U2

Biography

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).

U2: 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.

U2: 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.

Read More

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16th September 2014 -

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Apple has launched a tool to help iTunes users remove U2's new album Songs of Innocence, which was made available as a free download following a product launch event in California on Tuesday (September 9).U2...

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10th September 2014 -

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It was announced today that Irish superband U2’s latest studio album, Songs of Innocence, will be released through Island Records on October 13. However, for U2.com subscribers that simply cannot wait that long, and for...

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10th September 2014 -

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U2 Postpone New Album and Tour Until 2015

10th March 2014 -

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U2 fans have received some bad news news!The Irish rock band have had to cancel plans of releasing a new album and embarking on a new tour due to not being able to find enough...

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25th February 2014 -

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Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a controversial hit out of the Oscars last year, but they might be on thin ice this time. Getting Seth McFarlane to host anything is a risky...

U2 Defy "Irrelevance" With 'Invisible' Exposure At Super Bowl

4th February 2014 -

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U2 gained maximum visibility at last Sunday's Super Bowl where the rockers debuted new single 'Invisible' to raise money for the charitable Red campaign in association with Bank of America. The track, which appeared on...

U2 Use Superbowl Halftime Commercial Slot To Unveil New Charity Single 'Invisible.'

3rd February 2014 -

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U2 have unveiled their new single ‘Invisible’ with a halftime commercial at last night’s Superbowl. The single sees the band team up with the Bank of America and the (RED) Foundation to raise money for...

U2 To Launch New Free Track 'Invisible' During Super Bowl Next Weekend

24th January 2014 -

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U2 are gearing up to debut new song 'Invisible' at next weekend's Super Bowl, which will lead into the Irish rock band's 13th studio album. The track will appear on a commercial played during the...

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6th December 2013 -

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The BBC have been forced to scale back plans for a 'Gary Barlow Day' set to take place on BBC Radio 2, scheduled for Wednesday 11th December. Though the singer is a judge on The...

U2 - Ordinary Love Lyric Video

25th November 2013 -

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Seamus Heaney Laid To Rest In Bellaghy As Mourners Pay Respects [Pictures]

2nd September 2013 -

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The Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney has been laid to rest in his native Bellaghy, Co. Londonderry, at a large funeral where his life and successful career as a poet were celebrated. The 74 year-old died...

Nashville Mourns a Lost Cowboy, Jack Clement Dies Aged 82

9th August 2013 -

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Nashville legend “Cowboy” Jack Clement has sadly passed away aged 82. The producer, songwriter and artist worked with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones amongst others and was recently inducted...

Jack Clements, Country Music Icon, Dies Of Cancer Aged 82

9th August 2013 -

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Jack Clement, a Nashville country music legend, died yesterday (8th August) at the age of 82. He had been suffering from cancer of the liver and died at his home in Nashville, according to reports...

Beloved Stage Designer For The Rolling Stones, Mark Fisher, Dies At 66

27th June 2013 -

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Mark Fisher OBE – the talented stage designer for bands like The Rolling Stones, U2 and Pink Floyd, passed away yesterday (Wednesday, June 26). He was 66. Fisher, who also worked with celebrities like Robbie...

Surprise, Surprise: Sir Paul McCartney Tops Rich List With £680 Million Fortune

12th April 2013 -

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Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has topped the Sunday Times list of the richest musicians with a £680 million fortune. The singer-songwriter has topped the list since 1989, when he was worth an estimated £80...

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11th April 2013 -

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Another Band Returns! U2 New Album Sessions Started Months Ago

16th January 2013 -

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It's Official: Dr Dre Is The Richest Man In Music

29th November 2012 -

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8th November 2011 -

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I've had a largely difficult relationship with U2's creative pinnacle, Achtung Baby. Back in 1991 we were allowed to bring in music to listen to on the last day of term. Inevitably the album of...

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19th July 2011 -

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21st August 2009 -

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10th March 2009 -

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Comments

njmralo's picture

njmralo

thank you for your concert, rock n roll never forgets. thank you for sharing your genious with the world.starr celestialproductionsinc

5 years 6 months ago
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THEGREATROBYNIE's picture

THEGREATROBYNIE

Please don't link anything that has to do with Maddonna with U2 the greatest band in the world. She has nothing on them. It's like comparing apples and oranges. U2 good, Maddonna bad.Yeah?Robyn

8 years 6 months ago
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terminator's picture

terminator

U2, by far the Greatest rock band ever. I also agree with the person who posted the long post about U2, it is almost a religious experience when you see them in concert. U2 forever, Ireland forever.

8 years 5 months ago
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annleaha's picture

annleaha

Starsailor – On The Outside – Hits Stores August 22nd!!Any Starsailor fans here? This is one of my favorite bands and they are finally coming out with a new album on August 22nd – I am so excited! I have their first album Love is Here and I cannot wait for this one!! I heard this album is already out in the UK – has anyone heard it yet? I would love to hear what you think! It’s called On The Outside.They also just released a digital EP called In The Crossfire (6/27) with three of the album tracks: “In the Crossfire”, “Counterfeit Life”, and “Jeremiah”. I cannot wait to get it!I just heard they have planned a U.S. tour for September – has anyone gotten tickets yet? If you are interested in checking Starsailor out you can visit http://www.starsailor.net/

8 years 2 months ago
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THEGREATROBYNIE's picture

THEGREATROBYNIE

I really don't know where that comment of Maddona came from. It must of came from another story I read, but the 1st comment on here was absolutly brillant. That is what makes U2 The Best Band In The World. Thier music will be relevant for all time, as in one day a song might help me to deal with something I'm going through, and another day that same song might help me in a different way.Their songs go across the board, to inspirational, emotional, lyrical, rebelious, thankful, looking inside ones ownself, spiritual,etc.,etc., and 26 years later these same songs still can touch the soul. I'm glad I'm a U2 fan, and will always be.God Bless, Robyn

6 years 1 month ago
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Hanover's picture

Hanover

Why U2?By KellyI wrote what is posted below in response to someone who posted the comment (also posted below in orange) about U2 on another board that I once frequented. I thought you all might be interested in reading my response. Hopefully, I've represented both, we, the fans and they, the band, in the right way. Would love to hear any responses or corrections anyone might have. Brace yourselves... it's a long piece. I'll apologize in advance for that. LOLI can't see what anyone sees in them. Certainly nothing played at the Grammys. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well, truthfully, you can’t ask that based on seeing just one award program. In order to understand why this band has been what they have been to their fans and the music world for the past 26 years you have to look at all the events of the past 26 years. The begining started out with fire and passion and an integrity and respect for the audience and for music itself. It also started with a genuine love and respect for humanity that was obvious in the way they treated each other as people as well as their fans. The beginning was fire. Everyone in every article, quote and book ever written by those who had seen U2 at their very early beginnings, before they were famous even before the record deals which led to music that broke down the doors of mediocrity and blew apart the standards of the tight ‘safe’ radio format of music of the 80s… ALL of those who have seen them then, said they knew then, they were witnessing history in the making. That this band of humble guys from Ireland was going to take over the world. That spark and the spirit they had and still have was evident even way back when they weren’t even old enough to be called “men”. The love with which they touched the audience (we now call ourselves “fans") was incredible. This charming, charismatic front man who wore all of his emotions in his performances and genuinely touched people from the start was and still is amazing. He still makes himself “available” to the audience in this way… on so many levels. But let’s talk about the beginings… his falling backward into the audience, them pushing him back to standing all the while still singing… his climbing the scaffolding so that he could get closer to the audience who were behind a barrier that distanced the fans 15 yards from the stage. His design to get closer to the fans during the live show and the fact that he truly believes how important that was then and still is now. He then led the audience (while standing on the scaffolding, which he climbed in the rain) into singing “Singing in the Rain” and they responded in full force. And they were only but the opening band. Move to Live Aid 1985… while performing the song “Bad”, Bono jumps over the wall that separates the stage from the fans and runs into the crowd to dance with a fan. Fast-forward 20 years… Vertigo tour… same at a show in Madison Square Garden, breaks free from the crowd and gets Bono’s attention, he remembers her and pulls her onstage and hugs her. Incredible. Do you know how that must have made this girl feel? Now let’s talk about how he didn’t have to do that… how he didn’t have to remember some girl from 20 years ago. But he did. To this day… he steps into the crowd and at times is held up by them while he sings. He still brings fans onstage to dance with him. Or… to just play his guitar. This band is known for bringing a fan onstage to play guitar during the song “Party Girl”. Two stories on this tour alone, include a fan being brought onstage to play guitar and sing "Angel of Harlem" and an all girl unknown local band being brought onstage to perform “Out of Control.” Here’s also a man who brings children onstage… sings TO them. During the Chicago Vertigo Tour DVD… he takes time to reach out to a young boy… first entertaining him with hand tricks before bringing him onstage and sings a song about “…being in the heart of a Child…” stands and takes the boy by the hand and walks him around the entire ellipse walkway (which by design takes him into the very heart of the audience) before stopping for this piece of conversation. Bono: What’s your name? Boy: Garrett Bono: Hi Garrett, my name is Paul… but I like to call myself, Bono. Small things, small moments, that mean so much. But, let’s talk about the music. I said it started with fire and passion, and it did. Listen to the vocals and the music, you can hear the passion and the fire as well as feel it. It’s a belief in their words and their music and integrity of their message that delivers the passion. No contrived efforts here, nothing but the real deal. Nothing they’ve done in their career has been a contrived effort. They loved what they were doing, believed in their music. Even when they took some artistic turns that left some fans wondering why or were left not liking the newer music, it wasn’t for lack of belief or passion in what they produced. Some fans did have a true dislike for some of the creative turns but that’s honest, too. You may not have liked the current sound, but you couldn’t ever say they slapped together an album of songs for just the act of doing so. You knew they believed in and put all their hearts and efforts into it… it just sounded a little different than the U2 you knew or had known. But we always flocked to the live experience because you knew you would feel a part of it all, because you knew that the experience of a live U2 show was nothing short of a climatic, almost religious experience and a genuine love and respect being passed back and forth between fan and band. The last show of the US tour leg of this current tour was met with fans holding signs and singing “Thank you” instead of the usual chorus of “Woo-hoos” that happen during the song “Elevation”. The band notices, stops and Bono says, “No, thank YOU” to the audience. Love supreme, baby. Now, their message. Anyone who has been paying attention to the music knows Bono sings about his faith, his belief of the world, the good and the bad and the injustices that he sees as well as all the love he has for everything from God, to his band, his inspirations, and all the way to his wife and his children and most recently, his father with the song "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own." This song is an emotional and moving recording that deserved the award for Song of the Year. You may or may not agree with U2's point of views but you know they’re honest and genuine. That speaks volumes and transcends to the fans. Integrity is the word I keep returning to. It’s a powerful quality. Their love of humanity and faith and their love for each other as people, it’s all there. A story I recently read had to do with Bono receiving a death threat that had the FBI brought in on. It was during the point when this particular state was divided about the acknowledgement of honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a holiday. Enter U2 performing in this particular state at this time. The death threat was at Bono, saying that he had better not perform the song “Pride” (if it’s not known, this song is an honoring of MLK) and if Bono did, the threat was that this person would “blow his head off” and he “wouldn’t know where it was coming from”. So, U2 goes on, Bono sings “Pride.” His account of that time was that when singing it he found himself looking out and thinking that this person could be anywhere and then stopped thinking about it and when he got to the third verse, which sings of MLK’s -assassin-ation and ends with “free at last, they took your life, they could not take your Pride, In the Name of Love, he explains how he just closed his eyes and sang the words. When it was over he opened his eyes to see Adam Clayton (the bass player) standing directly in front of him. Reading that moved me completely and I hope the message in that isn’t lost on you all reading this right now. This brings me around to tell of when Bono and his wife Ali, moved to Africa and lived there for a spell while working in an Orphanage. (this was after Live Aid in 1985) Because they wanted to see with their own eyes how bad things truly were for these people, they moved there and they lived there, working in a local orphanage. This being the catalyst for Bono’s activism, to this very day, in trying to make people, politicians and governments stand up and be accountable for the message that “Where you live should not decide whether you live or die.” He's taken on being the voice and representative to appeal to these politicians for what needs to be done for Africa. Bono isn’t a puppet for charity, he does the legwork, he humbles himself before all the politicians in his requests to have these wrongs, righted and he takes a hands- on approach with this love in his many trips back to Africa. There are no empty words, actions or promises from this man or this band. Incidentally, the experience of living in Africa the first time spawned a little album you all might remember called “The Joshua Tree”. An album that sold over a million within its first week of release. The very catalyst that shoved them into Rock History and undeniable Rock star status, with a force few bands have the pleasure of knowing. Small note about the Joshua Tree… if anyone remembers the video for “Where the Streets Have No Name” will remember that this video was of them putting on an impromptu live performance on a roof top in a down town city in America. It stopped traffic and brought people out to stand and watch on the street or windows from the area buildings. It caused a bit of a stir to the tune of the Police responding, demanding the concert and filming stop. The video shows them being questioned about having a permit to perform and film and they were told they couldn't go on with it all but that didn't stop Bono from grabbing the microphone and he and the band going on with it anyway. The end result is an officer escorting Bono off the roof top with the suggestion of arrests being made. Seeing the people dancing in the streets and one of the final shots of a very young, little girl smiling and dancing says it was all worth it. Just taking the music where it was meant to be; to the people. They brought this flavor of live concert into the next tour as well for “Rattle and Hum” a tour that included a performance of “All Along the Watch Tower”, where Bono jumps off the stage and with a can of spray paint writes on a concrete over pass wall… “Rock n Roll stops the Traffic”. This tour also included a performance of “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For “ with a Gospel Choir from Harlem, New York, a performance with U2 and BB King of a song U2 wrote for BB King. All great stuff. U2 has also worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Luciano Pavorotti, to name a few; All of whom they have written songs for and performed with. The fact that all who have worked with U2 throughout the years, from artists of all walks and music genres, to actors, directors, talk show hosts, authors, artists, Presidents and Pope’s alike, who have met this band all talk of a respect and a genuine like for them as people, as well as having respect for them as artists. You’d be hard pressed to find a person with a negative thing to say. Bringing this to the latest release “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb", and the video for “All Because of You" that was filmed with the same flavor as “Streets”. This one is U2 performing live on the back of a truck while being driven through the streets of New York City to the delight and surprise of those who were very lucky enough to witness this spectacular site on that particular day. The reactions of all and the performance by the band and interaction between them and the very surprised audience all caught on film. Rock n Roll does indeed stop the traffic… U2 style. Hopefully by this point, while you still might not like the music, you understand why this band deserves to be where they are or at least why they have been so loved for going on 26 years. A band that NEVER is tired of touching the fans, whether physically or through their genuine respect for them, who also considers themselves fans of humanity and delivers every effort with the same intensity, passion and love now, as they had from the begining, 26 years ago. Sorry for the long post… but you asked. _________________Kindness costs nothing to give but is priceless when offered~ Me

8 years 7 months ago
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bfoster68's picture

bfoster68

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLFjFt2djIENew years day interpetation on youtube. I just watched it. pretty damn good if you ask me.

6 years 1 month ago
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artistleah's picture

artistleah

Oh, U2, wow, what can I say? You know what song got me first hooked? "Numb" Seriously. I was in high school. I've loved you since. Espcially after I found out you started out a totally Christian based band! Love it! A youth group song we sang from your's was "40". Awesome right? I herd it at a Jars of Clay concert too. You guys rock!

8 years 3 months ago
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