U2 Sign to Island

Hot Press by The Hot Press Newsdesk (1980-03-29)

U-2 have signed a major international recording contract with the Island label, it was confirmed on Monday.

The contract which had been anticipated locally for some time, will entail the release of four albums over its four year duration — after which Island have the usual options — and in the first 12 months, U2 will issue no less than three singles and their debut album, the latter to be recorded in August for an October release date. It’s expected that only one of these singles will also be available on the album.

The Island deal is a worldwide one, binding for all territories except Ireland, while in the U.S., U-2 material will be issued on the Warners label.

U-2, who already have two locally released CBS singles to their credit, will be recording their first Island 45 — the song as yet undecided — over the Easter weekend in Dublin’s Windmill Studios. Set to produce the record is Martin “Zero” Hannett, whose association with the Factory label has seen him work with Joy Division as well as producing records for John Cooper-Clarke, the Teardrop Explodes and others. Hannett was chosen at the suggestion of U-2 themselves, who were reportedly very impressed with the production on Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album.

U-2 will be handled by Ian Flooks’ Wasted Talent agency (formerly Derek Block) who are also responsible for the Clash and the Police amongst others.

Live plans include a major British tour to coincide with their debut single release in May, followed by Summer dates — including outdoor concerts – in Europe. Once those commitments are fulfilled the band will be returning home for an Irish tour.

Having secured what is undoubtedly the most important international recording contract for a local band since the Rats signed for Ensign, U-2 were understandably reported to be “ecstatic,” looking on the deal as vindication that “sooner or later you get the deal you need.” The band, who swept to victory in this year’s Hot Press readers’ poll, also expressed a debt of gratitude to Bill Graham of this parish, who was not only the first media person to champion the band but who also played a small but hardly insignificant role by introducing them to their manager Paul McGuinness.

© Hot Press

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