Boy for Black Friday, Newly Discovered Show, and More

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-11-22)

On Friday, November 27, the annual Record Store Day Black Friday event happens. This year, U2 is participating with the release of a special white vinyl version of their 1980 album Boy. The white vinyl release is limited to 10,000 copies, and is being advertised as a 40th anniversary release. At 10,000 copies, this is a bigger run of albums than U2’s usual for these Record Store Day events. Only “Three”, and “The Blackout” were released in greater quantities, and “Ordinary Love” was also issued at 10,000 copies. The catalog number is 749627 on this new white vinyl edition, and the barcode will be 0602507496272. The record will include a double-sided poster, and a lyrics / credits insert.

The actual anniversary of the release of Boy was October 20, 1980. That is when the album was first released on Island Records. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, and featured a cover designed by Steve Averill, with their young friend Peter Rowen on the cover. On Thursday of this week (November 26), at 4pm ET, Rocky O’Riordan will host a 40th anniversary special on U2 X-Radio celebrating the album Boy and she will be discussing the album with both Lillywhite and Averill on the station.

October 1980 was an exciting time for the band. The band did a tour of clubs throughout the UK starting in Coventry, and wrapping up the first leg on October 11, in London, England. The band would then head to The Netherlands and Belgium for five appearances. These were the bands first appearances in those countries. They then returned to the UK for a series of live shows that took them into December of the year, where they would head for their first shows in North America.

VIDEO: Courtesy of U2Valencia, U2’s “A Day Without Me” on White Light

During that time they also made their first appearance on television outside of Ireland. This wasn’t the more commonly mentioned appearance at Get It Together which aired on ITV on November 9, 1980. This is an appearance that likely aired almost a month earlier on Thames TV. Recently our friends at U2Valencia posted a video that caught our eye. It featured a young U2 performing on the show White Light with very little other information. Interested in a performance we did not know about, we did some digging on when and where this appearance took place.

This U2 performance was on White Light, a children’s program on Thames Television, co-hosted by DJ Gary Crowley and decathalon champion, Daley Thompson. The show itself had a 10 episode run between September 8 and November 10, 1980, as well as one earlier run, and a Christmas special that aired in December 1981. The show is a 25 minute program, and features one musical act per episode, usually performing 2-3 songs. The rest of the episodes would feature young people under twenty discussing their views on news topics. The show aired at 5:30pm on Monday afternoons, and the musical performances were filmed the Thursday before it would air. The show was often used as a way to get on television for young bands, and the Fall 1980 series featured acts such as Madness, Spandau Ballet, The Meteors, and Athletico Spizz.

When did U2 appear? We have confirmation that the program aired in October, which means it would have been one of four shows aired that month. It was not the October 27 broadcast, as that slot was filled by The Meteors. Likewise it wouldn’t have been the broadcast on October 20, as U2 were performing in Europe and would not have been in the UK to record. The broadcast on October 13 would have been filmed on October 9, and U2 were in Manchester for a show that day. Could they have filmed it before leaving for Manchester? No, because we have confirmation that U2 were in Manchester the day before their show. U2 attended a show by The Passions in Manchester on October 8 at the Manchester Rafters Club. That means if the U2 program did air in October, it was most likely the first broadcast of the month, October 6, 1980, which would have been filmed on October 2. U2 did perform in Leeds on October 2, but as the shows were taped early in the day, it is possible U2 recorded and then went to Leeds for their show. U2’s show before the Leeds show was in Brighton on September 30, so they likely had a day off in London on their way North for the next round of shows. If anyone can confirm the date we would love to hear from you.

The performance was filmed at the theatre known as the Forum in Hatfield just North of London. A small studio audience was present for the performance, and the band did at least two tracks, “A Day Without Me” and “I Will Follow.” “A Day Without Me” had been released as a single to promote the album before its release, coming out on August 18. “I Will Follow” would be the second single from the album, released on October 24, 1980. Although some bands would do three songs, it is unknown if U2 did anything beyond these two.

The album Boy was released on October 20, so this early October appearance on television helped the band with gaining some notice in the UK, as was the tour of small clubs throughout the country.

This new release of Boy on Friday is the first time in recent years that the album has been released in coloured vinyl. Starting in 2014 with the release of Songs of Innocence, U2 have been issuing and re-issuing their albums in coloured vinyl. To date they have issued the following:

  • Boy (White vinyl)
  • October (Cream vinyl)
  • The Unforgettable Fire (Wine vinyl)
  • The Joshua Tree (Gold vinyl, Red vinyl tour VIP Gift)
  • Zooropa (Blue vinyl)
  • Pop (Orange vinyl)
  • How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Red vinyl)
  • No Line on the Horizon (Clear vinyl)
  • Songs of Innocence (White vinyl)
  • Songs of Experience (Blue vinyl)

Not yet issued in the coloured vinyl format are War, Under a Blood Red Sky, Wide Awake in America, Rattle and Hum, Achtung Baby, and All That You Can’t Leave Behind. It should be noted that some of these albums were previously released on coloured vinyl, prior to the modern day program.

Some have noted that the release is listed as “RSD First.” That designation means that the release comes out first on Record Store Day, but can be released later to other outlets. However, U2’s releases for RSD in the recent years such as “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” and “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” have also been categorized as “RSD First” and to date none have been reissued post-Record Store Day, so this does not mean this will be reissued later, just that the band can.

As this item is a Record Store Day item, it will be limited. Also, you may not be able to find it online at your usual ordering spots, as these items typically are sold via independent stores first, and are not allowed to be sold online until after in person sales have happened. Due to COVID-19, record shops will be setting their own precautions with the virus, and we suggest you contact your store to find out if they are doing anything special in terms of social distancing or signing up for a time to visit. Online sales were opened later in the day (6pm UK time) for the three Record Store Day drops this fall, we expect the same to happen on Friday.

You may see high priced copies of this available on eBay now, this is typically speculation listings, where people assume they will be able to get the vinyl, and list it early to try to get an elevated price. Prices typically lower on the day of release, so we recommend waiting until these are on sale in store before turning to these other means.

Stores have to order and receive the titles just like any other new release through the year. They are not given to the stores, and the store must order copies of the U2 vinyl or there will be none for sale. What will happen at times, with a limited release, a store may not get all of the copies that they have ordered. Record Store Day has expanded over the years, and is more than just a USA event where it started. That being said, not every country has a Record Store Day, and even if they do have a record store day, they may not get all of the releases. Below are a list of the links to individual country sites for Record Store Day:


Additionally some international store listings are available on the Record Store Day site and can be found here.

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