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  • Writer's pictureBridget Buckley

#TBT U2's "Out of Control"

“We're a band from the north side of Dublin. We're called U2, this is our first single. We HOPE you like it.”

"Out of Control " 1981 Belfast

"Out of Control" 2001 Slane Castle, Ireland


Released in 1979, exclusively in Ireland, "Out of Control", came out like a bull in a china shop…or should that be a sheep in a Belleek shop? U2’s first single off of its first EP, U23, makes me think great bands are actually great from the start because this song still holds up after 36 years. That’s right, 36 long years ago.

Written by Bono on his 18th birthday, the lyrics deal with the revelation that life’s two greatest events, birth and death, are out of our control. Adam Clayton’s strong, melodic baseline paired with Edge’s famous Gibson Explorer fueled guitar riffs make for a hit song even now. The long break in the middle gives the song breath that is missing from most songs today (I did get the local independent radio station, KPRi, to play it during the morning show yesterday…on a dare), but that space has always given Bono the chance to be Bono. Wether it’s thanking the band members' families for the £500 lend to help them get a record deal (as seen in the Slane Castle show in 2001) or audience interaction in a small club in 1981, the break is never wasted.

It’s hard to believe that U2 has been doing this for 36 years with no signs of stopping…that is, as long as Bono can stop getting into bike accidents and flying in airplanes with missing doors. I imagine they will have better longevity than the Rolling Stones because they were a bit lighter on the drugs along the way. And the reality is their first single now sounds better than ever live.

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