"Just for Kicks" - Various Artists
U2 Related Content:
- "Stories for Boys" (Just for Kicks Version) - U2 (02:42)
- "Something's Better Than Nothing" (Studio Version) - Teen Commandments (featuring The Edge) (03:41)
Full Track Listing:
- Stories for Boys (Demo) – U2 (2:42)
- Stop Stop – Berlin (2:57)
- Reptile – D.C. Nein (4:51)
- Lady Loves to Rock n’ Roll – Rocky deValera and the Gravediggers (3:20)
- Service with a Smile – Resistors (4:09)
- Mademoiselle Goodbye – Sacre Bleu (3:35)
- Treasure on the Wasteland – The Atrix (3:57)
- Tango of Nerves – New Versions (2:57)
- Something’s Better than Nothing – Teen Commandments (3:45)
- Silent Partners – Zebra (3:02)
- Midnight Charmer – Jaroc (3:42)
- Love Attack – Square Meal (2:43)
In 1979, Kick Records in Dublin put together a 12-Inch vinyl compilation of tracks from new and upcoming bands. This included “Stories for Boy” recorded by U2, and also “Something’s Better Than Nothing” by the Teen Commandments, which featured Edge on guitar. This 12-Inch single was the second commercial release including music by U2, following on the heels of their EP “Three“ which had been released in September 1979. This compilation was released just after U2 had returned from a trip to London to play a series of shows in an attempt to get a record deal outside of Ireland.
The version of “Stories for Boys” released here has been labelled as a remix over the years, but is indeed an alternate recording of the song. (And not the version that eventually ended up on Boy.) The version on Just for Kicks is close to the recording on “Three” but has louder drums in the mix, the song does not fade in, and there’s a slightly longer ending with additional percussion. The version found here on Just for Kicks was only available here for many years until 2004, when The Complete U2 was released on iTunes. In that digital box set, the version of “Stories for Boys” on “Three” is this version from Just for Kicks and is not the original version from the EP “Three.” This has also been the case for the 2008 release of Boy and the 2019 release of “Three“ for Record Store Day. In both cases the original EP version is not included, but this version from Just for Kicks is used.
The second song on this compilation featuring U2’s involvement was “Something’s Better Than Nothing” by The Teen Commandments. The Teen Commandments were a Dublin “Super Group” featuring artists from various bands around town, including The Edge. In the summer of 1979, they had gathered at Lombard Studio in Dublin to record three tracks, “My Baby Left Me,” “Private World,” and “Something’s Better Than Nothing.” The Edge performed on two of the songs, “Something’s Better Than Nothing” and “My Baby Left Me.” On both of these tracks The Edge played guitar, and not bass as has been suggested in some reports. The version of “Something’s Better Than Nothing” recorded that day is available here on Just for Kicks. “Private World,” the song that did not feature The Edge, was released as a single in 1981 under The Teen Commandments name. The final track, “My Baby Left Me,” which did feature the Edge, was released later on a compilation called Vinyl Verdict. All three of these tracks had been recorded under the band name The Reasons, but all three were released under the band name The Teen Commandments, which was the band Phil Byrne and Dave Moloney formed after The Reasons had disbanded.
The compilation was released on vinyl only, and features tracks from twelve different Dublin bands. None of these bands are around today save for U2. This was U2’s first appearance on any compilation, and only their second ever release after “Three.” It is also the earliest recording featuring a solo performance by a member of U2 with The Edge’s appearance on “Something’s Better Than Nothing.”
Kick Records was a label founded by Dublin-based concert promoter Charles McNally. This compilation was a sampler of mostly unsigned bands in Dublin, and was intended to be the first of many. (U2 had been signed to CBS in Ireland, and Berlin, Sacre Blue, and Square Meal all had contracts by the time the album came out.) Advertisements for the compilation and album encouraged bands to contact McNally and included the tag line “Established exclusively to record Irish rock music.” The label folded quickly and McNally moved to California, where he sometimes would report for Hot Press on early U2 shows in that state. U2 would use a similar idea about promoting unsigned bands when they set up Mother Records a few years later.
The liner notes were written by Dave Fanning. In the start of that note Fanning says, “As a reminder of the quality of Dublin rock at the end of the decade, this representative collection serves as a unique launching-pad for the Eighties.” The remainder of the note can be read on the back cover of the album.
Executive Producer: Charlie McNally. Recording Engineer: Johnny Byrne. Assisted by Paul Thomas. Master Production: Windmill Studios Dublin.
Sleeve Notes: Dave Fanning RTW, Radio 2.
Somethings Better Than Nothing:
Phil Byrne: Vocals. The Edge: Guitar. Kevin Helly: Bass. Dave Moloney: Drums. Written by Phil Byrne.
Cover Design: Martin Devane
Related Promotional Videos
- 2020-08-21 December 1979: U2 Take On London (Original Story)