"Sad" (1979)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Sad” was a very early song written by U2, first developed in the late 1970s.

U2 formed in 1976, and others from Lypton Village decided to form the Virgin Prunes shortly after. The two musical groups would often perform together. And they even worked on some songs together. One of those songs was “Sad”.

In an interview, Gavin Friday discussed the song:

One of the first things that the Virgin Prunes wrote, was something we did with U2, a song called ‘Sad’. I don’t think it was ever recorded by either band. We had collaborated on that, and we took that forward with ‘Boy-Girl’. We took that title and wrote two separate songs. Ours was dealing with bi-sexuality and that gender-bending thing, where they were talking about a more conventional form of love, with a strong boyhood-to-manhood theme going down.

“Sad” was a song that the two bands worked on together. “Boy-Girl” was a later song, where each band developed their own version of the song from the title.

It appears that “Sad” was never developed very far by U2. But the name does crop up in an early list of songs that was shown in U2 by U2. The song “Sad” is included in a list of songs that are written in Bono’s handwriting, likely an early set list from an early 1979 show.

Gavin Friday also spoke about the song and discussed a time when U2 backed up Guggi and Gavin on stage for live performances in the earliest days of the Virgin Prunes: “But when U2 played as part of the band, we wrote one song together, it was called ‘Sad’. There was a time when we would do our version and U2 would do their version. Sometimes myself and Guggi would join them on stage and do the chorus with U2. It was real fifth form poetry…‘If time began again, oh-oh,’ — there was a lot of ‘oh-oh’s’ from Bono in them days — ‘Not subject to sorrow, Together tomorrows, Oh no so low, But I am a fool romantic, And love is…something, something, something…’ And then the chorus goes: “Sad / so sad / Sad / so sad.” It never was recorded. There are bootlegs of it out there somewhere. It’s mad. I was saying to Edge recently, ‘We should re-record it at some stage.’

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