"Return of the Stingray Guitar" (1984)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Return of the Stingray Guitar” was a demo originally developed for The Unforgettable Fire album in 1984, and brought out of storage in 2009 and later developed for the Songs of Innocence album, being released as “Lucifer’s Hands” on that release.

In the exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, celebrating U2 in 2003, a number of notebooks identified as being Brian Eno’s were on display, however, we believe these may have been Daniel Lanois’ notebooks. In the notebooks a number of songs worked on for “The Unforgettable Fire” are identified. “Return of the Stingray Guitar” was one of the titles, but there is little additional information given beyond a name.

On the 2010 leg of the U2360 tour, the first song played at each show in Europe was “Return of the Stingray Guitar” and it is labeled as such on the set lists. There are no firm vocals by Bono but he makes a series of vocal noises as the song is performed. It is believed that the song was uncovered by The Edge when he was putting together the 2009 remaster of The Unforgettable Fire.

On January 12, 2013, Larry Mullen was featured as a guest on the Dave Fanning show on RTE2 in Ireland. During that interview he confirmed that both “Glastonbury” and “The Return of the Stingray Guitar” were still around as tracks, but that both had been rewritten.

When the deluxe edition of Songs of Innocence was released in 2014, one of the bonus tracks on the second disc is a song called “Lucifer’s Hands.” The song features the same music used onstage during the U2360 tour, but Bono has now completed lyrics for the song. “Lucifer’s Hands” made its live debut on the Innocence + Experience Tour in 2015.

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