My brother is in the process of moving house and amongst his record collection he found this:

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This old knackered LP is U2’s Under A Blood Red Sky, which is 30 years old this year.  The very LP above is of huge sentimental value to me, as it sparked in me an immense urge to play music forever, which is kind of what I’ve been doing ever since.

In 1983, at the age of 6 (I’m showing my age here) I’d always enjoyed listening to music, but hearing The Electric Co for the first time was a pivotal moment – to my young ears, it simply sounded like nothing else on earth.

At that time, the chart was dominated by synth-pop such as Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Duran Duran.  But this album stood completely apart from everything else I was hearing at the time.  Back then, their raw power was almost overwhelming.

It’s not a flawless performance at all – the guitar and bass seem to clash in the chorus and Larry Mullen audibly drops a stick at 1:48.  But what a sound!  Between 2:06 and 3:11, The Edge was doing incredible things; an electric guitar had never sounded more exciting and…well, electric to me.

I immediately decided that I had to learn to play guitar, and, after my older sister kindly rented the accompanying video Live At Red Rocks for me, I decided I’d have to learn drums too.  To this day, the sounds of very early U2 continue to inspire me.

And now?  To be honest, I’ve liked very little that they’ve done this century.  Everything I loved then – the rawness, the feel, the slight vulnerability and the feeling that the whole thing could fall apart at any moment – has been replaced with a sense of corporate cool, click-tracked drums, backing loops and ultra-clean guitar…in fact everything they were against back when they recorded this.

Shame.  But at least they left behind the powerful old records.