Remember when Bono wasn’t an arena rock god? It’s hard to believe that there was the time when U2 were a small Irish band emerging from the Post-Punk scene—back when they began their career, on October 20th, 1980 with their amazing debut studio album Boy.
Boy was recorded over a time span of five months, by a band that borrowed a lot from their peers – namely Siouxsie and the Banshees, from whom they pilfered the Glockenspiel sound that defines their first hit single “I Will Follow”, and Joy Division, whose producer Martin Hannett was supposed to produce U2’s debut album following his work on their second single “11 O’Clock Tick Tock“. But only two days following the release of the track by U2, Joy Division’s Ian Curtis’ tragically committed suicide, leaving the Factory Records sound engineer, Hannett, too distraught to continue his work with U2.
Despite this, Siouxsie and the Banshee’s producer Steven Lillywhite’s production on the album is quite remarkable, and it’s hard to imagine Boy sounding any other way.
There are many stories to be told about U2’s excellent debut record—one being their close connection to the Virgin Prunes—and that the brother of Prunes guitarist Guggi, Peter Rowen, is the boy on the album cover as well as Dik, the Prunes’ drummer, being U2 guitarist The Edge’s brother.
Featuring great tracks such as “Stories For Boys”, “The Electric Co.”, “An Cat Dubh”, “I Will Follow”, and “Out Of Control”—just on this album alone, Boy is a celebration of a band that had been amazing right from the start and rightfully went on to achieve huge success, becoming one of the biggest bands of all time.
Before Bono eventually became the archetypal rockstar mutation with his persona The Fly, U2 followed up Boy with equally strong, sometimes even more compelling releases such as October, War, The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum or Achtung Baby. Nevertheless, U2’s youthful debut is an impressive debut from the Irish band, displaying a unique and youthful take on Post-Punk, while already capturing glimpses of what U2 would become.
1. “I Will Follow”
3. “An Cat Dubh”
4. “Into the Heart”
5. “Out of Control”
No. Title Length
1. “Stories for Boys”
2. “The Ocean”
3. “A Day Without Me”
4. “Another Time, Another Place”
5. “The Electric Co.”
6. “Shadows and Tall Trees”