Most U2 fans will know this song, though it’s understandable if you don’t.
This was U2’s second single, released this week in 1980. Yep, 25 years ago. And that was before they released their first album, Boy (which it doesn’t appear on).
A live version showed up on their 1984 EP Under A Blood Red Sky, and it also appeared on the 12” single of “Pride” (as well as on the U.K. cass-single of that same song).
People who pay attention to this kind of thing claim that, after their Unforgettable Fire tour in 1985, the song has only been performed live 12 times.
It wasn’t a hit. And not just in the U.S. “11 O’Clock Tick Tock” didn’t make the charts anywhere. In fact, it would be another six months before a U2 song showed up in the charts. That was their fourth single, “I Will Follow”, which made it to #34 in New Zealand and #71 in Australia.
So there’s a good reason that you might not know it.
My favorite line from the song is this:
“We thought that we have the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.”
I think it’s a great song, especially if you love rock, or at least, CLASSIC rock. And this is U2 before iTunes, before the activism, before the stadium tours. Just a four-piece rock band, putting their heart and soul into one of their first, original releases.
For those who know the song, it probably evokes memories of the early 1980’s, listening to your favorite station and eagerly devouring what you hoped would be the next big thing, before anyone else found out about it.
For others, it might be a memory of those big tours in the 1980’s, as U2 went back and forth across the globe alongside Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen.
It’s MTV and vinyl records. It’s the shift from punk to alternative. It’s only one brand of Coke.
It can also be a song about responsibility. 11 O’Clock and time to go home. And that “Tick Tock” might mean that it’s getting later, later than you think.
Or it could be about believing in yourself, and continuing to follow your dreams, even when they don’t seem to be panning out. Or hitting the charts.
And there’s that number “11”. In numerology, 11 carries a vibrational frequency of balance. In Angel Numbers, at least according to Doreen Virtue, 11 means to stay positive, focusing only on the good within yourself, others and the situation.
And it could be a million other things.
That’s the thing about music. It’s so subjective. This song could mean something to you that has nothing to do with the lyrics, the band or the 1980’s.
It could mean something completely unique to you and only you. Something only you would know. Something only you would understand. Something only you would care about.
And, personally, I find that pretty darn cool.
That’s one of the things I love about music. It can mean so many different things to each of us, even if we’re all listening to the very same song.
This song isn’t the inspiration for it, but it’s as good an example of any as to why I started posting the 11:11 Songs.
For those who don’t know, I’ve started posting on Facebook, at 11:11am and 11:11pm, a link back to this website, to a page that contains 11 YouTube videos of 11 different songs.
Since music can mean so many things to each of us, it’s my goal that this can become a daily source for all to find some hope and healing, advice and answers, motivation and inspiration, or just nostalgia and comfort.
You can find the most recent collection of 11:11 Songs if you just click up at the top right, where it says 11:11 Songs. You can also just click RIGHT HERE.
You may not know all these songs. But I’m pretty sure you will find something there every day that will resonate in some way.
In the meantime, here’s U2 from the 1983 concert film U2 Live At Red Rocks…