"The Fool" (1978)

Demo Song

Background Information

“The Fool” is one of U2’s earliest demo recordings, dating back to their second session in studio. In November 1978, U2 went into the studio at Keystone with producer Barry Devlin. During that session they recorded three tracks, “Street Mission,” “Shadows and Tall Trees,” and “The Fool.” All three songs were completed and they were the first songs used to try to gain U2 a recording contract.

In 2004, as part of The Complete U2, all three tracks were finally released. “The Fool” was sometimes identified as “Out of the Living World” on bootleg recordings, but there is enough evidence to say with confidence that the title was intended to be “The Fool”. We have taken an in depth look at U2’s early demo sessions and “The Fool” is covered in part one of that article.

“The Fool” 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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