U2's first album Boy was released to critical acclaim, with their live performances also drawing more than favourable reviews, helping to establish the band on the road to today's extravagant stadium tours. However in contrast they did attract considerable negative reaction to their choice of imagery for the album's artwork. The band's intention was to portray the innocence of youth, choosing to photograph the 'pretty' brother of Bono's friend 'Guggi'. The 'Boy' [Peter Rowen] was pictured naked from the chest up, his wide eyed innocence for all to see - however reaction in America was so negative, believing the band were pandering to paedophiles, that the US album was released with alternative artwork. Unperturbed U2 would use images of Peter Rowen again, most notably on the album War, but this time a slightly older boy portraying the loss of innocence by the effects of time etched across his face, would stare out from the album cover.
The album was released in the UK on October 20, 1980, and was immediately followed by U2's first tour of continental Europe and the United States, beginning with a 50 leg tour of Britain, throughout which this backdrop would have been used. According to the vendor, a friend saved the backdrop from a skip, with the blessing of her then employer 'Island Records'.