Saturday, January 1, 1983

U2 “New Year’s Day” released

New Year’s Day


Writer(s): U2 (see lyrics here)

Released: January 1, 1983

First Charted: January 22, 1983

Peak: 53 US, 50 CB, 2 AR, 1 CO, 10 UK, 41 CN, 36 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 56.21 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

U2 formed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1976. They built a loyal following at college rock radio with their first two albums, 1980’s Boy and 1981’s October. Their third release, War proved to be a breakthrough, reaching #12 in the United States and eventually selling more than 11 million copies worldwide.

The album’s lead single, “New Year’s Day,” became a favorte at MTV. It was filmed in the dead of the Swedish winter. As such, the band only appears in the performance scenes of the video. They were too cold WK and weren’t experienced enough riders SF to do the horseback riding scenes so four Swedish teenage girls were disguised as the band with masks over their faces. There is also footage of Soviet troops advancing in winter during World War II. WK

The song soared all the way to #2 on the Billboard album rock track. It was also the group’s first top-10 hit in the UK and first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Cash Box called it an “AOR-slanted single by a thinking man’s rock ‘n’ roll band.” WK The band’s lead singer, Bono, said, “I don’t think ‘New Year’s Day’ was a pop single, certainly not in the way that [record producer] Mickie Most might define a pop single as something that lasts three minutes and three weeks in the chart. I don’t think we could have writte that kind of song.” WK

Lyrically, the song started as a love song by Bono for his wife, but it evolved into a commentary on the Polish Solidarity movement. WK Poland announced they would abolish martial law after this song was recorded; coincidentally the announcement came on New Year’s Day, 1983. SF The song’s distinct bassline was the result of Adam Clayton trying to figure out the chords for the song “Fade to Grey” by Visage. WK


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First posted 10/1/2022.

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