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U2 is an Irish rock band whose music encompasses the genres of rock, alternative rock and pop music. U2 was formed in Dublin Ireland in 1976. The members of U2 are: Bono (Paul David Hewson), the Edge (David Howell Evans), Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. Bono takes lead vocals and plays the rhythm guitar and the harmonica. The Edge plays lead guitar and the keyboard and has backup vocals. Clayton plays the bass guitar, and Mullen plays drums and occasionally takes backup vocals. U2 is one of the most popular rock and roll bands in the world. Besides rock and roll music, U2 is also very well known for the social activism of its members, especially Bono.
U2 was formed in September 1976 when, at the age of 14, Mullen posted a notice at the Mount Temple Comprehensive School looking for musicians to play in a band. U2’s current members all answered the notice. They were also joined by 3 additional musicians (all of whom left the band relatively soon thereafter). The name of the band was originally “The Larry Mullen Band.” The Larry Mullen Band changed its name to Feedback after a short time. After about 18 more months, Feedback changed its name to The Hype. The name, The Hype, stuck for awhile and was the name under which the band did their first real recordings. The Hype got its big break in March 1978 when they played in a talent show in Limerick, Ireland. One of the judges who worked for CBS Records liked The Hype and paved the way for The Hype to record its first demo record. The Hype changed its name to U2 soon thereafter.
U2 released its first single in Ireland in September 1979 and its second single in Ireland in February 1980. U2 then released its first album, Boy, in 1980 under the Island Records label. After this release, with every new album, U2 grew in popularity.
Besides just playing music, U2 plays many of its concerts for social causes. Among other social relief efforts, in July 1985, U2 participated in the Live Aid concert that took place in Wembley Stadium on behalf of Ethiopian famine relief. In 1986, U2 played in a tour called A Conspiracy of Hope Tour on behalf of Amnesty International. Also in 1986, U2 played a benefit concert called Self Aid on behalf of unemployment in Ireland. In 1998, U2 played a concert intended as a fundraiser for the victims of the bombing in Omagh, Northern Ireland. U2 performed during halftime at Super Bowl XXXVI during which they paid a moving tribute to the victims of the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Bono is very well known for his campaigns for debt and HIV/AIDS relief. In addition, some of the organizations and movements that U2 supports are: Amnesty International, Greenpeace, DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa), The ONE Campaign, Chernobyl Children’s Project, RED and The Burma Campaign.
U2 has worked with Apple Computers in a cross-promotion for the iPod. In 2005, Bono was awarded the “Person of the Year” award (along with Bill and Melinda Gates). In 2006, various members of U2 voiced commercials to promote a sense of world unity brought by the 2006 World Cup Soccer Games in Germany.
Music / Albums
U2’s studio albums include: Boy (1980), October (1981), War (1983), The Unforgettable Fire (1984), The Joshua Tree (1987), Rattle and Hum (1988), Achtung Baby (1991), Zooropa (1993), Pop (1997), All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000), How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004). U2’s first album, Boy, gave U2 their first hit single titled “I Will Follow.” U2’s second album, October, contained an overtly religious theme. U2’s third album, War, addressed conflict in Northern Ireland. War included the single “New Year’s Day” which became a huge international hit. U2’s fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire, has a title that refers to images of the atomic bombs dropped at the end of World War II on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Unforgettable Fire includes the hit songs “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Bad.” The Joshua Tree was greatly influenced by American country and folk music and is known as one of the greatest albums in rock and roll music. Rattle and Hum was a documentary and double album that included footage recorded from various shows on The Joshua Tree Tour. Achtung Baby is a bit darker than pervious albums, but is known to be almost as, if not as, popular as The Joshua Tree. Zooropa contained many of the same themes as the Achtung Baby album. The album Pop had a more techno/disco feel than U2’s prior albums. All That You Can’t Leave Behind has become as well known as The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby and contains the mega hit “Beautiful Day.” How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, released in 2004, set sales records for U2.
U2 also has a number of live albums including: Under a Blood Red Sky (1983), Hasta La Vista Baby! (2000), Live from Boston 1981 (2004) and U2.Communication (2005).
U2 also has a number of compilation albums including: The Best of 1980-1990 (1998) and The Best of 1990 – 2000 (2002). Their box set is titled The Complete U2 (2004).
U2 has won over 20 Grammy awards. U2 was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 by another mega rock and roll star, Bruce Springsteen.
U2 played its Vertigo Tour in 2006.