U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar) and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion).
The band formed in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. By the mid-1980s, however, the band had become a top international act, noted for their anthemic sound, Bono’s impassioned vocals, and The Edge’s textural guitar playing. Their success as a live act was greater than their success at selling records until their 1987 album The Joshua Tree increased the band’s stature „from heroes to superstars,” according to Rolling Stone. U2 responded to the dance and alternative rock revolutions, and their own sense of musical stagnation by reinventing themselves with their 1991 album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour. Similar experimentation continued for the rest of the 1990s. Since 2000, U2 have pursued a more traditional sound that retains the influence of their previous musical explorations.
U2 have sold more than 140 million albums worldwide and have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band. In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone magazine listed U2 at #22 in its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and social justice causes, including Amnesty International, the ONE Campaign, and Bono’s DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) campaign.
The band formed in Dublin on 25 September 1976. Larry Mullen, Jr., then 14, posted a notice on his secondary school notice board (Mount Temple Comprehensive School) seeking musicians for a new band. Seven teenage boys attended the initial practice in Mullen’s kitchen. It was, as Mullen put it, „‘The Larry Mullen Band’ for about ten minutes, then Bono walked in and blew any chance I had of being in charge.” The group featured Mullen on drums, Paul Hewson (Bono) on lead vocals, Dave Evans (The Edge) and his brother Dik Evans on guitar, Adam Clayton, a friend of the Evans brothers on bass guitar, and initially Ivan McCormick and Peter Martin, two other friends of Mullen. Soon after, the group settled on the name „Feedback”, because it was one of the few technical terms they knew. Martin did not return after the first practice, and McCormick left the group within a few weeks. Most of the group’s material initially consisted of cover versions, which the band said was not their forte. The original material the band did write demonstrated a sound influenced by their post-punk peers.
In March 1977, the band changed their name to „The Hype”. Dik Evans, who was older and by this time at college, was becoming the odd man out. The rest of the band was leaning towards the idea of a four-piece ensemble and he was „phased out” in March 1978. During a farewell concert in the Presbyterian Church Hall in Howth, which featured The Hype playing covers, Dik ceremoniously walked offstage. The remaining four band members completed the concert playing original material as „U2”. Steve Averill, a punk rock musician and family friend of Clayton’s, had suggested six potential names from which the band chose „U2” for its ambiguity and open-ended interpretations, and because it was the name that they disliked the least.
On Saint Patrick’s Day in 1978, U2 won a talent show in Limerick, Ireland. The prize consisted of £500 and funding to record a demo, which was an important milestone and affirmation for the fledgling band. The band recorded their first demo tape at Keystone Studios, in Harcourt Street, Dublin, in April 1978. In May, Paul McGuinness, who had earlier been introduced to the band by Hot Press journalist Bill Graham, agreed to be U2’s manager. U2’s first release, an Ireland-only EP entitled Three, was released in September 1979 and was the band’s first Irish chart success. In December 1979, U2 performed in London for their first shows outside Ireland, although they failed to get much attention from audiences or critics. In February 1980, their second single „Another Day” was released on the CBS label, but again only for the Irish market.
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Where The Streets Have No Name
The Saints Are Coming
With or Without you
Sometimes you can’t make it on your own live
„October” and „Tomorrow”