Sachs through his belief in the special role of the judeo christian tradition in the history of mankind, his anti colonial perspective which is grand like, and his anti communism. And of course his charity to the poor thing. Hard going. But fascinating all the same.

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roddy - October 17, 2020

And he backed deRossa in 89

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alanmyler - October 17, 2020

Can you expand on that Roddy? I’m surprised he’d have backed anyone from the Left tbh. He does say some positive things in the book about the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and Gorbachev, but other than that he doesn’t have anything good to say about socialism or socialists.

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2020

I recall in Hot Press in the late 80s he said in some ways the WPs position on a lot of issues was close to his, but I think there were caveats.

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alanmyler - October 18, 2020

I would expect that there would have been a shared antipathy towards nationalist militarism in the North, maybe some overlap in terms of secular republicanism and removing clerical influence in public life, an overlap between charitable care of the poor and vulnerable which would be the left end of Christian Democratic politics and a more leftwards social democratic worldview that the WP might have been misunderstood as representing. Anyway good on him for backing DeRossa in 89, presumably in the Euro election.

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2020

I kind of got the vibe and it’s years since I read it that he also supported more redistributionist economics then. Not sure that lasted long.

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16. roddy - October 17, 2020

I’m sure those posters on this site who were WP at the time will confirm that Bono supported DeRossa in his successful Euro run that year.

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Joe - October 17, 2020

Have to say it’s the first I heard of it Roddy. Not saying there isnt something in what you said. Just it never registered with me. How did he support him?

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roddy - October 17, 2020

He said he voted for him .

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Joe - October 18, 2020

Ah ok. I thought you meant supported him in the campaign. I think Bono always votes for winners.

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roddy - October 18, 2020

Glad that my 60 plus year old memory was’nt playing tricks.As for voting for winners,I don’t recall that particular arsehole claiming to have voted for Dessie Ellis!

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2020

Always thought DE a sound man, but didn’t he start out briefly in OSF?

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Dekkard - October 18, 2020

Roddy you’re right. I think Bono was asked who he would vote for in the Eurios and he said De Rossa.

The WP put out posters/stickers with ‘U2 can vote for the Workers Party’ (or a pun to that effect) shortly after

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alanmyler - October 18, 2020

Brilliant!

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17. roddy - October 18, 2020

So Bono was attracted to someone “with a shared antipathy to nationalist militarism”(despite the fact that the WP themselves at one point participated in “nationalist militarism” and at the time were engaged in gangsterism in cahoots with the worst elements of Loyalism )Bono’s “secular republicanism” ammounted to him taking an honour from British royalty and the “left end of Christian democratism” involved paying no tax in his own country.In short two hypocritical bastards helped each other out.

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alanmyler - October 18, 2020

Not sure what to do except laugh at that response really. Enjoy your day roddy.

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roddy - October 18, 2020

Laugh all you like but show me one part of that response that is factually incorrect.

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alanmyler - October 18, 2020

You’re a glass half empty character Roddy, with that comment just being the most Roddy-like yet. You’re really just an AI programmed to be bitterly anti WP in any situation aren’t you. That’s what I was laughing at. Anyway don’t mind me, enjoy your sunday regardless. Nice day out for mid October here in Meath, hopefully equally so up your neck of the woods.

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18. Starkadder - October 18, 2020

Dare somebody rise to the challenge of defending Dire Straits, Gary Numan or Marillion here?

Personally I’ve always had a soft spot for the former, as they are my father’s favourite band and he often played Brothers in Arms on our summer holidays.

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WorldbyStorm - October 18, 2020

Please do. Gary Numan, no problem. Marillion. That’s a trickier one.

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Paul Culloty - October 18, 2020

Interesting article in today’s Sunday Independent, where it seems most of Numan’s personal idiosyncrasies are attributed to Asperger’s.

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alanmyler - October 18, 2020

Dire Straits are a band I’ll always associate with early adopters of the CD, nerdy types with more money than sense or taste. But, having said that, Sultans of Swing is one of the first singles I ever bought and it’s a cracking tune. I’d forgotten how fantastic it was until a couple of summers ago I was driving up to Cavan for my insomnia therapy session and it came on the radio and I had one of those magical moments of pure joy driving through the land time forgot in glorious sunshine singing along to that brilliant song. Great track. All downhill for them from there though.

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Starkadder - October 18, 2020

“Sultans of Swing” is a great track. I’d also rate “Private Investigations”, “So Far Away” and “Your Latest Trick” , where Knopfler made a not-bad detour into Elvis Costello territory,

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