"What I like about
pop music is its pure joy, and in the end it's harder to make ecstatic,
electrifying music. It's the hardest thing in the world. We
surrender too easily to the blues. We, if we're not careful, are
bleeding allover the world. What's striking about our Eighties music
is, it's ecstatic a lot of the time - as gauche as we sometimes came across
Rolling Stone Magazine,
January 18th, 2001
It is said that the
journey of a life time begins with the first step, and so this tale begins,
in Dublin in the mid 70s, when a young drummer placed an ad on a bulletin
board at Mount Temple Comprehensive School seeking fellow musicians interested
in forming a band. A young
and ambitious Larry Mullen Jr. was soon to meet with destiny when he was
by bassist Adam Clayton, a guitar player named Dave Evans (The Edge) and
a scrappy upstart named Paul Hewson, now known to the world as "Bono."
What they were to form in those early days has been a partnership, a corporation
that has lasted over 20 years and has been devoid of the classic public
arguments, egos and unrest that fans have seen in other long term bands.
The reason is simple. U2 is a band based on respect for each other
and for music. Drawing on the energy of punk, progressive politics,
charismatic Christianity and their belief that with rock music you can
change the world they permanently stamped their names in the rock and roll
Mullen's call to arms, the group united and began their artistic collaboration
by playing the clubs around Dublin. By 1978, the foursome was making
enough waves locally to attract manager Paul McGuinness, who went into
debt to support the band until they were actually able to sign their Island
Record contract in 1980. Their debut album, "Boy" in 1981 was a wake
up call to the world and produced their first anthem, "I Will Follow."
Instead of following the popular flow of
music, U2 took it upon themselves to create that flow and continually reinvent
themselves throughout their career. A look at their catalog sees
them coming full circle with styles that began with Their big arena sound
anthems (even before they were playing big arenas) and later infusing electronica
and dance influence, hip hop and even techno rap. With their latest
release, "All That You Can't Leave Behind," we see the circle meeting where
it started - with strong melodies, meaningful lyrics and rhythms that seem
to give each song a life of its own - a heart beat. Coming back down
from the pop pinnacle to the bare essentials has opened the door for this
new century of musical meanderings.
is a look at the U2 time line. Where do you come in?
Fall of 1976:
band's four original members, along with Edge's brother Dik, form a band
first called "Feedback," then "The Hype."
CBS Records finances The Hype's first studio demos; Dik leaves the
group, which changes its name to "U2."
Billed as "The U2's," the band plays to nine people in Islington, U.K.
Records signs U2 to its first international recording contract.
Stone proclaims U2 "The Next Big Thing."
full length debut, "Boy," including the single "I Will Follow,"
is released in the United States.
the the single "Gloria," U2's second album, "October," enters the U.S.
"War" album, featuring "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," enters U.K. charts
1983: The band records a gig at Colorado's Red Rocks
Amphitheater; a recording of the show is later released as the live mini-album
"Under A Blood Red Sky."
May 1984: U2
teams with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois to record "The Unforgettable
Fire," which includes the radio hit "Pride (In The Name of Love)" and
becomes U2's first platinum album in America.
band performs at Live Aid to raise money for famine victims in Ethiopia;
Bono dances with a girl in the crowd, a breech of the rules that not only
inspires an award winning sculpture, but wins the band top honors for Best
Live Aid Performance in
Rolling Stone's reader poll.
Lanois and Eno produced "Joshua Tree" hits #1 in the United States;
the album achieves diamond status (sales of 10 million) in 1999.
wins Grammys for "Best Rock Performance By a Duo Or Group," and
"The Joshua Tree" is named
"Album Of The Year."