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New Year's Day. Song Info

"New Year's Day" is the third song and lead single from U2's 1983 album, War. The song is driven by Adam Clayton's distinctive bassline and The Edge's keyboard. It was the band's first hit single, breaking the top ten in the UK, peaking at #10 on the singles chart, and charting on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in their career. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed the single at #427 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


The lyric had its origins in a love song from Bono to his wife, but then was reshaped and inspired by the Polish Solidarity movement.

The video was their first to see heavy rotation on MTV. It was filmed in Sweden in December 1982 and directed by Meiert Avis. The band only appeared in the performance scenes of the video as it was filmed in the dead of the Swedish winter. U2 guitarist Edge revealed in the official U2 biography that the four people riding on horseback in the video that appeared to be the four U2 members were in fact four Swedish teenage girls disguised as the members of U2 riding on horseback with masks over their faces. This was done as the band were frozen from shooting the video in sub-freezing temperatures the day before. Their biography states that Bono refused to wear any headgear despite the cold weather and had a lot of trouble mouthing the lyrics. The video also features footage of Soviet troops advancing in winter during the second world war.

"New Year's Day" is U2's third most frequently performed live song, with The Edge switching back and forth between piano and guitar during the song. It has been a standard on every U2 tour since its debut on 1 December 1982 at the first show of the War Tour's Pre-Tour. During the 1980s, The Edge used a Fender Stratocaster to perform this song, along with a keyboard. During the 1990s and 2000s, he has alternated between a Gibson Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Standard. Coincidentally, the Les Paul the Edge used to write this song was sold for charity. Up until the Elevation Tour, Adam normally used a chorus effect on his bass guitar for this song live.

In 1983, Bono said of the song, "It would be stupid to start drawing up battle lines, but I think the fact that 'New Year's Day' made the Top Ten indicated a disillusionment among record buyers. I don't think 'New Year's Day' was a pop single, certainly not in the way that 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 written that kind of song."

"New Year's Day" has appeared on numerous U2 concert video releases, beginning with 1983's Under a Blood Red Sky.

The B-side of "New Year's Day", "Treasure (Whatever Happened to Pete the Chop?)", was never performed live. However, an early version known simply as "Pete the Chop" was played at some concerts in 1980 and can claim the title of being the last commercially unreleased pre-Boy song known to have been performed live. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.