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The History of U2

The History of U2 - Part 1
In 1976, Larry Mullen Junior posted an advertisement on the notice board at Mount Temple High School for people who were interested in forming a rock band. Out of the group came Bono (Paul Hewson), Adam Clayton and the Evans brothers David (christened by Bono as "The Edge") and Dik. Although the group could not play very well, they nonetheless declared themselves a band. And so Feedback was born. However, the name was not kept very long and they were soon known as "The Hype"

The History of U2 - Part 2
U2 entered the 1980's in low spirits contributed by their poor showing in the UK charts and acts and the termination of the contract with CBS Sony. Not all was bad news however, as U2 still won major categories in the Hot Press reader?s poll. Despite their initial setbacks in their performances and recordings, U2 managed to sign up an international four label recording deal with Island Records with the help of Rob Partridge, an influential fan working in the company. This saw the release of Island record's first U2 single "11 O?clock Tick Tock", U2's reaction towards the lack of depth contributed by the London club scene when people dress up to gain acceptance from others. This scored U2 another Irish hit.

The History of U2 - Part 3
After a hectic and successful tour, U2 settled down to record music for their second album "October". One of their songs "Fire" was already completed during a rest period they had while performing in America. The song was recorded in a studio in the Bahamas used by artists signed up by Island records.

The History of U2 - Part 4
In March 1982, U2 released their new single "A Celebration". Their single successfully entered the UK charts, reaching the top 50. "A Celebration" follows on from "October" of the human spirit, but in a more defiant form - "by the powers that be". The B-side, "Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl" - a song written by Bono about Adam - seemed totally removed from this, but instead showed U2's spontaneity in writing songs - the song was recorded in two hours. Unlike the other singles, this one was released without a corresponding album.

The History of U2 - Part 5
U2 continued on with their new found success by showcasing some of their new songs on "War" in Europe, using their strength in live performances to promote their album. Their hard work paid dividends, with "New Years Day" going to number 10 in the UK while earning a top 60 position in the US charts, and their new album going to number 1 in the UK.

The History of U2 - Part 6
U2 by now have already achieved substantial success in their "War" tour, with some shows selling out. Throughout their campaign, the white flag was used frequently by Bono at performances to symbolize peace. And at the US festival in California (which also featured David Bowie, The Pretenders, Steve Nicks and John Cougar) where U2 performed in front of a crowd of 300,000 Bono once again catches the audience's attention with his stage antics where he climbed to the top of the stage to get the attention of the people at the back and placed a white flag for all to see.

The History of U2 - Part 7
When U2 began the progress of making their new album, they knew that a big change needed to be made if their creative spark were to continue. Although "War" had been successful commercially, they knew that following the style of music on the album would lead to eventual failure. To continue on with something like "War" would make their creative spirit dependent on the expectations of their peers - that U2 could change the world with hard-hitting, "slap in the face" music. In addition, U2 wanted to make something with individuality which they could identify themselves with and that gave them a reason why they formed in a band in the first place - "..."Boy" is a sexual record of sorts. "October" is a spiritual record. "War" I don't know what. It was as if U2 were learning how to be U2. Now we want to find out what U2 can do". Because of this, they chose Brian Eno as their new producer to replace Steve Lillywhite who also followed U2's philosophy in making original music.

The History of U2 - Part 8
U2 began their tour in August before the release of their new album. Unlike their past tours, U2 were now performing in front of large audiences. Despite this, their shows still sold out, an example being the April 1 1985 Madison Square Garden show, New York, in which all 20,000 seats were sold in 1 hour. However U2 were also not without their dramas, where in January 1985, the Radio City Music Hall show in New York was stopped 18 times by fans running on to the stage. At one point, a security guard even pulled a gun on Bono. In addition, U2 toured Australia and New Zealand for the first time, despite their hectic schedule in finishing their album.

The History of U2 - Part 9
U2 continued their humanitarian stand by appearing on the "Artists against Apartheid" album "Sun City" with their single "Silver and Gold" in August 1985. Other artists included Steve Van Zandt, Clarence Clemens, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Jimmy Cliff, Lou Reed, Joey Ramone and Bobby Womack.

The Story of U2

The Story of U2 - Part 1
The story of U2 began at Mount Temple School in north-east Dublin in the autumn of 1976. Larry Mullen advertised on the school notice board asking if anyone wanted to join a band. Those who responded, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, included Paul Hewson, Dave Evans and his brother Dick, and Adam Clayton. These five agreed to start up a band, calling themselves Feedback. Larry himself was a competent drummer and Adam had a bass guitar, but the other roles were not yet settled.

The Story of U2 - Part 2
In January 1980 U2 won five categories in the Hot Press readers' poll. But without a record deal they could not afford further overseas tours. So Paul McGuinness arranged an Irish tour that ended in the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin, and a new single, Another Day, was planned for released by CBS Ireland. Meanwhile, Island Records were debating whether or not U2 were worth backing. One of the first to be convinced was Bill Stewart, and he and other Island executives attended gigs in Belfast and Dublin to take a further look at the band. They all came away impressed with what they saw, so Bill Stewart agreed a deal for four albums, with finance up-front to cover recording and touring costs.

The Story of U2 - Part 3
In March 1981 Boy was released in the US, and U2 began their first major American tour. The audience took to them as readily as those in Europe. During a break from the tour U2 recorded another single, Fire, with Steve Lillywhite, and plans were made for a second album. These plans were disrupted when a briefcase containing Bono's lyrics went missing, but work on the album went ahead in May, with Steve Lillywhite again producing.

The Story of U2 - Part 4
As 1984 arrived U2 were looking to go forward, rather than simply rework what they had done before. For their next album they wanted a new producer, and got together with Brian Eno, noted for his work with Roxy Music and Talking Heads, and Daniel Lanois, a Canadian sound engineer. They started working on the album at Slane Castle, about 30 miles north of Dublin.
While rehearsals for the album were getting under way, Paul McGuinness was successfully negotiating a more lucrative deal with Island Records. The new contract not only gave the band a better financial deal in terms of royalties and promotion costs, but it also gave them full creative control.

The Story of U2 - Part 5
At the start of 1986 U2 went back to work on their next album. The gestation process took longer than planned, with the album finally coming out in March 1987. Again Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois were producing, this time with Lanois having the higher profile. While working on the album, U2 also joined the Conspiracy of Hope tour, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of Amnesty International.

The Story of U2 - Part 6
U2 collected two Grammy awards in 1989 to go with two won the previous year. The Lovetown tour followed, covering Australia, New Zealand and Japan. At the end of the year U2 played a few dates in Europe. The show in Dublin on December 31st celebrated the start of a new decade and was broadcast throughout Europe.

The Story of U2 - Part 7
In February 1992 U2 started on their massive Zoo TV project. For more than two years, and in several stages, they toured the world with a show that added a stunning visual experience to the music. In 1992 the show visited the US (twice) and Europe, and featured in a major TV spectacular (the stage set was a TV spectacular in itself). In the Autumn of 1992 the Outside Broadcast leg of the tour concentrated on open-air venues.

The Story of U2 - Part 8
1996 was spent developing yet another album and yet more changes of direction and emphasis. As with Achtung Baby, the first single from the new album (in this case Discotheque) brought more questions than answers. The album itself was released in March 1997, and this too dispelled any doubts created by its lead-off single. This time the evolutionary process leans towards techno and dance influences. One story is that techno samples were introduced to take the pressure off Larry who had injured his back.

U2 News & More

U2 - January 1993
January 1993, several significant events had unfolded - the shocking death of Paul McGuiness's brother, Ellen Darst resignation from Principle Management (the team that manages U2) and the victory of Bill Clinton to become President of USA. But for Paul McGuiness, the death of his brother could not have come at a worse time; he had to miss the inauguration with Larry and Adam, and Dart?s farewell.

U2 - Worlds Most Popular Rock Act
Their debut EP U2:3 featured "Out Of Control" (1979), which propelled them to number 1 in the Irish charts. They repeated that feat with "Another Day" (1980), but having been passed by CBS UK, they were free to sign a deal outside of Ireland with Island Records.

U2 Earnings - 2001
BONO and U2 blew away the competition at the bank, earning GBP 42 million, became the biggest-earning music act of 2001.  The Irish quartet led the pack of Rolling Stones magazine's 50 biggest moneymakers of last year. There are several ageing rock acts in the Top 10 - the Beatles came in at three with GBP 32.6 million, Santana at seven with GBP 22.2 million, and Aerosmith at nine with GBP 16.5 million.

U2 In Africa
Their differences, of substance as well as style, were well publicized. But last week in Washington, as O'Neill delivered his assessment of what he had experienced, it was not hard to dare to hope that this most unlikely of hero politicians may be willing to offer Africa a new deal.

U2 Performs for iPod Commercial
For two weeks before MTV debuted U2's video for the new single "Vertigo," fans had a chance to see the band perform the song on TV -- in an iPod commercial. The members of U2 are passionate proponents of Apple's iPod -- "It's the most interesting art object since the electric guitar in terms of music," says Bono -- but the band's new partnership with Apple Computer still qualifies as a surprise. In their twenty-five-year history, U2 have never licensed their music for commercial use or even accepted tour sponsorship.

U2 Gets Replacement Recording Studio
Bono and the rest of U2 will get a replacement studio in Dublin's docklands. SUPERGROUP U2 has lost the fight to save their Dublin docklands recording studio from demolition to make way for a 2bn euro development. But the band has reached agreement for a replacement studio which will enable them to remain in the docklands area, it was later announced. The deal between U2 and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) for a replacement studio emerged after Bord Pleanala (the Irish planning Authority)...

U2 Articles

The History of U2

The History of U2 - Part 1
The History of U2 - Part 2
The History of U2 - Part 3
The History of U2 - Part 4
The History of U2 - Part 5
The History of U2 - Part 6
The History of U2 - Part 7
The History of U2 - Part 8
The History of U2 - Part 9
The Story of U2

The Story of U2 - Part 1
The Story of U2 - Part 2
The Story of U2 - Part 3
The Story of U2 - Part 4
The Story of U2 - Part 5
The Story of U2 - Part 6
The Story of U2 - Part 7
The Story of U2 - Part 8
U2 News & More

U2 - January 1993
U2 - Worlds Most Popular Rock Act
U2 Earnings - 2001
U2 In Africa
U2 Performs for iPod Commercial
U2 Gets Replacement Recording Studio
U2 Article Index




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