- Published on Sunday, September 27 2009
- Written by Super User
U2 has released 16 albums since their debut in 1980, with six of those climbing to No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.
They have collected 22 Grammys along the way, including two for album of the year (1987's The Joshua Tree, and 2004's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
U2 came to prominence in the materialistic 1980s and yet somehow managed to offer a spiritual salve to those overwhelmed with the greed of that decade. As time progressed, they only multiplied their magnanimous contributions to society. They use benefit concerts, public campaigning, and fundraising projects to support a myriad of charities including Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and the Chernynoble children's project.
More recently, lead singer Bono helped launch the (Red) campaign to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa.
U2 recently ended their two-year-old Vertigo Tour with a special performance in Honolulu, Hawaii, a venue they had not played in over 23 years. And keeping with U2's non greedy spirit, they charged only $49.50 for their tickets, a far cry from the whopping $150 dollars that The Rolling Stones charge, a tactic that recently backfired for the Rolling Stones when they had to cancel multiple shows for lack of revenue.
Hawaii was a surreal destination for Bono when he first visited the island in 1983: I had never been in a place so exotic At the Kahala Hilton there were bottles of wine on the menu for $10,000. Ronald Reagan had just stayed there. I remember thinking, Why are dolphins jumping past my window?' As an unreconstructed Calvinist, to me it was the end of the world.
Before settling on the name U2, Bono had also dreamed up The Hype and The Feedback as potential names for the fledgling band. They actually gigged at a school talent show as The Feedback, where they played the only two songs they knew at the time: Peter Frampton's Show Me the Way and the Bay City Roller's Bye Bye Baby.
Bono's real name is Paul Hewson. He adopted his Moniker while walking one day with band mate Larry Mullen Jr. Upon passing a sign over a hearing aid shop that said Bono Vox, the lead singer pointed to his new title and said, That's me.
U2 concerts are often compared to religious experiences. One fan noted, Going to see U2 is not so much like going to a rock concert as going to church. And other fans note that whether you enjoy U2's music or not, what the band stands for is ultimately so positive that the band is contagious, even irresistible.
Bono's much-touted activism will subside for a time. His associate with political activism will take a backseat to musical ambitions as he begins to capitalize on the mega-status of his band. According to Bono, I am most excited about getting lost in music again. In the near future, I am going to close the door on activist and commerce and other ideas that engage me, and I am going to shut it quite tight, for a little while at least, and focus on writing and making music If we get our songs right, I think we could really be popular.