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.
As a result of the crash, the 54-year-old singer broke several bones including a facial fracture in his left eye socket, three different fractures in his left shoulder blade and a fracture in the left upper arm, which shattered in six different places.
Bono has finally broken his silence after sustaining several severe injuries whilst cycling in New York's Central Park, which required five hours of surgery and caused the band cancel their weeklong residency on Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show.'
Bono suffered several severe injuries when crashing his Bike in Central Park in November
"Recovery has been more difficult than I thought," he wrote in a New Year's note on U2's website. "As I write this, it is not clear that I will ever play guitar again."
Continue reading: Bono May Never Be Able To Play Guitar Again After Bike Crash
Bono admits it isn't clear if he will ever play guitar again.
Bono has revealed that his bike accident from last year may have lasting effects on his guitar playing ability, as he admits his disappointment in his frequently flippant New Year update on U2's website.
Bono reveals guitar playing worries
In what he insisted was a 'freak accident', Bono was left badly injured following a bicycle ride in November 2014 where he fractured his shoulder, elbow and hand among various other parts of his arm. In a post subtitled 'I for Irish Pride' on the band's website, he revealed the extent of his injuries, which included having a titanium elbow fitted.
Continue reading: Bono Frets Over Future Guitar Playing Ability
The band have been accused of “cashing in” on the Troubles with their latest video.
Belfast residents have complained about the disruption caused by filming for U2's latest video in the city’s New Lodge area. Some have also voiced concerns that the band are “cashing in on the Troubles” with their latest shoot, which has included scenes of burning vehicles and actors playing wounded victims.
U2's latest video shoot has angered some Belfast residents
The band themselves were not on set as the scenes were filmed for the video which is believed to be for ‘Every Breaking Wave’ from their latest album, Songs of Innocence. The Belfast Telegraph reports that “smoke was seen billowing from the New Lodge area” as scenes were filmed in a street of disused terrace houses.
Continue reading: U2 Belfast Video Shoot Draws Complaints From Local Residents
The tour will stop at 19 cities across Europe and North America next year, but an Irish date is yet to be announced.
U2 will be hitting the road again next year with the band playing indoor arenas for the first time in over a decade, as part of a European and North American tour, which will visit 19 cities. Entitled the ‘iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour’, it will begin in Vancouver on May 14th and will run until November 11th in Paris.
Coming to a city near you next year, U2
The dates include four night runs at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the CA Forum in Los Angles and London’s O2 arena, while the rest of the cities will see a pair of concerts.
Continue reading: U2 Announce 'Innocence + Experience' Tour For 2015
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