The reason there are so few stray tracks from the "October" era is obvious. Not long before the band went to record that album, a notebook their main songwriter Bono had that contained lyrics and musical ideas was lost. The band was forced to improvise, coming up with new ideas in the studio while facing a deadline.
I'm not sure why there are so few stray tracks from the "War" era. In 2008, "War" was released with an entire second disc of extra songs, but nearly all of them were edits, remixes, or live versions. Only one previously unreleased song was included, "Angels Too Tied to the Ground." But maybe there are more that just are unknown and unbootlegged. I've included on song, "Be There," which is a very good and fully realized "War" outtake. I have no idea why that one hasn't been officially released, at least.
What makes up about half of this album are songs that were officially released at the time as A- or B-sides. In particular, "A Celebration" is a great song, and an A-side, that was released in 1982, right between "October" and "War." It was a middling hit in Britain at the time, but for some reason the band has downplayed it, never playing it in concert in later years and never putting it on any best of compilations. Generally speaking, I like to put songs in chronological order by year on albums like this one. But "A Celebration" worked too well as the first song, so I moved the only song from 1981 a little further back.
By contrast, the band likes the B-side much more. "Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl" has been played live a lot, and made it on the "Under a Blood Red Sky..." live album with the shortened title "Party Girl." They still play it occasionally, decades later.
For their first decade at least, U2 was known for only playing their own songs in concert. But they did play a cover version every so often. "Southern Man" is their version of the famous Neil Young song.
I've included one of the many "War" remixes as a bonus track. I normally am not very interested in remixes, but this one rises above the usual. This version of "New Year's Day" stands out because not only is some of the instrumentation different, but it contains some lyrics that are totally different from the album version.
01 A Celebration (U2)
02 Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl (U2)
03 J. Swallo (U2)
04 Be There (U2)
05 Southern Man (U2)
06 Endless Deep [Instrumental] (U2)
07 Angels Too Tied to the Ground (U2)
08 Treasure [Whatever Happened to Pete the Chop] (U2)
09 Untitled [Instrumental] (U2)
New Year's Day [US Remix] (U2)
For the album cover, I used the cover of the "A Celebration" single. But that single had the black circle of text in the middle in a small size. I enlarged it several times over, until it dominates the album cover. I just thought it looks better that way.