Thursday, August 20, 2020

60 Musical influences - 60 artistes.

PETER - a great friend of mine
Has decided to expose 60 music influences
ONE song for each artist
Following Bono's idea
when he was 60.

He allows me to drop one here for you

(maybe others forthcoming?)

U2 New Year’s Day

I first heard this song in the back of a car while heading towards a church service early one Sunday evening. I’d seen posters around the streets near Kings Cross (where I lived at the time) announcing the single. It was striking. A semi-naked young boy holding a flagpole. It certainly caught my attention.
This song worked for me on many levels. Characteristically sonic guitar meets melodic keyboard riff, accompanied by uncharacteristically mid-range bass and a voice that literally reached for the stars. It was much more than the sum of its parts. 
Someone told me this was about the second coming of Jesus, but I found out later it was about the Polish trade union, Solidarnosc. Knowing the ambiguity of Bono’s lyrics, the continual blend of the personal and political, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was about both and more besides.
This song literally changed my life. It made me burrow backwards into their history and discover the post-punk purity of Boy and the Latin chant of October. A year later I turned up outside Wembley Arena with no ticket to see if I could get into their Unforgettable Fire gig (it’s a long story, but I made it to row 6). I remember Bono sang a verse from Amazing Grace in the middle of a song. That surprised me. I’ve seen them on every tour since and they still grab my attention, 36 years later.