In 1980 I was working with U2, prior to the release of their first single, 11 o’ clock
tick tock, taking them in and out of every radio station in the UK and to anyone
who showed the slightest bit of interest in the band. They had released three
singles in the six months between May and October and then when their debut
album ‘Boy’ was released out we went again for more of the same! It was that
relentless ambition they had to meet everyone they could that drove the band
from the very first day. They worked as hard as anyone I ever knew and never
complained about the grueling schedule which would have crippled less
dedicated artists. It was all the gigs in small venues on consecutive nights,
driving overnight in the pouring rain to get to the next town to be woken up at
some unearthly manner and then back out talking to any of the media that
showed the slightest bit of interest. Truly a classic case study that teaches us that
hard work and dedication can really can pay off !
There were a few of us at Island Records who believed in the band and we were
all convinced they could be huge. And oddly enough more than enough of the
people at the label who just didn’t get it and put their energy into maybe some of
the acts that were an easier sell. Rob and Neil in the press department had done
an unbelievable job getting journalists along to see them play and were starting
to get some really good feedback. The previous December they had done six
London shows in ten days and then suddenly all their efforts paid off with an
NME (New Musical Express) front cover at the start of the new year.
At that time there had still been no significant breakthrough with any national
radio or television exposure and we all knew we would struggle to survive on
press alone. It was a Catch 22 situation, in order to maintain the buzz the press
would need to see others pick up on the band; and to get radio and television
interested you needed the press! We were at the crossroads, something needed
to give. We desperately needed that break otherwise it would be impossible to
keep the momentum going.
November that same year everything changed. I received some amazing news.
Tony Hale the Radio One producer who was based in Manchester, and therefore
a contact of mine loved the band. Were they available to record a session for the
Peter Powell show? WERE THEY AVAILABLE? Too right they were available!
Around that same time, possibly a week or two sooner I got confirmation that
Granada TV’s network kids show ‘Get it together’ wanted to book them. I couldn’t
believe my luck, all my Christmas’s had come at once. I say luck but in all
honesty I had been working hard on the band for almost a year, we all had and
genuinely felt we deserved this break. This was the most significant result we’d
had up until now from any national radio or TV in the UK. Now we were really
starting to get others to believe in them. At this point we were starting to think,