U2’s The Edge Recalls The Time Bono’s Lyric Case Was Stolen
U2 lead guitarist the Edge opened up about the creation of their 1981 album, ‘October,’ during a recent interview with Guitar World. Apparently, the record was particularly challenging for the band members as they didn’t have any material, including lyrics, as their primary lyricist and lead singer Bono’s briefcase was stolen.
‘October‘ is the second studio album, released by U2 on October 12, 1981. The record is mainly inspired by spiritual and religious themes as Bono and the Edge were influenced by a Christian group member named Larry Mullen Jr. at the time.
As for its success, the album received more mixed reviews than its predecessor. While some critics praised it for showing a strong emotional bond, others didn’t particularly enjoy the changes in the band’s sound, which were further away from their classic rock sound.
The recording and creation process of the album was quite unusual for the band as well. Regardless of the peace theme explored in the album, it was actually recorded under the pressure of not having enough material since the band members went into the studio pretty much with nothing.
During a recent interview, Edge opened up about the briefcase incident on the 40th anniversary of their 1981 album. As it turns out, the band was forced to record the album in six weeks while their first album had taken six years, which was their first challenge.
Their second major issue was that U2 had just gotten out of a busy schedule, including a tour. Therefore, the band members couldn’t create new material while on the road for their follow-up to the ‘Boy’ album. On top of this, the primary songwriter Bono’s briefcase, where he put his lyrics, got lost or stolen from the dressing room.
As a result, U2 was left without their lyrics and didn’t have any other material to work with. During the creation of their second studio album, the band members would go into the studio and write the songs while recording them. Fortunately for them, their album wasn’t entirely looked down on by the music critics in the end.
According to Guitar World, the Edge said:
“We were coming off an extremely busy period and ran slap bang into the cliché of all clichés when it comes to new songs: you have six years to write your first album, and then six weeks to write your second album. We came off the road and knew we wanted to follow up the ‘Boy’ album as quickly as possible, but we really hadn’t managed to write much on the road.
Bono had got some early lyric ideas on the go, and then he lost his briefcase, or his briefcase was stolen from the dressing room. We never figured out where or how he lost it, but he lost it. So we ended up back in Dublin, kind of exhausted, spent, and knowing there was a huge herculean effort required to come up with songs for this follow-up record.
We would literally go in, and I would work with Larry sometimes, or sometimes Adam and Larry. We just laid down a bunch of these early drafts of compositions and slowly started to try and weld them together into cohesive tracks.”
Surprisingly enough, 23 years after the briefcase was stolen or got lost, it actually returned to its owner in October 2004. The briefcase was returned to Bono by Cindy Harris who said she found it in the attic of a rented house in 1981.