William Price King Music Column – Bono and U2 – Part Two – The Early Years.

Welcome to the new series William Price King Music Column.. A slightly different format but the same great background and music of the top artists across the different styles of music. The first artist of 2018 is Bono and the band U2. In part one we introduced Bono and the other band members before picking up their early career this week.

U2 has one of the most impressive catalogues of awards of any of the groups in the last forty years. Apart from 170 million + records sold world wide, the group has also won an impressive number of industry accolades. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/william-price-king-music-column-bono-and-u2-meet-the-band/

Bono and U2 – Part Two – The Early Years.

Four years after forming the band they signed with Island Records which had been formed by Chris Blackwell, Graeme Goodall and Leslie Kong in Jamaica in 1959. By the early 1970s the label had already become one of the influencers of the progressive music scene in the UK.


“I Will Follow” is the opening track from U2’s debut album, “Boy,” and was released as the album’s second single in October 1980. Bono wrote the lyrics to this song in tribute to his mother who died when he was 14 years old. “I Will Follow” is the only song that U2 has performed on every tour since they released their first album. This song was U2’s first music video, which was directed by Meiert Avis in Dublin, Ireland. In 2005, “Blender”* ranked the song at number 214 on its list “The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born”.

The magazine wrote, “The first song on U2’s first album introduced the guitar sound that would define their work.”


*Blender was an American music magazine that billed itself as “the ultimate guide to music and more”. It was also known for sometimes steamy pictorials of celebrities.

“Fire” is the fifth track on the band’s 1981 album, “October,” and was released as the album’s first single. “Fire” was U2’s first song to chart in the UK, where it managed to break the top 40, peaking at No. 35 . “Fire” was also the song U2 played for their first appearance on “Top of the Pops.” The “October” album version of “Fire” was recorded at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas while U2 took a break from the “Boy Tour” in April 1981.

“Gloria” is the opening track and second single from the band’s 1981 album, “October.”
It features a chorus sung in Latin, from the liturgical “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” and references Van Morrison’s 1964 love song “Gloria.” It was one of their lowest-charting singles on the UK singles chart, peaking at #55 but was more successful in Ireland and New Zealand, reaching the Top 20. “Gloria” has been played in concert more than 370 times.

“Allmusic” cited the song as an example of “when U2 marry the message, melody, and sound together… the results are thoroughly impressive,” while “Pitchfork” said the song “displays some musical dynamism, but its Latin-language chorus tempers its anthemic qualities.” “Gloria” highlights bassist Adam Clayton as it features three styles of playing in one song (using a pick for the most part, playing with fingers during the slide guitar by the Edge, then a “slap & pop” solo towards the end).

The chorus “Gloria in te Domine / Gloria exultate” translates to “Glory in You, Lord / Glory, exalt [Him]” with “exalt” in the imperative mood, a reference to Psalm 30:2 (in te Domine, speravi). The song also contains references to Colossians 2:9-10 (“Only in You I’m complete”) and James 5:7-9 (“The door is open / You’re standing there”). The “Gloria” video, written and directed by Meiert Avis, was filmed in October 1981 on a barge in Grand Canal Basin in Dublin near Windmill Lane. “Gloria” was the first U2 music video that received heavy airplay on MTV.


“New Year’s Day” is from U2’s 1983 album “War” and was released as the album’s lead single in January 1983. Written about the Polish Solidarity movement, “New Year’s Day” is driven by Adam Clayton’s distinctive bass line and the Edge’s piano and guitar playing. It was the band’s first UK hit single, peaking at no. 10, also becoming the band’s first international hit, reaching #9 in Norway, #11 on the Dutch Top 40, #17 in Sweden and charting on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States (just missing the Top 50) for the first time in their career. “New Year’s Day” is U2’s seventh most frequently performed live song.
In 2010, “Rolling Stone” magazine placed the single at #435 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

The lyric had its origins in a love song from Bono to his wife, but was subsequently reshaped and inspired by the Polish Solidarity movement. The video was one of their first to see heavy rotation on MTV. It was filmed in Sälen, Sweden, in December 1982 and directed by Meiert Avis.

In 1983, Bono said of the song, “It would be stupid to start drawing up battle lines, but I think the fact that ‘New Year’s Day’ made the Top Ten indicated a disillusionment among record buyers. I don’t think ‘New Year’s Day’ was a pop single, certainly not in the way that Mickie Most might define a pop single as something that lasts three minutes and three weeks in the chart. I don’t think we could have written that kind of song.”

“Pride (In The Name Of Love)” is the second track on the band’s 1984 album, “The Unforgettable Fire.” It was released as the album’s lead single in September 1984. Written about Martin Luther King, Jr., the song received mixed critical reviews at the time, but it was a major commercial success for the band and has since become one of the band’s most popular songs. The song ranked number 388 on the “Rolling Stone” list of the “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and is included in “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.” Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders sang backing vocals on the recording. “Pride” reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart and #8 on the Dutch Singles Chart. The song was the band’s first top 40 hit in the US where it peaked at #33. It reached #1 in New Zealand, the first time a U2 single topped a country’s singles chart. The 1984 Pazz & Jop poll of 240 music critics ranked “Pride” as the 12th best single of that year, a higher ranking than the overall album, which finished 29th.

The song had been intended to be based on Ronald Reagan’s pride in America’s military power, but Stephen B. Oates’ book “Let The Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.” and a biography of “Malcolm X” caused Bono to ponder the different sides of the civil rights campaigns, the violent and the non-violent. The song contains the erroneous reference to King’s shooting as “Early morning, April 4,” when it actually occurred after 6 p.m. Bono acknowledges the error and in live performances he occasionally changes the lyric to “Early evening..

Buy the music of U2: https://www.amazon.com/U2/e/B000APTGBO

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/U2/e/B000APTGBO

Additional sources

U2 Website – News and Tours: http://www.u2.com/tour

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo called “Clear Cut,” and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION https://williampriceking.tumblr.com

Connect with William

Website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

We hope that you will join us again next week. Thanks for dropping in and your feedback would be very welcome.

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About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

17 thoughts on “William Price King Music Column – Bono and U2 – Part Two – The Early Years.

  1. Wow, what a blast from the past seeing those videos. And Bono in 1981, I feel like I just took a ride in a time capsule. 🙂 I’m a little late, but trying to back peddle and catch some of my favorite posts. You never disappoint Sal and William. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Gardening and Food Columns, Marital Advice and Lots of Music | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: William Price King #Music Column – The artists so far – Bono and U2, Madonna, Johnny Mathis and Aretha Franklin | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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