September 1980: Bono of U2 speaking to Ken Stewart on RTE Radio 2. Bono picked a bunch of songs to play — songs that had been significant to him, rather than just then-current favourites - and talked about them. A tape of I Will Follow was also played — this was a couple of weeks before its release as a single. U2's debut album, Boy, was released the following month.
(The programme was a pre-record which lasted an hour and 50 minutes and was broadcast from midnight, U2 obsessives may want to know.)
The playlist was as follows:
The Who: My Generation.
The Who: The Song is Over.
The Jam: All Around the World.
The Beatles: Strawberry Fields Forever.
Pink Floyd: See Emily Play.
T-Rex: 20th Century Boy.
Gary Glitter: Rock 'n' Roll part 1.
David Bowie: The Gene Genie.
Nat King Cole: Song of Delilah.
Roland Shaw and his orchestra.
U2: I Will Follow.
Wah Heat!: Better Scream.
Teardrop Explodes: Treason.
Joy Division: New Dawn Fades.
Magazine: The Light Pours Out of Me.
Leonard Cohen: Sisters of Mercy.
Richard Harris: MacArthur Park.
U2: A Day Without Me.
The photo montage is from the Dublin independent music magazine Vox, edition 2, May 1980, published by Dave Clifford and Ray Murphy.
And yes, Bono does indeed call the band "Joy Divisions". He and Edge were big fans of Unknown Pleasures, which is why they got Martin Hannett to produce 11 O'Clock Tick Tock in April 1980.
One night the previous month they went to Brittannia Row studio in Islington while they were in London for the Sense of Ireland festival. They were there to meet Hannett, but at least two members of Joy Division — Peter Hook and Ian Curtis — were there too. Joy Division were recording Closer at that time and Hannett tinkered with Love Will Tear Us Apart too, adding overdubs and doing various mixes of it. While U2 were in the studio, Hannett got out a mix of Love Will Tear Us Apart and played it for them — it was a version that was never released subsequently, and had the 12-string guitar higher in the mix than the single version. U2's visit to Brittannia Row most likely took place either on March 18th, the first day of the Closer sessions (which went on until March 30th) or March 20th, as the band played their Sense of Ireland gig on the 19th — supporting another Dublin band, Berlin, a Boomtown Rats knock-off act who had moved to London the previous autumn.
Bono says in this interview that U2 were wary of using Hannett for Boy because they feared he might overshadow the band. As I recall, the main problems with Hannett included his drug-induced torpor (he sat inertly for long periods during the recording of 11 O'Clock Tick Tock in Windmill Lane over Easter weekend in 1980; the band's nickname for him was Dr Who, because his behaviour was so peculiar and because he glancingly resembled Tom Baker in his timelord role); his insistence on the use of a click track for the drums, which Larry Mullen didn't like; and his unavailability in June 1980 because he was scheduled to mix the live sound for Joy Division on their US tour, which of course never happened.
So U2 hired Steve Lillywhite, largely on the basis of his work on XTC's Drums and Wires album and Peter Gabriel's third solo album (the sound of which engineer Hugh Padgham was largely responsible for) and set themselves up for three weakly-produced, weakly-mixed albums, Boy, October and War, which sounded thin and flat — more like demos than finished albums — in comparison with Hannett's magisterial work.
In 1980, before he began his slide into the worst of his class-A drug habit, Hannett was on a hot streak the like of which has seldom if ever been equalled — almost everything he produced in an 18-month period beginning in April 1979 turned out to be a masterpiece or very close: Unknown Pleasures, Transmission, Atmosphere, Love Will Tear Us Apart, Closer, Magazine's The Correct Use of Soap, 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, then, in the immediate aftermath of Curtis's death, The Durutti Column's Lips That Would Kiss, which Vini Reilly intended as a tribute to Curtis; and, later in the summer of 1980 in Manchester and on into September in New Jersey, Ceremony by New Order, "the single of this week or any week", as Paul Morley described it in the singles reviews in the NME upon its release; and so it remains.
Audio recording © Michael Ross, 2009.