U2 – New Year’s Day

I’d heard guitar delay before but U2 took it to a new level. New Year’s Day peaked at #53 in the Billboard 100, #10 in the UK and #41 in Canada in 1983. This song was on their third album War. This is about the time I started to notice them.

from Songfacts.

The lyrics refer to the movement for solidarity lead by Lech Walesa in Poland. After this was recorded, Poland announced they would abolish martial law, coincidentally, on New Year’s Day, 1983.

This was U2’s first UK Top 10 and their first single to chart in America.

This almost didn’t make the album because Bono was having fits writing the lyrics.

The Edge played piano on this as well as guitar. In concert, he played the song on the piano with his guitar in his lap. For his guitar solo, he would get up and go to the front of the stage as the crowd cheered wildly.

This was the first U2 video to get heavy airplay on MTV, and it was by far their most ambitious video to that point. It was directed by Meiert Avis, who worked on U2’s previous videos, including “Gloria” and “I Will Follow.” They planned to shoot the video in Sweden, but when the mountains and snow they hoped for didn’t materialize, they tried Norway. They got the majestic mountains and tight shots of the band performing the song, which was more than adequate for MTV in 1983.

We also see what is supposed to be the band riding horses, which were actually four teenaged girls covered in winter clothes. The guys in U2 weren’t experienced riders, and since they were in the middle of a tour during the shoot, it wasn’t worth the risk.

The themes of understanding in a time of global unrest were a focal point for the album War, whose title was inspired by the various worldwide conflicts of 1982.

The line “Under a blood red sky” was used as the title for a video and live album U2 released in 1983. The video was recorded at Red Rocks, Colorado, June 5, 1982. The album contains performances from that show as well as two others.

Bono considers this a love song. While it is about war, it deals with “The struggle for love.”

Bono wrote this shortly after he married his childhood sweetheart, Ali.

This song was recorded at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, which is where U2 recorded their first three albums. The studio had a stone stairway where Larry Mullen played his drums for this track.

This is commonly played at bars every New Year’s Day for lack of something more appropriate.

This is a popular song for other artists to sample or cover. With It Guys used the piano line as a sample in the song “Let The Music Take Control,” Manchester rappers Kiss AMC sampled the intro for their song “A Bit Of U2,” the group Dynamic Base used the sample on their “Africa” single and Bacon Popper did the same on “Free.” Hyper Logic also used a sample in “Only Me.” >>

Producer Steve Lillywhite remembers mixing this song in ten minutes while Bono cranked out “40” at the last minute while another band was waiting outside of the studio for their turn.

New Year’s Day


All is quiet on New Year’s Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you, be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered, black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers says, says

Say it’s true, it’s true
We can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one

I, I will begin again
I, I will begin again

Oh, maybe the time is right
Oh, maybe tonight

I will be with you again
I will be with you again

And so we are told this is the Golden Age
And gold is the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to be with you, be with you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day
On New Year’s Day


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

14 thoughts on “U2 – New Year’s Day”

  1. Same here- the War album was my first U2 album. I am sure I heard of them before that but this was the – I’d better check these guys out moment.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember Sunday Bloody Sunday is the one that really caught my attention…I knew they were different.

      off topic… work has popped up….list is coming probably Thursday and Friday

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Amazing song (and one I expect I’ll be writing about tomorrow!). I knew of U2 before but this was the one that really made me sit up and pay attention. still one of my 3 or 4 faves by them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I meant for this to go out tomorrow but I had work to pop up so I had to send it out a little earlier. Sunday Bloody Sunday was the song that really clicked with me and then this one.
      I like U2…they respect the history they are following and always have quality songs.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. U2 more or less saved rock n’ roll in my opinion during a dry spell in pop music. I’m not a 100% sure MTV and the like helped the music scene. Not sure it ever went back to the level of its glory days in the 1970s. I sound like an old fart. Anyway War is one of my faves and still is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was 13 in 1980 and I know what you mean. The title of the song Video Killed the Radio Star is true. Image was more important than the music. U2 was a throwback in a lot of ways…good ways. They respected the history of rock and knew it.
      I totally agree that pop music never went back to the heights of the 80s.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you.
        I just didn’t like the fake drums, too much snyth and the guitar in the background.


    1. I like that one also Val. They are so young there…A friend of mine had this concert on video in the 80s…Under a Blood Red Sky…it is great. I would love to go to Red Rocks…everyone has played there from the Beatles down the line.

      I saw them in the early 90s.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to badfinger20 Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: