Three, also known as U2 3, is the first release by Irish rock band U2, a three-song EP recorded and released in 1979. It was produced by the band with Chas de Whalley and only available in Ireland at the time of its release.
U2 performed all of the songs from Three live regularly in the band's formative years. The earliest known performances of "Out of Control" and "Stories for Boys" took place in August 1979; "Out of Control" was written on lead singer Bono's 18th birthday. "Boy/Girl" may have also been played at this stage: a song named "In Your Hand" might have been related in some way to "Boy/Girl" but no recordings of it exist. The first confirmed performance of "Boy/Girl" took place in October 1979. All three songs were regularly performed on the Boy Tour in 1980–1981, though "Boy/Girl" appeared less than the others. "Stories for Boys," which premiered at an unknown date in August 1979, was used as a concert opener a few times before being moved to late in the main setlist, nearer to "Out of Control", which was typically the last song of the main set. In mid-March 1981, the Three songs were united to close the main set. "Stories for Boys" was first, followed by "Boy/Girl", which segued into "Out of Control". This trilogy lasted until the end of the tour.
"Boy/Girl" and "Stories for Boys" did not remain the band's live repertoire long after the end of the Boy Tour. "Boy/Girl" was played just three times afterwards, while "Stories For Boys" was initially frequently performed on the October Tour before it was removed from the setlist in late March 1982. "Out of Control", however, remained longer in the band's live show. It rotated with "Gloria" as the concert opener on the War Tour and the first leg of the Unforgettable Fire Tour. It then went into hiatus, appearing only twice late in the Unforgettable Fire Tour before returning sporadically to the setlist on the third leg of the Joshua Tree Tour and three performances on the Lovetown Tour. "Out Of Control" then had an absence of over eleven years from the setlist; it was not played again until 15 May 2001 on the Elevation Tour. After initial infrequent performances proved popular with fans, it became more regular in the setlist as the tour progressed. It was retained on the Vertigo Tour for special occasions; it was played a total of nine times, including instances in Toronto and Los Angeles where U2 performed it with local bands. The Vertigo Tour also saw part of "Stories for Boys" return to the setlist - Bono acknowledged its lyrical relation to "Vertigo" by snippeting some lyrics from "Stories for Boys" at the end of "Vertigo". This snippet was a regular feature of shows on the Vertigo Tour's first leg but was done only sporadically on the second leg and never on subsequent legs.
"Out of Control" and "Stories for Boys" were re-recorded for the band's first album, Boy (1980). Live versions of the two songs were also later featured on various releases, such as the "Sweetest Thing" single and the Live from Boston 1981 digital album. A live version of "Boy/Girl" was later featured on the "I Will Follow" single. The original EP made it's CD debut in 2008 as bonus tracks on the Boy reissue.