U2 - "New Year's Day"
from the album War (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #53
This week's "Robbed Hit" is by Irish rock icons U2, who came together in Dublin in the mid-70s. After releasing their first EP in 1979, the band had their first taste of success in the beginning of 1980 with the release of their debut full-length album, Boy. One of the tracks on that set, "I Will Follow", became a top-40 hit in New Zealand and a minor hit in Australia, as well as making the newly-minted rock radio chart in the States (at #20). Their followup album, October, did even better, scoring the group their first top-40 hit in England (and top-5 single in their native Ireland), "Fire". Meanwhile, both albums were creating a big word-of-mouth reaction, and their touring helped build a buzz as well.
U2 answered that groundswell with their most epic album yet, War, which dealt with the savagery of conflict, and the first single, "New Year's Day", which was inspired by the Solidarity movement in Poland...
While "New Year's Day" became the band's first big hit in England, reaching #10, as well as peaking at #2 on the American rock radio chart, the single stalled at #53 on the US pop chart. However, the band would soon make for it by the legacy this song left, allowing them to grow into one of the biggest rock acts of the 80s.
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