The Irish rock band U2 has been one of the most popular rock bands since the 1980s. Paul David Hewson, also known as Bono, David Howell Evans – the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr have sold over 120 million albums worldwide, and are considered as one of the most successful groups of the last 25 years.
It all began in Dublin, in October 1976, when Larry Mullen, at the time 14 years old, posted a note searching musicians for a new band. Soon he had a band with 6 members; Paul Hewson (Bono) on vocals, David and Dik Evans and Ivan McCormick on guitar, Adam Clayton on bass guitar and himself playing the drums. They called themselves the Feedback.
Later, they changed their name to the Hype and after 18 months of rehearsals they went to a talent show in Limerick in March 1978. Right before the contest, Dik Evans and Ivan McCormick left the band. However, the Hype performed very well and won the contest and the £500 prize. Luckily, CBS Records Jackie Hayden, was one of the judges on the show, and he was impressed enough to give them studio time to record their first demo. After the contest they also changed their name again, to U2, and got the businessman Paul McGuiness to manage them.
In September 1978, U2 released their first single, “U2-3”, and it got # 1 in Irish charts, most because of U2’s own unique stile. In 1980 they were signed by Island Records, and in October the same year, they released their first album, “Boy”. They got a lot of attention, both because of their music and their attitude. U2 stood forward as a Christian band with clear meanings and a meaningful message.
Autumn 1981, their second album, “October”, came, and it got even more attention then the first and became # 11 on the English charts.
In 1984, the album “The Unforgettable Fire” was released with the single “In the Name of Love”. It was a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr, and for the first time, U2 entered the American top 40.
They then decided to do something for charity. In July, 1984, U2 took part in the Live Aid concert for Ethiopian famine relief, witch was seen by more than a billion people. They weren’t expected to be one of the main attractions, but U2 and Bono stole the show with a 13-minute version of “Bad”. Therefore, U2 became the main attraction on the Conspiracy of Hope tour for Amnesty the year after. They performed on sold out concerts all over the US, and helped Amnesty triple its membership.
The legendary album, “The Joshua Tree”, witch came out in 1987, and U2 became world known superstars. “The Joshua Tree” debuted at # 1 in the UK, and soon became # 1 in the US. Within 28 hours it had sold to platinum, and the singles “With or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” also became # 1 in the US. U2 now had become the biggest band in the world. The Joshua Tree Tour sold out stadiums everywhere, and U2 got fans all over the world.
They began filming and recording various shows from the tour for the documentary and album “Rattle and Hum”, witch was released in 1988 and on video in 1989. The album was a tribute to American music, especially since they recorded it at Sun Studios in Memphis, where Elvis Presley began his career, and performed with Bob Dylan and B.B King. After that, they took some time of from the band and each other.
In 1992, they began their first American tour for more than four years, The Zoo TV tour. U2 used dozens of huge video screens, stage cameras, a hand held Bono camera and even satellite TV links. After the tour, U2 used less then tree days to record their next album, “Zooropa”, their 7th studio album. It was released in 1993, and the critics were mixed, however, the fans where satisfied. They than took another brake, to work on the projects with the movies Batman Forever and Mission Impossible.
In 1996, U2 began working on a new album; witch resulted in the album “Pop”. The album, witch was released in March 1997, was inspired by techno and dance, but U2 seemed lees inspired and they got some bad critics. However, “Pop” debuted as # 1 in 28 countries. A month later, U2 hit the road once again, with the Popmart Tour. It was the their most colourful show ever, and the set included a 100-foot long golden yellow arch, the worlds largest video screen and a 35 foot tall mirror ball lemon. They earned over $80 million on the tour, but it cost more than $100 million to produce. When the tour ended in March, 1998, U2 had performed for over two million people.
Bono and the rest of U2 then continued their campaigns for debt and HIV/AIDS relief, witch included a meeting with President George W. Bush and an 11-days tour in Africa in 2002.
In 2004, a new album was ready, and “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” and the single “Vertigo” was released. The album debuted at # 1 in amazing 32 countries, and sold over 840 000 units in the US the first week. It was a great success.
It’s reported that U2 has plans for a new album in 2006, and after more than 20 years in the highlights, they still manage to perform. The four band members are still close friends, and U2 is one of the few bands qualified to call them self one of the Worlds Biggest Band ever.
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