U2 ‎– Boy

Island Records ‎– ILPS 9646
Vinyl, LP, Album


A1 I Will Follow 3:37
A2 Twilight 4:23
A3 An Cat Dubh 4:46
A4 Into The Heart 3:27
A5 Out Of Control 4:12
B1 Stories For Boys 3:04
B2 The Ocean 1:35
B3 A Day Without Me 3:12
B4 Another Time, Another Place 4:31
B5 The Electric Co. 4:47
B6.1 Shadows And Tall Trees 4:36
B6.2 Untitled 0:38

Companies, etc.



Relased with "All Rights Of The Producer...." mentioned on labels.
This release has a short (approximately 30 seconds) unlisted and uncredited track at the end of the second side after "Shadows and Tall Trees." The track is not separated into its own band on the vinyl though it is visibly discernible.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (Side A, Variant 1, Etched): SOUND CLINIC
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A, Variant 1, Stamped): ILPS 9646 A-2U
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B, Variant 1, Stamped): ILPS 9646 B-1U
  • Matrix / Runout (Side A, Variant 2, Stamped): ILPS 9646 A-2U-1-2 D
  • Matrix / Runout (Side B, Variant 2, Stamped): ILPS 9646 B-2U-1-1 D

Other Versions (5 of 219) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
422-842 296-2 U2 Boy(CD, Album, RE) Island Records 422-842 296-2 US 1990 Sell This Version
PHCR-4701 U2 ボーイ (Boy)(CD, Album, RE) Island Records PHCR-4701 Japan 1995 Sell This Version
10.202913.50 U2 Boy(LP, Album) Island Records, Dacapo 10.202913.50 Portugal 1980 Sell This Version
7 90040-4, 90040-4 U2 Boy(Cass, Album) Island Records, Island Records 7 90040-4, 90040-4 US 1980 Sell This Version
UICY-1413, UICY 1413 U2 ボーイ (Boy)(CD, Album, RE, RM) Universal Music, Island Records UICY-1413, UICY 1413 Japan 2008 Sell This Version


Reviews Show All 4 Reviews

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August 4, 2016
Great sound production on ILPS 9646 with printed inner sleeve lyrics to /twilight/I will follow/the ocean/shadows and tall trees/ on one side and picture of bono...on island label..


November 24, 2013
I have several Argentinean pressings of this album that are not mentiuoned here.
Cassette TMS 70023 from 1986, with U2 / NIÑO on top (cover), and the first CD pressing, from early 90s (1993 or so) cat# 842 296-2.
Also i have the Promo version for the remastered Arg version, and a promo fro mthe US with a diff sticker on front (round glden sticker).


December 17, 2010
A perfect name for a debut album. All angry, all naive and childishly playful, 'Boy' stands somewhere between the test of time and a timeless classic. I didn't know about U2 until they scored it big with 'Pride' in 1984. Commercial appeal of 'The Unforgettable Fire' helped earlier records to re-appear in stores so in my country, all at once, people had four albums being released at approximately the same time (around 1983-84) which added to the confusion for many new listeners in trying to detect the group's work chronologically up to that point. During most of the 80's, I didn't care much about U2 - they became omnipresent enough not to miss, so 'Boy' was a pleasant surprise once I finally had time and space to breathe, and listen to it properly, away from the group's standard media overexposure as the 80s drew to a close (Live Aid, The Joshua Tree, Artists Against Apartheid, Rattle & Hum, Red Hot & Blue).

For the record sleeve alone, it is physical evidence of U2's close link with Virgin Prunes - Guggi's younger brother is the front cover star of the year 1980. Of course, not that it went without trouble; I heard somewhere, U2 were being accused of promoting child pornography because of this sleeve (well, later efforts 'War' and 'New Year's Day' also followed suit, I guess).

In the US, home of the brave, the record sleeve was, of course altered, adding band's photos in a distorted treatment. Stupid accusations for sensation's sake aside, 'Boy' as a mascot provided a brilliant visual template for U2's music - listening to it, there is a true sense of waving goodbye to childhood and facing uncertainty of growing up and continually dreaming in the real world.

'I Will Follow', while not their ultimate best track, it's a great kickstart of things to come - the band is raw and edgy, and Bono is already working out his stage persona :). Dirty guitar comes bursting with a xylophone melody off the keyboard and drums rumbling into the mix - the track explodes at full and the introduction of the band is complete. 'Twilight' fits perfectly as a follow up track. Again the guitar solo kicks in, with bass and drums fluidly sliding into the song to give a similar pattern. To me personally, the first in a row of excellent moments on this album comes with 'An Cat Dubh' (for the life of me, I have no idea what's the song's title supposed to mean) - here, all the edginess of the first two tracks is comprised in a slower, moodier and much darker offering, filled with opening ghostly sound and nice bass stab that echoes Gang of Four. To give some comfort against 'Cat's' tension, 'Into the Heart' medleys in, more as an intermission-style track, albeit a filler, it's a nice one. 'Out of Control' is another fine burst of raw energy and also at its perfect place, closing side one of the album. 'Stories For Boys' somehow repeats the formula of 'I Will Follow' - the guitar and the drums make almost identical arrangement kicks into the song only minus the xylophone sound. 'The Ocean' is a beautiful, sadly short, perfect soundtrack for lying on a desert island - you cannot help but sit and stare at the sea, hoping for someone to drop you a message in a bottle... tiny flashes of Fleetwood Mac's 'Albatross' make it an accidental, charming tribute.

'A Day Without Me' has another interesting feature - according to elsewhere information, it is about Ian Curtis (at the time, U2 were one in a row of people respectful of Joy Division whose ghost haunts 'Boy' quite evidently, and even Martin Hannett bothered to produce U2's excellent '11 O'Clock Tick Tock' single). 'A Day Without Me' has this irresistible 'staring at the distance' melody - perfect for traveling and alongside 'An Cat Dubh', the album's strongest track. 'Another Time, Another Place' and 'The Electric Co.' are respectful, all raw energy but so far, both are already examined in the album's earlier repertoire (well, depending at what order you're running the playlist). The closing number, stunning in its own right - 'Shadows and Tall Trees', is almost Simple Minds by its minimalist comparison - generally, Bono's singing is not far away from Jim Kerr's mind you, and here their stylistic similarities are really close - especially considering Minds' ideas from their earlier two albums, 'Real To Real Cacophony' and 'Empires and Dance'.

In all, 'Boy' is not the best U2 album, but it's one of their sincerest. They were aware of their limitations here but in terms of a debut album, there is plenty to discover - and reward the listener. Definitely an album I go back to every once in a while...


August 10, 2010
edited over 6 years ago

Boy. What else is there to say? It's U2. Early U2. It's Rock, actually Post-punk since the era for it was beginning to close. Bono's vocals, Edge's guitar effects, Adam's deep bass, Larry's blitzkrieg drums. The band was just starting out in Ireland, and like most bands, you have to start out sounding like something else that already exists before creating your own sound. Most bands start out like this and U2 is no exception. At least the album is very decent in terms of the genre.

I Will Follow: Bono laments the loss of his mother years before, Edge uses high strung guitaring with some clean sound. Larry runs down on the drums with toms and snare triplets. Adam goes up and down on the bass. The song has sounds of shattering glass (or christmas ornaments?) and some chimes.

Twilight: Edge opens with some solo riffs and it immediately goes into song. Bono has some shallow vocals and jumps around in his singing especially "TWI-LIGHT!". Not much to say about this song, but it runs well with the album.

An Cat Dubh suite: I basically call the next three songs "An Cat Dubh" (or The Black Cat) suite. I do this primarily because each song segues into the next ending with Out of Control and ends the first side of the LP version.
An Cat Dubh starts very slow and remains that way for most of the song, but sounds a lot like marching. Into the Heart is very calm and not very full. Little to no drumming and Edge runs a echoing guitar with Adam doing a simple bass line. Out of Control returns to a punk rock sound starting with Adam pounding a bass line which The Edge then enters and Larry starts hitting the hi-hats in 16th notes. The song shows what's to come later on the album.

Stories for Boys: From their U2 Three EP, Stories for Boys opens the second half of the album with similarity to Out of Control. Not much to say on this song, again.

The Ocean: Shortest track (I think U2's shortest "actual" track out of their whole career). Not much to say. Very deep guitar and bass, ocean sounds.

Day Without Me: U2's first single from the album. Opens with Edge using longer delay and some phaser. Fast bass strumming from Adam and Bono's shouting vocals about his own struggle within. Wishing for "A Day without me". Edge (or Bono?) provides some very high pitched vocals near the last minute of the song.

Another Time, Another Place: Another punk song. The funniest thing I heard on the album "Ay-ya ya, Look at her, she's so beautiful", Bono completely sounds like he's lost in his own thoughts.

The Electric Co./Shadows and Tall Trees: Both songs segue into each other. Electric Co. provides some delay triplets coming from the Edge and Larry starts crashing those cymbals. This song, I feel, has the easiest lyrics to sing along to, though Bono is fast-paced this time. The false fade out gives the song more feel as Bono ad lib.s through the rest of the song after Edge's solo. Right when Co. finishes, Tall Trees immeadiately starts with a calm tone. Over the course of the song, the chorus is multi-tracked with a chorus of voices singing "SHADOWS, SHADOWS". This resembles some of the much that comes in their later works. The song slowly fades out too.

Untitled – I really saw no point in this track. You can't tell what's going on, but it sounds like it's recording something in an auditorium with a brass band going off..... Good end to an album?

Boy is a good starter album for U2. I have to give it 4 stars though because even though it delivers, half the tracks bear similar resemblence in Bono's singing. Edge's use of effects and riffs go hand in hand with the rest of the guys. This album showed what was to become of U2 before the next albums "October" and "War" were conceived.