Template:Infobox single "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" was U2's second single, released 16 May 1980. It followed their debut EP Three and the single "Another Day." It was released prior to their debut album, Boy.


The non-long player single was recorded in the spring of 1980, produced by Martin Hannett, an in demand figure at that time for his recent critically acclaimed work with Joy Division; a band that influenced U2. The band first met Hannett while he was producing Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (the members of U2 were silent studio onlookers during the session).

"11 O'Clock Tick Tock" debuted live in August 1979 with alternate lyrics. The song was then known by the title "Silver Lining." It evolved into "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" between March and May 1980. "Touch," the B-side of the "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" single, evolved from an earlier song called "Trevor." "Touch" was played on the Boy Tour in 1980-1981, but has not been performed on any subsequent tours.

Three mixes of "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" exist, all studio cuts. The 1980 single features the 3:47 single mix. The Martin Hannett tribute album And Here Is the Young Man features a 4:03 mix. The final mix is a 4:13 version with a longer intro that featured on the 1984 UK "Pride (In the Name of Love)" 12-inch limited edition single.

The experience of working with Hannett wasn't a happy one for U2, which felt that he had swamped their sound with his own distinctive production technique, and the personal chemistry between Hannett and the band had also been poor. The band's record company Island Records had been considering Hannett for the role of the producer of their forthcoming debut long-player Boy at this time, but this was dropped after the band's objection post the 11 O'Clock Tick Tock recording sessions.[1]

Big Ben

The harmonic guitar section towards the end of the song features an incorporation of the Third Quarter chime of the Westminster Quarters from the Big Ben clock tower, at the Palace of Westminster in London.


During the first half of the 1980s, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" was one of U2's most popular live songs and it appears on the 1983 live EP Under A Blood Red Sky and concert film Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky. On U2's very early tours, it was often played twice due to a lack of material - once early in the concert, and then during the encore. Until December 1982, it was routinely paired with "The Ocean", a song from the band's debut album Boy. This live pairing is available on the "Fire" single.

After the Unforgettable Fire Tour concluded in July 1985, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" has been played thirteen times, including seven performances on 2001's Elevation Tour. The frequency of its early performances means that it is still one of U2's twenty most-performed live songs.[2]

Track listing



  1. 'U2 - The Early Years: "There was a presence, a magnetism ...", by S. Dalton, 'Uncut' magazine, December 1999, Take 31. (Reprinted online issue: 12 September 2014). http://www.uncut.co.uk/features/u2-the-early-years-there-was-a-presence-a-magnetism-4226
  2. TourDB statistics - U2 on tour

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External links

Template:U2 singles

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