"Pete the Chop" (1981)

Demo Song

Background Information

“Pete the Chop” was a song that U2 recorded at their demo session for CBS Studios in London England in December 1979. The session was with producer Chas de Whalley, and the purpose of the session was to record their second single for CBS, “Another Day”.

Chas de Whalley spoke about these sessions to “Record Collector Magazine in 2004:

We cut two songs but only one ever came out. That was “Another Day,” a typical U2 set-filler of the time, which ended up on the A-side of the next single. The other was “Pete the Chop” and it was by far the most “poppy” thing I’d ever heard them do, but I was sure it would tip the balance in the CBS boardroom. Imagine my disappointment then when Bono called up the day before engineer Walter Samuel and I were to mix the tracks to say that the band hated it and wanted it buried. So we did nothing to it, which is why I don’t have a tape of the song and, when they searched their tape store a few years ago, CBS (now Sony) couldn’t find one either.

The song on “New Year’s Day“, “Treasure (Whatever Happened to Pete the Chop?)” is not the same recording of the song. “Treasure” came about because they were tired of hearing from Paul McGuinness about what a great song “Pete the Chop” had been, and his constant questions as to what happened to the song. “Treasure” was a newly recorded song in late 1982 specifically for that single. Musically there are similarities to the earlier song, but the lyrics are very different.

In March 1981, Bono lost a briefcase of personal effects in the Pacific North West. The contents of the briefcase were found and returned to him in 2004, and we know that included within was a steno pad with hand written notes by Bono. One page of the pad included possible song names that the band was working on including
“Julie Says,” “The Cry,” “Gloria,” “When I Fall Down,” “Pop,” “Cars and Aeroplanes,” “No Man’s Land,” “Talking,” “Spring,” “Father is an Elephant,” “Boy,” “G to E or C to E,” “Shelter from the Storms / The End of Fire,” “Concentration Cramp / Christmas – Gloria,” “Inside Out,” “Beatles,” “Its Just Night Fright” (Fright is crossed out), “Street Mission,” “Drive on John,” “Speed of Life,” “Pete the Chop,” “Love is a Word,” “False Phropfit,” “Beast,” “Instrumentals,” “Is Just As Well,” “Buzz”.

The back of that page has some notes which appear to be partial lyrics to “I Fall Down”: “When I fall down, we all fall down. I shout the fall and falling…” but it also includes some additional notes about “Three voices,” (Possibly “Three Verses”) “Juggle”, “Shelter from the Storm,” and “White”.

Another page in the book had several rough sketches of possible logo designs and some lyrics sketched over the page including “Black Shirt White Hair”, “Beginning – Beauty – The Fall”, “Middle – Status Symbols, Plastic Flowers (Flames?), cars, the bridge silver ware Boy” “Change the face – wall street crash” “Cabaret” “Silver Race”, “Believe in Me,” “War”, “Status Symbols”, “Trumpets” as well as three song names, “Twilight,” “I Will Follow” and “The Ocean”.

On the back of that page are more notes, including “October,” “Rain,” “Shelter from the Storem” again and notes about “Steel”, “Solo”, “Doodle”.

Another page included dates and a note “I Wouldn’t mind being on a windmill”.

It is impossible to know for sure which of these are actual songs they developed, although the first page mentioned is clearly a listing of songs, and the page with beginning and middle noted seem to be an attempt to put together an album.

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