They were originally called Feedback, after the awful noise they made in early rehearsals. Their next name was The Hype, followed by U2. The band's first two names were both suggested by Bono. He says that he doesn't like the name U2; he sees it as a bad pun. You too?
Sarah Rice - Sabetha, Kansas
The band members met in high school in Ireland when Mullen posted a note looking to start a group. They have been together ever since.
Members had various nicknames in the early days. "The Edge" came about because of his chin. "Bono Vox" was the name of a hearing aid company Paul Hewson saw advertised on TV. Because U2 were a "loud" band, he thought it was an appropriate enough stage name.
Brett - Edmonton, Canada
Bono's first concert was The Clash's "White Riot" tour at Trinity College in Dublin.
They formed the band before they knew how to play. They wrote their own songs because they weren't good enough to play other people's.
They almost broke up in early '80s when the born-again Christian group that Bono, Edge, and Mullen belonged to tried to convince them to break up the band as a sacrifice to God.
Rolling Stone magazine named them "Band of the '80s."
In 1998, they played a free concert in Belfast to support the Northern Ireland Peace Accord. The Protestant and Catholic leaders who negotiated the agreement joined U2 on stage to encourage passage of the referendum, which it did.
Because of their commitment to keep ticket prices low, yet have lavish stage shows, the profits for their Zoo TV and Pop tours were relatively meager.
Bono has played lots of charity events with and without U2, including Band Aid, Live Aid, Netaid, and various benefits for Amnesty International.
The child on the cover of Boy is Peter Rowan, a nephew of a friend of the band. Two albums later, he was used for the cover of War.
They were on the cover of Time magazine on April 29, 1987, with the headline "Rock's Hottest Ticket."
The Joshua Tree was the first major release to come out on CD at the same time as cassette and vinyl. It was common practice to release the CD a few weeks later. It was the first million-selling CD.
The Joshua tree on the album cover is located in Death Valley, California. It's location was kept secret for years, but it was eventually toppled over in 2000.
The Edge used to live in the Los Angeles house where Eric and Lyle Menendez killed their parents in 1989.
Three times on The Joshua Tree tour, The Dalton Brothers opened for U2. The Dalton Brothers were actually U2 dressed as hillbillies doing country standards.
On the Zoo TV tour, Bono would call President Bush (the first one) from the stage. He never got through, but the White House operator got used to him and asked why he kept calling.
Achtung Baby got it's title from the Mel Brooks movie The Producers. It was chosen so as not to be taken seriously. Achtung means "attention" in German.
They appeared on the 200th episode of The Simpsons, where Homer interrupts their concert to ask the crowd to support him for Sanitation Commissioner. He is taken backstage and beaten up.
In 2001, Bono invited 79 year-old US Senator Jesse Helms to a show. It was Helms' first rock concert - he turned down his hearing aid and covered his ears throughout the show.
They make a staggering amount of money. As an established band, they have a very favorable record deal, their tours are hugely profitable, and because they write their own songs, they own the copyrights on them, meaning they get royalties when they are played on radio or TV.
They were the top touring act of 2001. They played 113 shows and made $143 million. The next closest was 'N Sync with $90 million.
Clayton was expelled from Mount Temple School for streaking.
Lydia - Dublin, Ireland
Bono is the only person in the history of the world to be nominated for an Academy Award, a Nobel Prize, a Grammy and a Golden Globe.
Anuar - Plantation, FL
They won 5 Grammys at the 2006 awards: Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year ("Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own"), Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song ("City Of Blinding Lights") and Best Vocal Rock Performance ("Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own"). Though they won the most, Bono was still humble: "This is our second Album of the Year but we've lost two, Achtung Baby
and All That You Can't Leave Behind
, so we know how it feels - Kanye, you're next - he's a great artist, being on the road with us. Extraordinary. To be in the company of Paul McCartney, who discovered the country that we're all living in, is a true honor indeed. Yes, sir. Mariah, you sing like an angel, really something else. And what about Gwen? This is the heart of Hollywood. She's like Carole Lombard, she's this extraordinary girl."
Lawrence - Singapore
They were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005, their first year of eligibility.
When they were featured on the cover of Time
magazine, they became the fourth Rock band to have the honor, after the Beatles, The Band and The Who.
Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2
Al Kooper's memoir Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards
tells the story of how Kooper first heard U2 in 1979. While visiting England (and employed as producer for Epic Records), Kooper took in a show at the Marquee Club to see The Photos. He wasn't too impressed, but the opening act, "an Irish band," blew him away and as soon as their set was over, Kooper met the band backstage to ask if they'd signed with a label yet. They had - to Island Records. Al Kooper, the prodigy who discovered Lynryd Skynyrd, just missed being the first to discover U2!
According to Pollstar, U2 was the highest-grossing live act in 2009 in North America with $123 million in concert earnings. They beat out Bruce Springsteen by almost $30 million.
Bertrand - Paris, France
Bono, referring to his father in an interview with Rolling Stone
: "By not encouraging me to be a musician, even though that's all he ever wanted to be, he's made me one. By telling me never to have big dreams or else, that to dream is to be disappointed, he made me have big dreams. By telling me that the band would only last five minutes or ten minutes - we're still here."
Bertrand - Paris, France
Bono on the difference between pop and rock: "Pop music often tells you everything is OK, while rock music tells you that it's not OK, but you can change it. There's a defiance in rock music that gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Most pop music doesn't make you want to get out of bed, I'm sorry to say. It puts you to sleep."
Bertrand - Paris, France
Edge's older brother, Dik Evans, was an early member of the group when they were still known as Feedback. He went on to form The Virgin Prunes.
On November 27, 1993 U2 performed their only one concert without the full band; Adam Clayton got so drunk the night before a show in Sydney that he couldn't go on stage and was replaced by bass technician Stuart Morgan. Clayton has cited the devastation he felt at missing the gig as the reason why he quit drinking.
U2 have clocked up 19 #1 singles in their native Ireland, six more than any other act. (Both The Beatles and Westlife have scored 13 chart-toppers).
In the '90s, they changed the dynamic of their concerts, with video, costumes, characters and performers making it a multimedia experience far removed from the pyro and light shows typically seen at rock concerts. At the time, only Peter Gabriel was doing something similar on this scale. Kevin Godley
, who did some music videos and concert visuals for U2, told Songfacts: "It's almost like watching a normal concert and then watching something in VR. It was that kind of a leap, back then."