Street Missions

One of the earliest of songs, created sometime around or before they were U2, perhaps when they were still The Hype. Street Missions has an unfortunate name, because I keep tying the first word as Streets, which is a different song entirely.

Perhaps the best thing about this song is seeing the video. The story from U2 by U2 is that some tv producer came to their school for something, they got introduced, they played a couple of Ramones songs and he thought they were original, and put them on tv. By the time they actually got on tv they had Street Missions completed and practiced, and played it.

It is a great video, they are all so young and so naive. There is Bono, looking like something out of the Bay City Rollers, dressed that way with the hair sticking up in a pouf and really looking so 70s. He twists his legs back and forth like he’s hip, or maybe like he’s drunk and can’t stand straight. There’s a moment in the video where he pulls the microphone off the stand and waves it around, and the words keep singing, like he is lip-synching. So is it all fake? I don’t know, I don’t think so given all the other actions going on.

Edge is there, playing a solo, although he spoils it a little by turning away from the camera as he starts, then turning back. He has long hair almost down to his eyes, and has no clue that in about five years he’s going to be completely bald, or near enough.

Adam is as always a cipher, hanging around in the back wearing a cool shirt and cool glasses and dancing around like a bassist should. Always the cool one, always in the background.

And they take a look at Larry, who somehow is sitting there drumming quietly away, then turns and realizes he is on camera - must have a monitor there - and grins big, before trying to get serious and go back to drumming. He’ll never smile that big again in his career.

Lyrically it isn’t much, there’s a bunch of repeats of the title, a lot of oh-ohs and knows and someones (read the lyrics, you’ll know what I mean). I will say that for a group of 17 or 18 year olds it is actually really good all round. Better than anything I could ever do. Each part of the song, in fact, is better than what I could do now as a forty-something, and way better than any band I ever heard when they were teenagers. I’ve asked the question before about why U2, how they managed to get picked out of all the other groups that were forming in Dublin in those days, and this just might be the answer. Because they had talent from the get-go, and this they stood out from everyone else even if they had to trick their way onto tv in the first place.

My rating for Street Missions: 3 / 10