"I Will Follow" is a song by rock band U2. It is the opening track from their debut album, Boy, and it was released as the album's second single, in October 1980. Bono wrote the lyrics to "I Will Follow" in tribute to his mother who died when he was 14 years old.
"I Will Follow" is the only song that U2 have performed on every tour since they released their first album. The song was U2's first music video, directed by Meiert Avis in Dublin, Ireland. The song was issued five times, first in 1981 on a 7" vinyl in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, second on the same format in the United States and Canada, third in the Netherlands in 1982 with a track from 1981's October, in 1983 with a live version of the song, and finally in 2011 with a live version of the song recorded at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival.
"I Will Follow" was written three weeks before U2 began recording Boy. U2 singer Bono has said that he wrote the song from his mother's perspective and that it was about the unconditional love a mother has for her child. His mother died following her own father's funeral when Bono was fourteen, which the singer says plunged him into emotional turmoil for the next few years. The song features the lyrics "his mother takes him by his hand" and "If you walk away, I will follow." Bono has also described the song's lyrics as a 14 year old boy's suicide note, wanting to follow his deceased mother into the grave.
In 2005, Blender ranked the song at number 214 on its list "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born". The magazine wrote, "The first song on U2's first album introduced the guitar sound that would define their work. [...] The arena-ready clarion call also established Bono's trademark lyrical earnestness, one of the reasons the song remains a fan favorite and a staple of the band's recent tours."
The Netherlands release was recorded for the Veronica TV concert series Countdown, and was reissued in Germany in 1983. The cover of the Canadian and U.S. releases feature the same image as the North American release of Boy, to avoid accusations of pedophilia due to the image of the naked boy. The 1983 release was in a generic red sleeve with no cover artwork.