Get On Your Boots

"Get On Your Boots"
Single by U2
from the album No Line on the Horizon
B-side "No Line on the Horizon 2"
Released 23 January 2009
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:24
U2 singles chronology
"The Ballad of Ronnie Drew"
(with the Dubliners, Kíla, A Band of Bowsies)
"Get on Your Boots"

Music video
"Get On Your Boots" on YouTube
Music sample
"Get On Your Boots"

"Get On Your Boots" is a song by Irish rock band U2 and the sixth track from their 2009 album No Line on the Horizon.[1] The song was released as the album's first single on 23 January 2009. The physical format was released on 16 February.[2] The video received its premiere on 6 February 2009.

The lyrical delivery of the song's verses has been said to resemble Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues,"[3][4] while the song has also been compared to "Pump It Up" by Elvis Costello.[5]

Composition and recording

Originally known as "Four Letter Word" and later as "Sexy Boots," "Get On Your Boots" originated as a demo that guitarist the Edge recorded at his home with the software GarageBand.[6][7] The song went through many iterations, and at one point the main guitar riff was dropped, leading producer Steve Lillywhite to describe it as "a Beck B side" that could have been cut from the album.[6] Throughout the documentary It Might Get Loud, the Edge is shown working on the song's guitar riffs, while experimenting with their sounds and effects.

"Get On Your Boots" was one of several songs recorded by a fan outside of Bono's house during the No Line on the Horizon sessions.[8] The clip was subsequently uploaded to YouTube, but removed at the request of Universal Music.[9]

Thematically, the song is about Bono taking his family on vacation to France and witnessing warplanes flying overhead at the start of the Iraq War; some of the lyrics are from the perspective of a man writing a letter to his first love as he relates witnessing the same event.[10][11] The "let me in the sound" chant was developed comparatively late in the recording sessions. It was also used in the opening section of "Fez – Being Born."[7] "Get On Your Boots" was one of three songs that the band were considering to open the album with, along with "Fez – Being Born" and "No Line on the Horizon."[12] "No Line on the Horizon" was eventually chosen.

At a speed of 150 beats per minute, "Get On Your Boots" is one of the fastest songs the band have ever recorded.[13] It was described by Q magazine as "demented electro grunge employs a proto-rock n'roll riff, but propelled into the future, before taking a sudden hip-hop twist midway through." Rolling Stone magazine has called it a "blazing, fuzzed-out rocker that picks up where 'Vertigo' left off."[14] Hot Press described the song as "[...] a thoroughly contemporary, intense electro grunge exercise, with Adam Clayton's powerful bass to the fore, which mixes hip hop influences with shades of the Rolling Stones, Queen, Bob Dylan and the Beatles."[15]

The song was remixed by the French duo Justice[16] and Italian duo Crookers.[17][18][19]


A bootlegged, early version of the song was partly released to YouTube during the band's recording sessions at the French resort of Èze. The poor quality version was subsequently removed from the site at the behest of the band's record label, Universal Records.[20] Media reports in August 2008 originally referred to the song by the title "Sexy Boots," and later as "Get Your Boots On." It was later revised to "Get on Your Boots."[21]

"Get On Your Boots" was scheduled to receive its world radio premiere on The Colm & Jim-Jim Breakfast Show on the Irish radio station RTÉ 2fm at 8:10 on 19 January 2009 by the band's long-time friend and favoured disc-jockey Dave Fanning.[22] However, after a nearly 30 second sample of the song was leaked onto the Internet, the song was made available in the iTunes Store for purchase an hour before its first play by Fanning, and the band decided to begin streaming the song on later that day.[23] The single received a physical release on 16 February.[2] The B-side, "No Line on the Horizon 2," is an altered version of the album's title track.

The track was later included on the British compilation album Now That's What I Call Music! 72.

Music video

A scene from the "Get on Your Boots" music video.

The music video was directed by Alex Courtes,[15] who previously co-directed the music videos for "Vertigo" and "City of Blinding Lights." The video features footage of the band performing the song in front of a background consisting of collages of military, astronomy, and female imagery. The video footage of the band was shot in London. The Edge stated that the video is about letting women take over because "men have fucked things up so badly, politically, economically, and socially."[15]

The video was scheduled to premiere on the Irish Independent website on 30 January 2009, but this was later delayed. Universal Music issued a statement saying that the video had not been completed in time for its scheduled airing.[24] Images from a leaked version of the video had Getty Images watermarks on them, indicating unresolved copyright issues.[25] The finished version of the video premiered at 17:00 UTC on Friday, 6 February on the newspaper's website.[26]

Live performance history

The lighting design and performance style of "Get On Your Boots" during the U2 360° Tour.

U2 played "Get On Your Boots" to open the 2009 Grammy Awards and the 2009 BRIT Awards.[27][28] It was performed at every show of the U2 360° Tour, with the song usually being placed near the start of the show.

On the TV show Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., Bono, the Edge and Elvis Costello performed a medley of "Pump It Up" and "Get on Your Boots," alternating between the two songs.

Reception and chart performance

"Get On Your Boots" received mixed response. It was favourably received by Billboard, which stated that "the song is upbeat and energetic, and its instantaneous chart success (the first No. 1 Triple A debut in Nielsen BDS history and a top 10 debut at Modern Rock) shows that U2's popularity hasn't waned one iota."[29] Blender said "'Get On Your Boots' is a manic low-end rocker a la 'Vertigo,' with phased ’70s-style synths, buzzing guitar and a breathless vocal from Bono that brings back fond memories of the days when the Edge tried to rap."[30] Allmusic wasn't happy with the song, saying "Contrary to the suggestion of the clanking, sputtering first single 'Get On Your Boots' — its riffs and 'Pump It Up' chant sounding like a cheap mashup stitched together in GarageBand — [No Line on the Horizon] isn't a garish, gaudy electro-dalliance in the vein of Pop."[31] In an interview with Rolling Stone, Adam Clayton stated his thoughts as to why "Get On Your Boots" had such a mixed response: "Interestingly, it's going off live. I think probably what happened was it's a common U2 problem. I think we probably worked on it and worked on it and worked on it, and instead of executing one idea well, I think we had probably five ideas in the song, and it just confused people. They weren't sure what they were hearing."[32]

The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 in its debut week, fell to #96 the following week, then off the chart.[33] However, it did become their sixteenth top-five Modern Rock Tracks hit, debuting in the Top 10, and peaking at #5. It also became their first Top 10 single on this chart since "All Because of You" in 2005. In the UK, "Get On Your Boots" marked the band's 40th UK Top 40 single and their 39th single to enter the UK Top 20. However, it underperformed in comparison with earlier lead singles from U2’s studio albums, peaking at #12 in the UK Singles Chart and making it the first lead traditional format single by the band prior to its parent album release to fail to reach #1 since "With or Without You" in 1987,[34] the first lead single to miss the Top 10 since "Gloria" in 1981,[35] and the worst debut for a U2 single since "If God Will Send His Angels" in 1997.[36] It also broke a string of 14 consecutive UK Top 5 singles for U2. On its second week, the single dropped to #20 on the UK Singles Chart, then #30 before leaving the chart; it remained in the UK Top 100 only for 5 weeks. "Get On Your Boots" made a "Hot Shot Debut" at #3 on the Canadian Hot 100 for the week of 7 February based on the large number of downloads, making it the band's 12th top five hit in the country.[37]

Track listing

7" single (#1798673)[38]
CD single (#1798676)[39]
No. Title Length
1. "Get On Your Boots"   3:24
2. "No Line on the Horizon 2"   4:05
CD single with video link (#1798675)[40]
No. Title Length
1. "Get On Your Boots"   3:24
2. "No Line on the Horizon 2"   4:08
3. "Get On Your Boots" (Video) 3:31


Weekly charts

Chart (2009) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[41] 26
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[42] 11
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[43] 14
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[44] 13
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[45] 3
European Hot 100[46] 6
France (SNEP)[47] 6
Germany (Official German Charts)[48] 19
Ireland (IRMA)[49] 1
Italy (FIMI)[50] 4
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[51] 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[52] 5
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[53] 20
Norway (VG-lista)[54] 5
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[55] 20
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[56] 8
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[57] 65
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[58] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[59] 37
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[60] 5
US Digital Songs (Billboard)[61] 21
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[62] 26
US Pop 100 (Billboard)[63] 40
Venezuela Pop Rock (Record Report)[64] 3

Year-end charts

Chart (2009) Position
Hungarian Singles Chart[65] 143
Italian Singles Chart[66] 100

Preceded by
"Just Dance" by Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
19 February 2009
Succeeded by
"Poker Face" by Lady Gaga

See also


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  2. 1 2 "First Single, Album Tracklisting". 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
  3. U2 – Get On Your Boots – Single Review @ Unreality Music
  4. U2's new single: Is 'Get on Your Boots' any good? | PopWatch Blog |
  5. "Pop & Hiss". The Los Angeles Times. 2009-01-19.
  6. 1 2 Hiatt, Brian (2009-04-05). "Taking care of business". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  7. 1 2 Frenette, Brad (2009-03-10). "U2's No Line On The Horizon: A track-by-track exclusive with producer/co-writer Daniel Lanois". National Post. Archived from the original on 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  8. "U2 unconcerned about YouTube furor". Hot Press. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  9. Burns, John (2008-08-24). "Eavesdropping fan posts new U2 songs on web". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  10. Pareles, Jon (2009-03-02). "U2, the biggest of veterans, wants to be the next new thing". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  11. Owens, Catherine (2009-02-27). "No Line on the Horizon". No Line on the Horizon magazine (included with some versions of the album). p. 23.
  12. Horan, Niamh (2009-12-28). "Is Bono nervous about the new U2 album? You bet" (reprint). Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  13. Hiatt, Brian (2009-01-22). "Inside U2's Bold New Horizon". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-09-27.
  14. Hiatt, Brian (2009-01-07). "U2 Break Down "No Line on the Horizon"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
  15. 1 2 3 "Ireland leads the way with new U2 album". Hot Press. 26 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
  16. New U2 - "Get On Your Boots (Justice Remix)" (Stereogum Premiere) - Stereogum
  18. Young, Alex (2008-08-17). "U2 does little to downplay new album's title, sound, or release date". Consequence of Retrieved 2009-01-17.
  19. Carr, Eamon (2008-08-11). "Blood on the Dance Floor". Evening Herald. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
  20. "World premiere for new U2 on RTÉ 2fm". RTÉ. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
  21. Kreps, Daniel (2009-01-20). "U2's New Single "Get On Your Boots" Hits iTunes Early". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  22. "Get On Your Boots: U2 video exclusive on - Music -". Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  23. Kreps, Daniel (2009-02-09). "Early Version of U2's "Get on Your Boots" Video Snatched From Web". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
  24. Get On Your Boots: U2 video exclusive on
  25. "2009-02-08: Staples Center - Los Angeles, California, USA". Retrieved 2009-06-09.
  26. "2009-02-18: Earl's Court Arena - London, England". Retrieved 2009-06-09.
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  28. No Line on the Horizon - Blender
  29. allmusic ((( No Line on the Horizon > Overview )))
  30. "U2 overworked 'Get on Your Boots'". The List. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
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  32. "With or without you". 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
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  34. Laurac, Emile (2009-02-23). "First time since 1997, a U2 single fails to hit UK top 10". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
  35. "Canadian Hot 100 - Get on Your Boots". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
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  38. Get on Your Boots (CD single). U2. Universal Music Group. 2009. 1798675.
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