• 09 June 2004

Band form


U2 (formed 1976)
U2 are an Irish rock band, consisting of Bono (vocals), Larry Mullen Jr. (drums), Adam Clayton (bass) and The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals).

The Early Years: The members of U2 formed the band when Larry Mullen Jr., aged 14, posted a note on the notice board at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, looking for people to form a band with.

All four members off the band attended the initial practice, in Mullen's kitchen and chose the name Feedback. There were three other boys at the rehearsal, none of whom made the final grade. Dick Evans lasted the longest, eventually walking offstage at a farewell gig at Howth Presbyterian Church. It was at this moment that the band changed their name to U2.

The band won a talent show in 1978, winning £500 and the chance to record a demo tape. Paul McGuiness agreed to be their manager and their first EP was released in Ireland only. Entitled Three, the EP was their first success in the Irish charts.

The Mainstream: In 1980, U2 were signed to Island Records. '11 O'Clock Tick Tock' was the band's debut internationally released single. Steve Lillywhite was drafted in to produce their debut album, Boy, which was well received by music critics.

October was the band's second album. It did not sell well outside of the UK and Island records put pressure on the band to improve. U2's answer to this pressure was the album, War. The album's artwork featured the photography of Anton Corbijn. War went straight to number one in the UK charts and the debut single was 'New Year's Day' became their first overseas hit single. The live album, Under a Blood Red Sky was recorded on the promotional tour for War, which saw the band playing to sold-out venues across Europe and the States.

In 1984, the band released The Unforgettable Fire. Produced by Brian Eno, the album saw a more experimental change in direction. The debut single from the album, 'Pride (In The Name of Love)', written about Martin Luther King was the band's best-selling single at that point in their career, including an entry in the US charts, which had eluded them until that point. The live tour for the album saw the band playing in indoor arenas and their performance at Wembley Stadium's Live Aid concert is still considered one of their most memorable gigs ever.

Acting on criticism that The Unforgettable Fire was somewhat fuzzy and unfocused, the band's next album featured more conventional song structures. In March 1987,The Joshua Tree was released. The album was number one in the US for nine weeks and was their fastest-selling album in the UK. The band were rewarded with two Grammy Awards and the first two singles 'With or Without You' and 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' both went to number one in the US. The accompanying tour became the subject of the documentary Rattle and Hum. The double album of the same name featured live tracks of the tour and nine studio tracks. The film featured tracks recorded with B.B. King and Bob Dylan.

Achtung Baby was U2's seventh studio album. Released in 1991, the album was influenced by dance, industrial and alternative music. Recorded initially in East Berlin, this album was again produced by Brian Eno and his engineer, Daniel Lanois. In 1992/3, the band embarked on the Zoo TV tour. The tour was an ambitious multimedia event, with hundreds of video screens, flying cars and mock transmissions towers.

The Zooropa album was originally intended as an EP and incorporated techno music influences and electronic music. The final track on the album, 'The Wanderer', was sung by Johnny Cash.

Original Soundtracks 1 was an experimental album released in 1995. Brian Eno was this time not just a producer, but contributed to the writing and performing of the songs. It was released under the name Passengers, to distinguish it from U2's conventional releases. One track, 'Miss Sarajevo' featured Luciano Pavarotti was a hit, though the album performed poorly compared to other U2 albums.

Pop, released in 1997 saw U2 continue with their experimentation, involving tape loops, sampling and sequencing. The album debuted at number one in 35 countries and was a critical success. A month after the PopMart tour - which saw U2 being the first rock band to play in Sarajevo following the Bosnian war - the band appeared on an episode of The Simpsons entitled 'Trash of the Titans'.

In October 2000, the band released All That You Can't Leave Behind. The album was number one in 22 countries and spawned the singles 'Beautiful Day', 'Walk On', 'Stuck in a Moment You can't Get Out Of', and 'Elevation', all of which won Grammy awards.

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb hit the stores in 2004 and the single 'Vertigo' was the soundtrack to a widely publicised advert for Apple's iPod. Apple also manufactured a limited edition U2 iPod and an iTunes U2 box set. The tour saw the band playing songs that they had not played since the 1980s. The next year, U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springsteen.

Music News Round-Up: Stormzy Headlines Glastonbury, Hozier Returns, The KLF's Death Pyramid

By Ed Biggs in Music / Festivals on 18 November 2018

Stormzy U2 Hozier Karen O

The latest music news rounded up, including speculation on U2's retirement, and a collaboration album between Karen O and Danger Mouse.


Grime superstar Stormzy has been named as the first headliner for the 2019 edition of Glastonbury Festival. The 25 year old rapper will be taking to the iconic Pyramid Stage on Friday June 28th.

Glastonbury confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon, after fans had spotted official signs from the festival saying ‘Stormzy Friday’ this week.

Continue reading: Music News Round-Up: Stormzy Headlines Glastonbury, Hozier Returns, The KLF's Death Pyramid

U2 Fans Speculate On The Band's Future

By Ed Biggs in Music / Festivals on 14 November 2018


Bono told fans at their Berlin gig this week that U2 would be "going away now".

U2 fans are wondering about the future of their heroes this morning, waking up to speculation that the massive stadium-rockers might be calling it a day after wrapping their latest world tour last night.

The Irish band completed the final date of ‘Experience + Innocence’ world tour on Tuesday night (November 13th) in Berlin. However, near the end of the gig, lead singer Bono addressed the crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, and hinted that, more than four decades after forming in 1976, U2 might be preparing to retire.

“We’ve been on the road for quite some time, just going on 40 years, and this last 4 years have been really something very special for us. We’re going away now…” the singer, real name Paul Hewson, told the thousands of fans.

Continue reading: U2 Fans Speculate On The Band's Future

U2 Forced To Cut Berlin Show Short Over Bono's Vocal Struggles

By Holly Mosley in Music / Festivals on 03 September 2018

U2 Bono

The singer completely lost his voice mid-show over the weekend.

U2 fans in Germany were left hearbroken when the band were forced to cut short their show over the weekend, when frontman Bono found himself suddenly struck down with vocal problems. He's since made a full recovery and announced a rescheduling of the show.

Image caption U2 performing live

According to audience members at Berlin's Mercedes-Benz Arena on Saturday (September 1st 2018), he had been struggling through 'Beautiful Day' when he started to struggle hitting the right notes, despite having been singing perfectly fine beforehand. He actually wondered aloud whether the smoke machines were to blame for his croaky vocals.

Continue reading: U2 Forced To Cut Berlin Show Short Over Bono's Vocal Struggles

Bono Talks About His Near Death Experience In New Short Film 'Liner Notes'

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 12 January 2018

U2 [Bono](http://www.contactmusic.com/Bono)

He doesn't reveal what happened, only that it was a 'shock to the system'.

Bono reveals all about U2's latest album 'Songs of Experience' in an eloquent narrative entitled 'Liner Notes'; a short black and white film that explores the thoughts behind each of the songs that he wrote and the experiences that inspired them, including a brush with death.

Image caption Bono at the 40 Music Awards

The U2 frontman speaks about everything from his mother's death to his summers the South of France, from the war in Syria to the changing climate of America in the Matt Mahurin produced film. Plus, of course, what it means to find true joy. But perhaps the most telling note in his narration was that about his near death experience.

Continue reading: Bono Talks About His Near Death Experience In New Short Film 'Liner Notes'

Bono Says Music 'Has Gotten Very Girly'

By Stephanie Chase in Music / Festivals on 28 December 2017

[Bono](http://www.contactmusic.com/Bono) U2

The U2 frontman used a poor choice of words while lamenting the current music scene.

Bono has described the current music scene as “very girly”, adding that “hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment.”

The U2 frontman made the comments during an interview with Rolling Stone, after revealing that his children help him discover new music.

Image caption Bono at the Los40 Music Awards

Continue reading: Bono Says Music 'Has Gotten Very Girly'

U2's New Album 'changed Massively' When Trump Was Elected

By Clive King in Music / Festivals on 07 December 2017

U2 Donald Trump [Bono](http://www.contactmusic.com/Bono)

U2's producer Andy Barlow has revealed the band's new album 'Songs Of Experience' was re-written after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States in November 2016.

U2 scrapped and re-wrote a lot of their new album 'Songs of Experience' because Donald Trump's election rendered much of it irrelevant.

The group - made up of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. - worked with new producer Andy Barlow on the record, and he admitted the new President of the United States caused a shift in songwriting for the band.

Speaking to Billboard, he explained: ''The album changed massively when Trump got elected. We pretty much had it in the bag and then the band came in the next day and went, 'We've got to change it. It's not relevant anymore.'

Continue reading: U2's New Album 'changed Massively' When Trump Was Elected

Paul McCartney, Gorillaz, Ryan Adams: What To Look Forward To On Record Store Day 2017

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 23 November 2017

Sir Paul McCartney U2 Gorillaz

There's a lot going on for this Black Friday event.

Record Store Day is almost upon us which means all kinds of exclusive and unique releases are coming from the likes of Paul McCartney, U2, Gorillaz and many others. It's an annual celebration of indie recordings, and marks an appreciation of the tangible when it comes to musical enjoyment.

Image caption Paul McCartney at Desert Trip Festival

Paul McCartney has two 'Holidays Rule' 7-inch singles, both with a new version of 'Wonderful Christmastime' recorded with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, one with Norah Jones' live rendition of 'Peace' recorded at the Sheen Center and the other with 'Jesus Christ' by The Decemberists.

Continue reading: Paul McCartney, Gorillaz, Ryan Adams: What To Look Forward To On Record Store Day 2017

Shawn Mendes Takes Home Four Prizes At 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards

By Holly Mosley in Music / Festivals on 13 November 2017

MTV Shawn Mendes Eminem U2

Meanwhile, Eminem has no idea why he landed his Best Hip Hop award.

The 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards took place over the weekend, with some stellar performers and some very well-deserved award recipients. Shawn Mendes was the big winner of the night, taking home four gongs in total and playing his winning single 'There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back' live.

Image caption Shawn Mendes at the 2017 MTV EMAs

As well as landing Best Song for the third single of his number one second album 'Illuminate', the 19-year-old singer-songwriter also landed Best Artist, Biggest Fans and Best Canadian Act at the award ceremony last night (November 12th 2017), held at the SSE Wembley Arena in London. It appears he's the only nominee of the night to take home multiple awards.

Continue reading: Shawn Mendes Takes Home Four Prizes At 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards

U2 Pay Tribute To New York City With 'You're The Best Thing About Me' Video

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 28 September 2017


A love song for one of their favourite US cities.

At a time of political turmoil, U2 are focusing on the positives aspects of America with a love song to New York City. Their new video for their new album's first single 'You're The Best Thing About Me' explores the great city in all its glory.

Image caption U2 performing live in the UK

Directed by Jonas Åkerlund, the video is an ode to the Statue of Liberty as well as New York City itself, featuring a montage of footage of the busy streets and must-visit venues including Ray's Pizza, and their own sightseeing tour in Times Square on a double-decker bus. It flicks between colour and black and white and also sees U2 performing on the roof of a high-rise building against the stunning city skyline backdrop at night.

Continue reading: U2 Pay Tribute To New York City With 'You're The Best Thing About Me' Video

'You're The Best Thing About Me': U2 Drop The Lead Single For 'Songs Of Experience'

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 06 September 2017


They're finally releasing music from their forthcoming album.

Currently on their Joshua Tree 30th anniversary world tour, U2 have just launched a soaring brand new single entitled 'You're The Best Thing About Me' along with a lyric video, as they prepare to unveil to the world their eagerly awaited fourteenth studio album 'Songs of Experience'.

Image caption U2 launch the first single from their forthcoming album 'Songs of Experience'

'You're The Best Thing About Me' comes following their recently dropped performance video of another new song, 'The Blackout', both of which will feature on the 'Songs of Experience' collection. The artwork for the single was designed by Anton Corbijn and features The Edge's daughter Sian Evans, while the lyric video is presented in the form of a flick book.

Continue reading: 'You're The Best Thing About Me': U2 Drop The Lead Single For 'Songs Of Experience'

The Edge and Adam Clayton of U2 seen arriving at the 2016 StubHub Q Awards, London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 2nd November 2016

U2 , Bono - U2 headlines at the SSE Hydro within the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow at SSE Hydro SECC - Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom - Friday 6th November 2015

[Bono](http://www.contactmusic.com/<a href=)/pictures/4464165" >

Bono and U2 - Celebrities arrive at the Sarm studios to record the Band Aid 30 single 'Do they Know It's Christmas'. The new Band Aid 30 song and music video will debut on The X Factor results show Sunday night (16Nov). at The X Factor - London, United Kingdom - Saturday 15th November 2014

Adam Clayton and U2 - Snaps from the red carpet as an array of stars attended the 2014 Bambi Awards which recognise excellence in international media and television in Berlin, Germany - Thursday 13th November 2014

U2 and Bono Wednesday 14th September 2011 U2 singer Bono leaving Balans in Soho in the early hours of the morning.