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Formed 1978, Dublin, Ireland 

Bono Vox (b. Paul Hewson, May 10, 1960, Dublin), voc., gtr.;
The Edge (b. David Evans, Aug. 8, 1961, Barking, Eng.), gtr.,
kybds., voc.;
Adam Clayton (b. Mar. 13, 1960, Oxford, Eng.), bass;
Larry Mullen Jr. (b. Oct. 31, 1961, Dublin), drums. 

Over the course of the Eighties U2 became the most widely followed rock band in the world. The Irish rockers were influenced by punk’s raw energy, but they immediately distinguished themselves from their postpunk peers with a huge, soaring sound -- centered on Dave "the Edge" Evans’ reverb-laden guitar playing and Paul "Bono" Hewson’s sensuous vocals -- and songs
that tackled social and spiritual matters with an earnest, tender urgency. U2 shunned the sort of ironic expression and electronic gimmickry that were considered hip in the Eighties -- until the
Nineties, that is, when the band began drawing on such elements to reinvigorate and broaden its sound. U2 has maintained not only its massive popularity, but also its status as one of the most adventurous and groundbreaking acts in pop music.

The band members began rehearsing together while students at Dublin’s Mount Temple High School. None was technically proficient at the beginning, but their lack of expertise mothered
invention. The Edge’s distinctive chordal style, for instance,stemmed largely from the guitarist’s inability to play complicated leads, while bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr.
provided a rhythm section that was mostly pummeling ardor. The novice musicians quickly developed a following in Ireland and found a manager, Paul McGuinness, who has remained with
them. They recorded independently before signing to Island Records in 1980.


U2’s 1980 debut album, Boy was produced by Steve Lillywhite. On it, the group earnestly explored adolescent hopes and terrors, rejecting hard rock’s earthy egotism and punk’s nihilism. Bono,
U2’s lyricist, was a practicing Christian, as were the Edge and Mullen; and on a second LP, called October (a 1981 Lillywhite production), the singer incorporated imagery evoking their faith.
Boy and October generated the singles "I Will Follow" and "Gloria," which got some airplay in the U.S.; both videos were heavily featured on MTV. An American club tour generated
further interest, thanks to U2’s extremely compelling live performances.

War cemented U2’s reputation as a politically conscious band; among its themes were "the troubles" in Northern Ireland, addressed on the single "Sunday Bloody Sunday." Another single, "New Year’s Day," went to #11 in England and #53 in the U.S., while War topped the British chart and hit #12 stateside. The group commemorated its 1983 tour with the live EP Under a
Blood Red Sky, recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.



U2’s next studio album, The Unforgettable Fire, was the first of several fruitful collaborations with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. The album generated the group’s first American
Top Forty single, an ode to American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., called "(Pride) In the Name of Love" (#33, 1984). The album hit #12 in the U.S., and the Irishmen supported it by headlining arenas around the world. In 1985 U2 was proclaimed "band of the Eighties" by ROLLING STONE and made a historic appearance at Live Aid. The following year, the group joined Sting, Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, and others for the Conspiracy of Hope Tour benefiting Amnesty International.

U2 entered the pop stratosphere with The Joshua Tree, a critical and commercial smash that topped the albums chart that year and spawned the #1 hits "With or Without You" and "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," as well as "Where the Streets Have No Name" (#13, 1987). The LP, which was produced by Eno and Lanois, won the group two Grammys, for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance. In 1988 U2 wrapped up a triumphant worldwide tour by releasing Rattle and Hum, a double album that combined live tracks with new material and featured guest appearances by Bob Dylan and B. B. King. Rattle and Hum seemed bombastic to some critics; an accompanying film documentary also garnered mixed reviews. The LP nonetheless shot to #1 and produced a #3 single, "Desire" (1988).

In 1990 U2 covered Cole Porter’s "Night and Day" for Red Hot + Blue, a compilation album benefiting AIDS research. The band’s next LP, Achtung Baby, reached #1 and drew rave reviews. The LP marked a stylistic departure, featuring more metallic textures, funkier beats, and intimate, world-weary love songs. Hit singles included "Mysterious Ways" (#9, 1992), "One" (#10, 1992), "Even Better Than the Real Thing" (#32, 1992), and "Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" (#35, 1992). Another track, "Until the End of the World," was featured in Wim Wenders’ 1991 film of the
same name. Lanois, who produced Baby with support from Eno and Lillywhite, won a Grammy for his work.



In 1992 U2 embarked on its Zoo TV Tour, a flashy multimedia extravaganza that contrasted with the rugged simplicity of its previous shows. Bono adopted a series of wry guises -- the
leather-and-shades-sporting Fly, the demonic MacPhisto -- that he’d use for encores and, in the Fly’s case, press appearances. In 1993, as the tour wound down, the band re-entered the studio
and made Zooropa, a quirky, techno-drunk affair coproduced by Eno, the Edge, and engineer Flood. The album reached #1, but yielded only the minor hit "Stay (Faraway, So Close)" (#61,
1993), which was also on the soundtrack to Wenders’ 1993 movie Faraway So Close. Johnny Cash sang lead on the track "The Wanderer." In 1993 U2 renewed its contract with Island for an estimated $170 million. U2’s contribution to 1995’s Batman Forever soundtrack, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me," was a Top Twenty hit. As of mid-1995, the band was reportedly recording two albums simultaneously -- a collaboration with Brian Eno of mostly instrumental music and one that the band described as a "rock & roll album."



1980 -- Boy (Island) 
1981 -- October 
1983 -- War; Under a Blood Red Sky EP 
1984 -- The Unforgettable Fire 
1985 -- Wide Awake in America EP 
1987 -- The Joshua Tree 
1988 -- Rattle and Hum 
1991 -- Achtung Baby 
1993 -- Zooropa



 

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