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Fact #155972


Short story:

U2 release 11 O'click Tick Tock, their first single since signing to Island Records in the UK.

Full article:

Annie Roseberry (A + R woman at Island records) : My first introduction to U2 was at Queen Mary's College Belfast.  The Captain ( Bill Stewart as he was then) had seen them in Cork on the recommendation of Rob Partridge who was the Head of Press for Island Records and had enjoyed a jolly weekend in the more scenic part of Ireland and was rather impressed. He asked me as the Junior AAndR person to see the next show for my opinion which was, unfortunately for me, Belfast. I remember standing in a very empty Uni Hall with two guys from Island Music being totally knocked out by them. The songs were not hits but back in those days it was not even something that entered my thought process. I just knew that I loved their music and most importantly it hit an emotional spot that their music can still do to this day. They also played together like no other band I had ever seen - they just clicked.

They were not particularly tight or even accomplished players in those days but the combination of the Edge's unique guitar style and Bono's over the top stage presence just hit me stone dead.  They were very different characters but somehow it was a magical combination.  Then there was Paul McGuinness - the charming, slightly batty but suave and Intelligent Manager.  He and I really hit if off and I adored his intellect and his sense of humour and irreverence for the business.  He was also totally unswerving in his passionate belief that this band were going to be Huge - it was almost like he had everything mapped out from the beginning although I am sure a lot of this was bluff!

My two colleagues (best left nameless) were distinctly less impressed than me as they did not hear the hits.  We all retired back to the Europa Hotel and had a party in the lobby which resulted in me accidentally having a pint of beer thrown over me by Adam! Paul McGuinness was totally distraught as he could see his last hopes of getting a deal disappearing, beer-soaked into a lift.  I was a bit of a ladette I suppose in those days and it did not phase me in the least. 

Annie Roseberry (A + R person, Island Records) : Having recently gone to see U2 in Belfast, I returned to London and duly reported to The Captain (Nick Stewart, Head Of A + R) for a debriefing. I told him I was impressed and thought that we should sign them.  Martin Davies was the MD of Island at the time but nothing was signed without Chris Blackwell’s approval, so The Captain then had the difficult task of trying to convince Chris Blackwell which I seem to recall he did by flying out to Jamaica with U2’s manager Paul McGuinness ultimately.

Chris Blackwell : My roots were more in jazz, and musicianship. When I first saw them, they were nothing like as accomplished as they are now, but they absolutely had something where you just knew that they were going to be great. They also had somebody who was what I call a very serious adult, as their manager [Paul McGuinness]. You don't see a lot of adults in the record business, including myself. All the labels turned them down. The most spectacular was CBS, who said, "Well, if you fire the drummer, we'd probably sign them." But at that stage, the drummer [Larry Mullen] happened to be the leader of the band.
(Source : interview with Andrew Perry, Daily Telegraph, 20 May, 2009)