"Cartoon World" (1979)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Cartoon World” was an early song which was developed prior to U2 recording the album, Boy. The song started showing up in live sets as early as February 1979.

Bono spoke about it in U2 by U2 and another early song, Concentration Cramp”:

I was trying to find our sound through childish things, nursery rhymes. There was a song called “Concentration Cramp” built around a kid’s word game: “Let’s go, concentration, let’s go.” All that. “Cartoon World” was the same. We were trying to figure out our language. It was all very healthy — I think even then we knew we had to find some new kind of cool, based on uncool.

Edge also talked about “Cartoon World”:

If I wrote a lyric, which sometimes I would do, I’d have to persuade him (Bono) to sing it, which is always a little bit difficult. There was a song called “Cartoon World” that I wrote, but Bono collaborated on the lyrics. Jack and Jull went up the hill / They dropped some acid and popped some pills! I’m sure that was one of his!

“Cartoon World” is also mentioned as an old song of U2’s in the article “The Unbelievable Book” by Neil McCormick talking about Eamon Dunphy’s The Unforgettable Fire biography of U2:

No analysis of their early numbers: “Street Mission” — a rock epic of spiritual longing that would end their sets — “Life on a Distant Planet”, “The Fool”, “Cartoon World”, “Speed of Life”, “Concentration Cramp”, “So Sad”, “In Your Hands” — songs in which they first got to grips with their music and Bono defined the two characters that would dominate his early lyrics, The Boy and The Fool (only one of whom ever made it onto vinyl).

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