Bono Vox (Paul Hewson)Vocals, guitar1978-
The Edge (David Evans)Guitar, vocals1978-
Adam ClaytonBass1978-
Larry MullenDrums1978-

U2 Artistfacts

  • 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? >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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."

Comments: 48

  • AnonymousGreat band although INXS was awesome with powerful vocals. Just not sure how they are defined as a Rock band..Rock as in lead guitar Rock bands like Led Zeppelin and the likes. They are loud and cool but personally when they play its not rock i hear, I hear U2 and their own distinct sound.
  • Joe Winn from Southeastern Washington Amazing just amazing. Epitome of success they are! Accolade after accolade - accolades abound lol. I love U2 not just because they're great but because what they represent is...
  • Teacherfann from Michigan, UsaOn the original Joshua Tree tour in Detroit, the crowd on the floor was pushing too closely to the stage. People, especially security, were getting crushed. Bono stopped mid-song ('With or Without You') and asked everyone to move back. He went on to further state there was 'no need for guys in blue uniforms at a U2 show.' Everyone moved back to cheers, and they resumed for another 90 minutes with 3 encores. In the crowded halls leaving, no one pushed or shoved, we all sang "40" (the final encore) as we walked calmly to the exits. I've never experienced anything like it since - and as I was 17 then, it REALLY impacted my life and views.
  • Jahwoosh from Suffolk UkAsk them {U2} if they remember their gig at the Nags Head in Wollaston, Northamptonshire, UK. they great and my ears rang for 3 hours after the gig. They hit the big time very shortly after this gig. I turned up having never heard of them, suspect not many people had either, 6 months later saw they were playing Redrock ampithetre in Colorado.
  • Bertrand from Paris, FranceIn April 2014, the Library Of Congress announced 25 new additions to the National Recording Registry bringing the total number of preserved recordings to 400. The new selections were a diverse group including spoken word and comedy recordings in addition to pop landmarks. U2's landmark 1987 album The Joshua Tree was among the additions. Drawing on both American and Irish musical traditions, it is the collection credited with turning U2 into worldwide superstars. The album spent nine weeks at #1 on the US album chart and won the Grammy Award for Album Of the Year and included two #1 pop hit singles.
  • Danleichty from Rochester, MnU2 is ONe of my favorate rock groups. I have been a big fan of them since I was in high school. I find alot of there songs inspirational. They are more then a rock group. They are also good humanitarias. I would love to see them in concert someday.
  • Thanos from Rhodes, GreeceU2 is a a great group not legendary (i would doubt that) and their most magnificent attribute in my opinion is that they achieved to change their sound several times in the past. i would disagree with Boris because it's not how many cds you sell it's how many of them are unique. And U2 always recorded unique cds. That's what makes them such an important group.
  • Col from Pride, EnglandU2 oh yeah by the way forgot to put was a wicked stage show and anyone who was there ( can u imagine how that lil girl felt that bono took from the audience and sat on the stage what a memory she has may she live a long long life and tell many many people about that night) was gutted he didn't get me but then again i was in the main stands hahaha col
  • Col from Pride, EnglandAfter watching U2 leave 34,000 people cheering clapping and most importantly SMILING true smiles noy just the ones we all do for the cameras on the opening night in manchester 05 why are there still muppets who try to doubt the quality that these men bring to the world of music? does it matter how they where named does it matter how they look does their colour and creed bare any relevance to the enjoyment the give to millions just shut up and enjoy the shows ffs its music expressing deep felt feelings feel them and respond U2 are about ridding the world of pain why look for ways to degrade a world super band that actually wants more than a huge bank balance think before you mock or unplug your keyboard and do the world a favour!!!!! col liverpool england
  • Rick from Humboldt, IaU2's rythm section is really underrated. The rhythm in "I still haven't....." is awesome. Adam Clayton is quite the bassist.
  • Tom from Dosen't Matter, Ctsongs, Rolling Stone, music, record company, the Beatles, rock and roll......these "Sponsered links" are really getting annoying!!-Great band though
  • Kayla from London, Canadaand ps. U2 is the ONLY band that has ever made me actually start to cry during one of their songs. That really says something not only about their songs and lyrics, but also about their stage performance.
    U2 is an incredible band, My absolute favorite
  • Kayla from London, CanadaI saw the Vertigo Tour concert in Toronto and let me just say it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
  • Mike from Germantown, MdThat Was Rolling Stone that named U2 Band of the 80s, not Time.
  • Ben from Nyc, MsI recenttly found a website that ranked U2 thw 3rd best band EVER!! come on seriously, the Who were'nt on it, Velvet Underground and Sly And the Family stone were!!! WTF?!?!?!?!
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, AustraliaAs for Bono Vox, it was actually given to Bono by a friend, who was also a member of 'The Lypton Village' as they called themselves. It was given before the band had even formed, and the boys of Village used to run around Dublin putting on plays and listening to punk music. The Village consisted of of several members of what later became The Virgin Prunes. The Edge was dubbed such by Bono due to the angular features of his face... and was also a way of including him into Village. Bono's good friend Guggi was also a member of this group, and they still remain good friends til this day
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, AustraliaOk, time to put the spyplae/subway line theories to rest, as stated in The Unforgettable Fire (a brilliant book that follows U2 through their struggles as an early band, to finally breaking the coveted american music market) it is stated that U2 was actually chosen by a friend of the band, as it was catchy and ambigous, it could be taken as You Too, You Two. Bono actually had no knowledge of the spyplane til much later in their careers...
  • Marlow from Perthtime magazine should update their statement that "u2 are the band of the 80s" and extend that to 80s and 90s at least
  • Boris from Maribor, OtherWell what can I say about this band? It is my favourite band, I am their huge fan. So many great songs, great tunes, I am just impresed by their music. I see that many people underestimate their music or dislike them as a band. That is O.K., everybody has a right to express his own opinion, but at the same time we have to take in consideratin the facts. And these tell us that U2 is one of the greatest band in the history of music; after 27 years they are still remaining, millions and millions of albums sold, sellout tours, numerous awards... I think everyone should respect that. I just hope that they won`t retire soon and will keep on doing an excellent music as they have done it so far.
  • J from Boston, MaAlso, for those of you who are saying that Larry Mullen is not a good drummer, Listen to "Sunday Bloody Sunday". The drum line in that is just amazing.
  • J from Boston, MaOk for all of you that say Adam Clayton is a bad bass player and just say that his lines just drone on in all the songs, um, thats what bass lines do. He does his job. Same thing with Larry Mullen.
  • Sanda from Zagreb, CroatiaI like U2 a lot, been introduced to them through the Rattle And Hum documentary adn fell instantly in love with them and their music. (Then I was an early teenager) Today my love for them has vanished (although Adam looks great) but not for their music. Achtug baby and POP and Discotheke were a little too "electric" for me, but their later work is simply the best. Greetings to them and all the fans!
  • Amy from Monaghan, Irelandif you arent certain of a fact dont post it- you just show your own ignorance. There are no subway lines anywhere in Ireland, the other two are right, its named after a spy plane. I think what sets U2 apart is Bono's voice- it has to be one of the most unique sounds, if not always technically brilliant. And for people who dont like them- show me another band who has been around 27 years, is still releasing fresh and new material and is on a sellout world tour. You cant deny the facts!!
  • Richard from Newport, Isle Of Wight, EnglandOh, and clearly they are named after the spyplane. "Subway" station - oh pleease!
  • Richard from Newport, Isle Of Wight, EnglandMike from Baltimore - I don't see you selling millions of albums and filling stadiums year after year. Clearly they can play bass and drums better than you, and Bono can almost certainly write better lyrics than you. Here's a challenge - post some of your excellent lyrics on this page and everyone else can review them, taking into account their wide metaphorical meanings. I'm sure some record company bod will see them and give you a deal immediately. Alternatively, shut the **** up and get a life.
  • James from Windsor, CaI got into U2 in 1983, and got OUT of them after Joshua Tree. They got too 'lollipop' for me. That's the only way I can put it. I love their pre-Joshua Tree material, though.
  • Nunu from Bangalore, IndiaI read somewhere that 'Bono Vox' means 'Good Voice' in Latin or something. That's where he got the name from.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtU2 is my favorite band and I must disagree with some of you - they are musically talented. Bono's a great vocalist/songwriter, The Edge is a unique and under-rated guitarist, Adam Clayton is actually a very good bassist...and Larry Mullen's a decent drummer. He's the least talented, I'll admit it.
  • Eddy from Sf, CaUm... actually, U2 got their name from the american spyplane, the U2, that was shot down over the Soviet Union 4 days before Bono was born.

    your an idiot... theyre nsmed for the subway line that passed by where they used to live
  • Dave from Canberra, AustraliaU2 are awesome, each of the band memebers complement each other perfectly and this is testimate to the many years that they have been together. Individually each memeber isnt outstanding but as a band they are the greatest.
  • Ace from Thousand Oaks, CaTo Mike; Adam Clayton may not be the most technically gifted bassist around, but his lines complement the songs perfectly (in my opinion). It's not about chops, it's about music. I relate it to Ringo and the Beatles. I'm a staunch fan of both.
  • George from Trenton, OhMarvin is right. Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" was indeed the first CD to be awarded platinum status.
  • Lisa from Perry, GaIn Feb.'05 Bono was recognized for his continued good works and was awarded $100,000 and three wishes by the TED Foundation! One wish you can help make come true for Bono today is signing the petition in support of Africa at one.org
  • Ross from Dublin, IrelandU2 are the best band in the world full stop.
  • Mike from Baltimore, MdGreat band early on (Boy through Joshua Tree) for their energy and great live shows. I just would have expected them, over the years, to improve a little bit. Adam Clayton has got to be the worst bassist in music today, as he plays practically the same droning bass line in every song. Bono uses a fairly consistent and narrow set of metaphors for lyrics. Larry Mullins, Jr. is a mediocre drummer at best. Only the Edge has been moderately innovative over the years. I subscribe to the theory that a bands first two or three albums are its' best work and after that it may be time to do something else.
  • Delwyn from Topeka, KsThe band formed the year I was born, and Mom bought War on vinyl. I grew up listening to them. Pop was the first CD I ever bought. Can't remember a time I didn't love them. Bono has the most amazing voice, their songs always have exceptional lyrics, and I love Edge's distinctive style.
  • Steven from Congers, NyUm... actually, U2 got their name from the american spyplane, the U2, that was shot down over the Soviet Union 4 days before Bono was born.
  • Clay from Chattanooga, TnThey're not the most musically talented band out there (Bono can't read music) but what makes them amazing is that they're driven by an unbelievable amount of passion and dedication. It also doesn't hurt that Bono is one of the best vocalists and writers around. The entire band is on friendly terms and truly enjoy what they're doing while avoiding the excesses of the rock and roll lifestyle (with the possibly exception of Adam Clayton at times). They're truly unique and offer a breath of fresh air in contemporary music.
  • Loretta from Liverpool, EnglandPeter Rowan is a great guitarist.
  • Michael from New York City, Nyin regards to the "million selling cd" question from marvin- i did extensive reasearch on this album this summer for a tribute show, and "the joshua tree" was the first album to ship a million cds, in effect making it the first "platinum selling cd". other albums before that were certified platinum through the combined sales of vinyl, cassette, and cd (and dire straits may have very well been the first group to achieve a platinum certification through that method) but in strictly counting cd sales alone, "the joshua tree" was the first one to do it that way.
  • Emory from Baltimore, MdThey were originally called U Also, but people kept calling them Yalso, like that, and Bono was like "Yuch" and Edge was like "Eww" and then they thought U Too, but people were like Yootoo and Bono was like "no" and Edge was like "icky" and finally they were like U2 and then they were like "duh" why didn't we think of that sooner and I think they are the BEST BAND EVER no matter what their name is.
  • Joan from Cape Town, South AfricaI absolutely love Bono, and the charity work he's doing for Africa is awesome. U2 is a timeless band and thier talent is eternal
  • Zebulon from Dalworthington Gardens, TxI love bono he is so freaking hot!!! Wait that might seem homosexual but he is stacked. Sunday Bloody Sunday i want to see them in concert
  • Marlow from Perth, Australiathey had the second biggest selling album of the year with 'rattle and hum', second to 'kick' inxs, the two bands felt they had a sort of bond. and bono was quick to send his regards, to inxs and the hutchence family after the death of singer michael hutchence
  • Aimiee from San Antonio, TxSince I first heard The Joshua Tree, I've been obsessed with them. {Well, except for that crazy "Pop Mart" period. What was that all about?} Bono is a deep and soulful songwriter who has a heart of gold and the ability to take risks. I am patiently waiting for their next album.
  • Crazybasement from Dundee, ScotlandApparently THE most popular band in the world, not my fave but many others.
  • Steven from Market Harborough, EnglandU2 - They ain't 'The Best Band in the World' for no reason!!
  • Marvin from East Brady, PaI'm pretty sure Dire Straits's 1985 album Brothers In Arms was the first album to reach 1 million copies on CD.
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