(With Pause For Thought you get a theme and today's was "Debut Albums". I found this a tricky one to bring some spiritual content to and I predictably took Boy by U2 and blended with the wake up daze early morning radio is...)
Like most of you I waken up every morning to Radio 2... the daze gradually lifting, half dreaming, half hearing, sometimes the two blurring between fact and fiction. A few years ago, around coffee time, I suddenly asked my staff if they had heard anything about U2 winning 5 Grammies? I wasn’t sure if it was the fact or the fiction of early morning radio! No one knew but less than 30 minutes later the phone went and it was a major news network asking me if I had heard that U2 had won 5 Grammies the night before! Fact! Honest!
I said I had and the next thing I knew I was in a studio in Belfast going out live on the 6 O’clock news. I sat with headphones on waiting for the anchor to ask me something on U2. When my headphones went live the guy starts with, “So Reverend Steve Stockman, sex and drugs and rock n roll how have U2 kept going for so long?” No time to think... so I answered “Well, I think it is the fact that they weren’t much interested in the sex and drugs so they were able to concentrate on the rock n roll” I was quite pleased with that answer. And I believe it.
U2 are still making records 35 years after Boy was released and I don't think they have lost any of their desire and passion. The key as to why, I believe, is on the first track of that debut record. Boy kicked off with the youthful post punk energy of I Will Follow. It was about much more than artistic energy being fuelled by the naive innocent Christian faith of their late teens. On an album of adolescent questioning and searching they nailed their manifesto with a song of belief and on every record since 1979 they have continued the follow that path they committed to. U2’s records have almost been a diary of a development of faith. Jesus never said “Believe this creed.” Or “read this liturgy.” He said “Follow me...” It is like those two roads diverging in the middle of a life. Take the one less travelled by and it makes all the difference. It has made all the difference to U2 whose art and Grammy awards have been fuelled with the desire to keep following something more than sex and drugs and rock n roll... Few bands have followed the manifesto of their debut so diligently...