PROFILE
Name:
U2
Birth Place:
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality:
Irish
Famous for:
Their album Boy (1980)
BIOGRAPHY
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All That You Can't Leave Behind

Background:

Founded in 1976, Irish rock band U2, which is comprised of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar) and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion), is one of the most successful groups in music. They have sold over 150 million records and hold the record for most Grammy awards won by a band. In 2005, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

U2 has released 12 studio albums, including “The Joshua Tree” (1988), “Rattle and Hum” (1988), “Achtung Baby” (1991), “All That You Can't Leave Behind” (2000), “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (2004) and “No Line on the Horizon” (2009), in addition to 8 live albums, 9 compilation albums, 8 EPs, 15 Video Albums and one soundtrack. The band has scored a number of hit singles, including “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,” “Desire,” “The Fly,” “Discothèque,” “Beautiful Day,” “Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of,” “Elevation,” “Walk On,” “Vertigo,” “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own” and “City of Blinding Lights.”


Dublin

Childhood and Family:

In Dublin, Ireland, U2 was formed on September 25, 1976. The story began when then-14 year old Larry Mullen, Jr. (born October 31, 1961) placed an announcement on his secondary school (Mount Temple Comprehensive School) bulletin board looking for musicians for a new band. With Mullen on drums, Paul David Hewson (later known as Bono, born May 10, 1960) on lead vocals, David Howell Evans (The Edge, born August 8, 1961) and his older brother Dik Evans on guitar, and Adam Charles Clayton (born March 13, 1960) on bass, the band first christened themselves Feedback and performed primarily cover versions. The band changed their name to The Hype in March 1977 before Dik left the band in March the next year. The remaining four members then performed as U2, one of several names suggested by a punk rock musician and family friend of Clayton's, Steve Averill.


The Joshua Tree

Career:

In 1978, U2 became the winner of a talent show in Limerick, Ireland, and received studio time and some money. They made their first demo tape at a studio in Dublin in May 1978 and soon landed a manager, Paul McGuinness. Their EP “Three” was released in September 1979 and achieved success in Ireland, where it peaked at No. 19 on the Irish chart. Two months later, the band made their debut performance in London, but failed to attract much attention. On February 26, 1980, they released their first single titled “Another Day,” which they produced with Chas de Whalley. The second single, “11 O'Clock Tick Tock,” followed on May 23, 1980. It was produced by Martin Hannett.

U2 eventually signed a record contract with Island Records and launched their first full length album, “Boy,” on October 20, 1980. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, the album was predominantly met with positive reviews from critics and went gold in the U.K., where it peaked at No. 52 on the U.K. Albums chart. The album also charted on the U.S. Billboard 200 at No. 63 and No. 12 in Canada. “Boy” went on to receive platinum certification in the U.S. The album yielded two singles with “A Day Without Me” and “I Will Follow.” The latter song rose to No. 20 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks in 1981 and charted at No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The band supported the album with a tour of Europe and the United States.

The second studio album, “October,” was released on October 12, 1981. The album received mixed reviews and limited radio airplay. It peaked at No. 11 in the U.K. and No. 104 in the U.S. The album has since gone platinum in both countries. The single “Fire” peaked at No. 4 on the Irish Singles chart and No. 35 on the U.K. Singles chart, while the second single, “Gloria” charted No. 10 and No. 55, respectively.

In March 1982, the band released an album called “A Celebration,” which peaked at No. 15 in Ireland and No. 47 in the U.K. Their third studio album, “War,” hit the music stores on February 28, 1983, and was a commercial success. It rose to No. 1 on the U.K. Albums chart, becoming the band's first release to do so, and was certified double platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). In the U.S., the album went to No. 12 on the Billboard 200 and became their first gold record there. It has since been certified 4x platinum by RIAA. “War” also achieved triple platinum certification in Canada, double platinum in France and gold in Germany. Released in January 1983, the lead single “New Year's Day” became U2's first Top 10 hit on the U.K. Singles chart and rose to No. 53 on the Billboard 100. It also peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The album produced two more singles with “Two Hearts Beat as One,” which rose to No. 18 on the U.K. Singles chart and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, and “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which charted on No. 7 on the Billboard Top Tracks and No. 3 on the Dutch Top 40.

On November 7, 1983, U2 released a mini LP live album called “Under a Blood Red Sky,” with producer Jimmy lovine. It charted at No. 2 in the U.K. and No. 28 in the U.S. and achieved triple platinum certification in both countries. The release, combined with its companion concert film “U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky” (1984), helped launch the band's reputation as a live band.

On October 1, 1984, U2 resurfaced with the album “The Unforgettable Fire,” which became the band's second consecutive U.K. No. 1 hit. It was also a Top 20 hit in the U.S. and eventually went double platinum and triple platinum in the U.K. and the U.S., respectively. “The Unforgettable Fire” also rose to No. 1 in Australia and New Zealand and made the Top 10 in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Written about Martin Luther King, Jr., the single “Pride (In the Name of Love)” became a major commercial success when it went to No. 3 on the U.K. Singles chart, No. 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. It was also a chart topper in New Zealand and a Top 10 hit in Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. The title track, released in April 1985 as the second single from the album, rose to No. 6 in the U.K. and No.1 in Ireland. In July 1985, U2 appeared at the “Live Aid” concert for Ethiopian famine relief, which was held at Wembley Stadium.

U2's growing fame was verified with the huge success of “The Joshua Tree,” the band's reunion with “The Unforgettable Fire” producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno. Launched on March 9, 1987, the release gained generally positive reviews from critics and was a massive commercial victory. It topped the charts in over 20 countries, including the U.K., the U.S., Germany, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, France and New Zealand. The album became the fastest selling album in British history at the time and eventually received 6x platinum certification. In the U.S., it went platinum on May 13, 1987, and went on to receive diamond certification from RIAA. “The Joshua Tree” has sold over 25 million copies worldwide and led to the group's first two Grammy Awards. The band supported the album with the “Joshua Tree Tour.”

The album's lead single, “With or Without You,” became U2's first No. 1 hit single in both the United States and Canada. The second single, “I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,” (May 1987) also rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 6 on the U.K. Singles chart. The third single, “Where the Streets Have No Name,” (August 1987) peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 on the U.K. Singles chart. The single “In God's Country” (North America only) was released in November 1987 and went to No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, while “One Tree Hill” (Australia and New Zealand) peaked at No. 1 in New Zealand.

On October 10, 1988, U2 released the album “Rattle and Hum.” The album was a financial success despite receiving a mixed reception from critics. It went to No. 1 in the U.S., the U.K., Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and Austria and was certified 5x platinum in the U.S., 4x platinum in the U.K., 7x platinum in Canada and platinum in Germany and France. “Rattle and Hum” generated the singles “Desire,” “Angel of Harlem,” “When Love Comes to Town” (featuring B.B. King) and “All I Want Is You.” Released in September 1998, “Desire” rose to No. 1 in the U.K. and Australia, No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped both the Modern and Mainstream Rock Tracks charts. The latter three made the Top 10 on the U.K. Singles chart, while “Angel of Harlem” also went to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks. A documentary style film of the same name was released on October 27, 1988, by Paramount Picture. Directed by Phil Joanou, the film performed modestly at the box office and went to video in 1989.

U2 released the album “Achtung Baby” on November 19, 1991. The album received favorable reviews from critics and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. It also topped the charts in Ireland, Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand and went 8x platinum in the U.S. and 4x platinum in the U.K. “Achtung Baby” won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album produced five hit singles with “The Fly” (#1 UK), “Mysterious Ways” (#9 US Hot 100), “One” (#10 US Hot 100; #7 UK), “Even Better Than the Real Thing” (#12 UK) and “Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” (#14 UK).

“Zooropa” was launched on July 5, 1993. Produced by Flood, Brian Eno, and The Edge, the album was a success and topped the charts in many countries. It picked up a 1994 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and produced the Top 10 U.K. hit “Stay (Faraway, So Close)” (#4), which rose to No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two other singles, “Numb” and “Lemon,” failed to chart on the U.K. Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1995, U2 recorded the song “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” for the soundtrack of the film “Batman Forever.” It went to No. 1 in Ireland, No. 2 on the U.K. Singles Chart, No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs and Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The same year, the band, under the pseudonym Passengers, released an experimental album called “Original Soundtracks 1,” with Brian Eno. While the album primarily received negative reviews from critics, its single “Miss Sarajevo” (featuring Luciano Pavarotti), was a success and peaked at No. 6 on the U.K. Singles chart.

U2 returned with the album “Pop” on March 3, 1997. The album rose to No. 1 in over 30 countries, including the U.S. and U.K., but was met with mixed reviews from critics. It went platinum in the U.S. on May 5, 1997, and has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. It was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Performance. “Pop” spawned the No. 1 U.K. hit “Discothèque,” as well as the Top 10 U.K. hits “Staring at the Sun” (also #1 Alternative Songs), “Last Night on Earth” and “Please.”

On November 10, 1998, U2 released the greatest hits album “The Best of 1980-1990.” It rose to No. 1 in several countries, including the U.K. and Ireland, and No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It was also certified 4x platinum by RIAA and 5x platinum by BPI. The single “Sweetest Thing” peaked at No. 3 on the U.K. Singles chart and No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also went to No. 9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks and No. 12 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks.

The tenth studio album, “All That You Can't Leave Behind,” hit the music stores on October 30, 2000. A return to a more conventional sound, the album gained praise and topped the charts in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified 4x platinum by RIAA. It also won a 2002 Grammy for Best Rock Album. The songs “Beautiful Day,” “Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of,” “Elevation” and “Walk On” were all successful singles. “Beautiful Day,” a U.K. No. 1 hit, won Grammy awards for Song of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and “Record of the Year,” while “Walk On,” “Elevation” and “Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of” nabbed the Grammy for Record of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, respectively.

Four years later, on November 22, 2004, U2 released “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” the follow up to the critically acclaimed “All That You Can't Leave Behind.” It rose to No. 1 in the U.K. and U.S., and sold over 9 million worldwide. It generated four major hit singles in the U.K. with “Vertigo” (#1), “All Because of You” (#4), “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own” (#1) and “City of Blinding Lights” (#2). The album won Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. The song “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own” won the Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, while “City of Blinding Lights” nabbed the Best Rock Song Grammy Award (all 2006). The single “Vertigo” won Grammys for Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Short Form Music Video (all 2005). Album producer Steve Lillywhite received a 2006 Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non Classical.

The twelfth studio album, “No Line on the Horizon,” followed on February 27, 2009. Produced by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite, the album drew primarily favorable reviews from critics, but was not as commercially successful as anticipated, although it topped the charts in many countries. The album was certified platinum in the U.S. and U.K. and has sold over 5 million units worldwide. It was nominated for a 2010 Grammy in the category of Best Rock Album and yielded three singles, including “I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight,” which netted Grammy nominations for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals and Best Rock Song. The song “Winter” earned the band a Golden Globe nomination in the category Best Original Song for its role in the feature film “Brothers.”

Recently, in 2010, U2 released an EP called “Wide Awake in Europe,” a concert film titled “U2 360° at the Rose Bowl” and the compilation albums “Artificial Horizon,” “Best of U2” and “U2: DUALS.”


Awards:

  • Grammy: Best Rock Song, “City of Blinding Lights,” 2006

  • Grammy: Song of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own,” 2006

  • Grammy: Album of the Year and Best Rock Album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” 2006

  • Grammy: Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and Best Short Form Music Video, “Vertigo,” 2005

  • Grammy: Best Rock Album, “All That You Can't Leave Behind,” 2002

  • Grammy: Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of,” 2002

  • Grammy: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal “Elevation,” 2002

  • Grammy: Record of the Year, “Walk On,” 2002

  • Grammy: Song of the Year, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, and Record of the Year, “Beautiful Day,” 2001

  • Grammy: Best Alternative Music Album, “Zooropa,” 1994

  • Grammy: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, “Achtung Baby,” 1993

  • Grammy: Album of the Year, “The Joshua Three,” 1988

  • Grammy: Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal, “The Joshua Three,” 1988

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