11 O'Clock Tick Tock

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"11 O'Clock Tick Tock"
11 O'Clock Tick Tock.png
Single by U2
Released16 May 1980[1]
Format7-inch vinyl
StudioWindmill Lane Studios (Dublin)
Producer(s)Martin Hannett
U2 singles chronology
"Another Day"
"11 O'Clock Tick Tock"
"A Day Without Me"

"11 O'Clock Tick Tock" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It was released as a single on 16 May 1980. It followed their debut EP Three and the single "Another Day." It was the group's first release for Island Records.


"11 O'Clock Tick Tock" was recorded in the spring of 1980, and was 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 at the Strawberry Studios in Stockport in March 1980 to see if they wanted to work with him. During their visit, Hannett was producing Joy Division's single "Love Will Tear Us Apart", for which they observed the recording session.[2]

"11 O'Clock Tick Tock" had its live debut in August 1979 with alternate lyrics, under 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" are publicly known to 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 was not a happy one for U2, who felt that he had imposed his distinctive production ambience upon their sound, 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 yet-to-recorded debut album, Boy, but this was dropped after the band objected.[3]

Big Ben[edit]

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.[4]

Track listing[edit]

7" vinyl
1."11 O'Clock Tick Tock"3:44


  1. ^ Sams, Aaron; Kantas, Harry. "U2 – "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" Single". U2songs.com. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  2. ^ Interview with Bono, R.T.E. Radio 2, September 1980. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQrJYzzGN2A
  3. ^ Dalton, Stephen (December 1999). "U2 - The Early Years: "'was a presence, a magnetism...'". Uncut. No. 31. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  4. ^ TourDB statistics - U2 on tour

External links[edit]