U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, fashioned in 1976. The group consists of Bono (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), the Edge (lead guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). Initially rooted in post-punk, U2’s musical fashion has advanced all through their profession, but has maintained an anthemic high quality constructed on Bono’s expressive vocals and the Edge’s chiming, effects-based guitar sounds. Their lyrics, usually embellished with religious imagery, deal with private and sociopolitical themes. In style for his or her stay performances, the group have staged a number of formidable and elaborate excursions over their profession.

The band was fashioned when the members had been teenaged pupils of Mount Temple Complete Faculty and had restricted musical proficiency. Inside 4 years, they signed with Island Information and launched their debut album, Boy (1980). Subsequent work comparable to their first UK number-one album, Conflict (1983), and the singles “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pleasure (Within the Title of Love)” helped set up U2’s repute as a politically and socially acutely aware group. By the mid-Nineteen Eighties, that they had change into famend globally for his or her stay act, highlighted by their efficiency at Dwell Assist in 1985. The group’s fifth album, The Joshua Tree (1987), made them worldwide superstars and was their biggest essential and industrial success. Topping music charts all over the world, it produced their solely number-one singles within the US up to now: “With or With out You” and “I Nonetheless Have not Discovered What I am Trying For”.

Going through inventive stagnation and a backlash to their documentary/double album, Rattle and Hum (1988), U2 reinvented themselves within the Nineteen Nineties. Starting with their acclaimed seventh album, Achtung Child (1991), and the multimedia-intensive Zoo TV Tour, the band pursued a brand new musical course influenced by various rock, digital dance music, and industrial music, they usually embraced a extra ironic, flippant picture. This experimentation continued by their ninth album, Pop (1997), and the PopMart Tour, which had been combined successes. U2 regained essential and industrial favour with the information All That You Cannot Go away Behind (2000) and Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004), which established a extra standard, mainstream sound for the group. Their U2 360° Tour of 2009–2011 set information for the highest-attended and highest-grossing live performance tour, each of which had been surpassed in 2019. The group most not too long ago launched the companion albums Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Expertise (2017), the previous of which obtained criticism for its pervasive, no-cost launch by the iTunes Retailer.

U2 have launched 14 studio albums and are one of many world’s best-selling music artists, having offered an estimated 150–170 million information worldwide.[1] They’ve received 22 Grammy Awards, greater than every other band, and in 2005, they had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame of their first yr of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked U2 at quantity 22 on its listing of the “100 Biggest Artists of All Time”.[2] All through their profession, as a band and as people, they’ve campaigned for human rights and social justice causes, together with Amnesty Worldwide, Jubilee 2000, the ONE/DATA campaigns, Product Purple, Conflict Youngster, and Music Rising.

Historical past

Formation and early years (1976–1980)

The band fashioned in 1976 whereas attending Mount Temple Complete Faculty (pictured in 2007) in Dublin.

In 1976, Larry Mullen Jr., then a 14-year-old pupil of Mount Temple Complete Faculty in Dublin, Eire, posted a be aware on the varsity’s discover board searching for musicians for a brand new band. Not less than 5 individuals responded and attended the primary observe, which was held on 25 September in Mullen’s kitchen. Mullen performed drums and was joined by: Paul Hewson (“Bono”) on lead vocals; David Evans (“the Edge”) and his older brother Dik Evans on guitar; Adam Clayton, a good friend of the Evans brothers, on bass guitar; and Ivan McCormick, with whom he and Mullen had a mutual good friend in Peter Martin. Mullen later described it as “‘The Larry Mullen Band’ for about ten minutes, then Bono walked in and blew any likelihood I had of being in cost.” Martin, who loaned his guitar and amplifier for the primary observe,[3] couldn’t play and was rapidly phased out;[4] sources differ on whether or not he was in attendance on the first assembly or not.[5] McCormick was dropped from the group after a couple of weeks.[6] The remaining 5 members settled on the identify “Suggestions” for the group as a result of it was one of many few technical phrases they knew. Early rehearsals befell of their music instructor’s classroom at Mount Temple.[3] Most of their preliminary materials consisted of canopy songs, which they admitted was not their forte.[7] Rising punk rock acts such because the Stranglers,[8] the Jam, the Conflict, Buzzcocks, and Intercourse Pistols had been sturdy influences on the group. The recognition of punk satisfied them that musical proficiency was not a prerequisite to success.[9]

We could not imagine it. I used to be utterly shocked. We weren’t of an age to exit partying as such however I do not suppose anybody slept that night time … Actually, it was only a nice affirmation to win that competitors, though I’ve no thought how good we had been or what the competitors was actually like. However to win at that time was extremely essential for morale and everybody’s perception in the entire challenge.

 —The Edge, on the band’s profitable a 1978 expertise contest in Limerick[10]

In April 1977, Suggestions performed their first gig for a paying viewers at St. Fintan’s Excessive Faculty. Shortly thereafter, the band modified their identify to “The Hype”.[11] Dik Evans, who was older and by that point attending faculty, was changing into the odd man out. The remainder of the band was leaning in direction of the thought of a four-piece ensemble.[10] In March 1978, the group modified their identify to “U2”.[12] Steve Averill, a punk rock musician (with the Radiators) and household good friend of Clayton’s, had recommended six potential names from which the band selected U2 for its ambiguity and open-ended interpretations, and since it was the identify that they disliked the least.[13] That very same month, U2, as a four-piece, received a expertise contest in Limerick sponsored by Harp Lager and the Night Press. The prize consisted of £500 and a recording session for a demo that will be heard by document label CBS Eire.[14] The win was an essential milestone and affirmation for the fledgling act.[10] Inside a couple of days, Dik Evans was formally phased out of the band with a farewell live performance on the Presbyterian Church Corridor in Howth.[14] Through the present, which featured the group enjoying cowl songs because the Hype, Dik ceremonially walked offstage. The remaining 4 band members returned later within the live performance to play authentic materials as U2.[10] Dik joined one other band, the Virgin Prunes, which comprised mutual mates of U2’s; the Prunes had been their default opening act early on, and the 2 teams usually shared members for stay performances to cowl for infrequent absences.[15] As a part of their contest prize, U2 recorded their first demo tape at Keystone Studios in Dublin in April 1978,[14] however the outcomes had been largely unsuccessful resulting from their inexperience.[16]

Irish journal Sizzling Press was influential in shaping U2’s future; along with being one in all their earliest allies, the publication’s journalist Invoice Graham launched the band to Paul McGuinness, who agreed to be their supervisor in mid-1978.[14][17] With the connections he was making throughout the music trade, McGuinness booked demo classes for the group and sought to garner them a document deal. The band continued to construct their fanbase with performances throughout Eire,[18] essentially the most well-known of which had been a collection of weekend afternoon reveals at Dublin’s Dandelion Market in the summertime of 1979.[19][20] In August, U2 recorded demos at Windmill Lane Studios with CBS expertise scout Chas de Whalley producing, marking the primary of the band’s many recordings on the studio throughout their profession.[21] The next month, three songs from the session had been launched by CBS because the Eire-only EP Three. It was the group’s first chart success, promoting all 1,000 copies of its restricted version 12-inch vinyl virtually instantly.[19] In December 1979, the band carried out in London for his or her first reveals outdoors Eire, though they had been unable to realize a lot consideration from audiences or critics.[22] On 26 February 1980, their second single, “One other Day”, was launched on the CBS label, however once more just for the Irish market. The identical day, U2 performed a present on the 2,000-seat Nationwide Stadium in Dublin as a part of an Irish tour.[23][24] Regardless of their gamble of reserving a live performance in such a big venue, the transfer paid off.[23] Invoice Stewart, an A&R consultant for Island Information, was in attendance and supplied to signal them to the label.[25] The next month, the band signed a four-year, four-album contract with Island, which included a £50,000 advance and £50,000 in tour assist.[26]

Boy and October (1980–1982)

Steve Lillywhite produced the band’s first three studio albums: Boy, October, and Conflict.

In Could 1980, U2 launched “11 O’Clock Tick Tock”, their first worldwide single and their debut on Island, however it did not chart.[26] Martin Hannett, who produced the only, was slated to provide the band’s debut album, Boy, however in the end was changed with Steve Lillywhite.[27] From July to September 1980, U2 recorded the album at Windmill Lane Studios,[28][29] drawing from their almost 40-song repertoire on the time.[30] Lillywhite recommended recording Mullen’s drums in a stairwell, and recording smashed bottles and forks performed towards a spinning bicycle wheel.[27] The band discovered Lillywhite to be very encouraging and artistic; Bono referred to as him “such a breath of contemporary air”, whereas the Edge stated he “had an effective way of pulling one of the best out of all people”.[27] The album’s lead single, “A Day With out Me”, was launched in August. Though it didn’t chart,[28] the track was the impetus for the Edge’s buy of a delay impact unit, the Electro-Harmonix Reminiscence Man, which got here to outline his guitar enjoying fashion and had a big influence on the group’s inventive output.[26]

Launched in October 1980,[31] Boy obtained usually constructive critiques.[32] Paul Morley of NME referred to as it “touching, precocious, stuffed with archaic and modernist conviction”,[33] whereas Declan Lynch of Sizzling Press stated he discovered it “virtually inconceivable to react negatively to U2’s music”.[34] Bono’s lyrics mirrored on adolescence, innocence, and the passage into maturity,[35] themes represented on the album cowl by the photograph of a younger boy’s face.[27] Boy peaked at quantity 52 in the UK and quantity 63 in america.[31][36] The album included the band’s first songs to obtain airplay on US radio, together with the only “I Will Comply with”,[37] which reached quantity 20 on the High Tracks rock chart.[38] Boys launch was adopted by the Boy Tour, U2’s first tour of continental Europe and the US.[39] Regardless of being unpolished, these early stay performances demonstrated the band’s potential, as critics complimented their ambition and Bono’s exuberance.[40]

Bono and the Edge acting on the Boy Tour in Could 1981

The band confronted a number of challenges in writing their second album, October. On an in any other case profitable American leg of the Boy Tour, Bono’s briefcase containing in-progress lyrics and musical concepts was misplaced backstage throughout a March 1981 efficiency at a nightclub in Portland, Oregon.[41][42] The band had restricted time to jot down new music on tour and in July started a two-month recording session at Windmill Lane Studios largely unprepared,[43] forcing Bono to rapidly improvise lyrics.[41] Lillywhite, reprising his function as producer, referred to as the classes “utterly chaotic and mad”.[44] Octobers lead single, “Fireplace”, was launched in July and was U2’s first track to chart within the UK.[43][45] Regardless of garnering the band an look on UK tv programme High of the Pops, the only fell within the charts afterwards.[41] On 16 August 1981, the group opened for Skinny Lizzy on the inaugural Slane Live performance, however the Edge referred to as it “one of many worst reveals [U2] ever performed in [their] lives”.[43] Including to this era of self-doubt, Bono’s, the Edge’s, and Mullen’s involvement in a Charismatic Christian group in Dublin referred to as the “Shalom Fellowship” led them to query the connection between their spiritual religion and the approach to life of a rock band.[41][46] Bono and the Edge thought of quitting U2 resulting from their perceived religious conflicts earlier than deciding to depart Shalom as a substitute.[41][47]

U2 with radio host Dave Fanning (heart) in February 1982

October was launched in October 1981 and contained overtly religious themes.[48] The album obtained combined critiques and restricted radio play,[49] and though it debuted at quantity 11 within the UK,[48] it offered poorly elsewhere.[50] The one “Gloria” was U2’s first track to have its music video performed on MTV, producing pleasure for the band through the October Tour of 1981–1982 in markets the place the tv channel was obtainable.[51] Through the tour, U2 met Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn,[52] who grew to become their principal photographer and has had a significant affect on their imaginative and prescient and public picture.[53] In March 1982, the band performed 14 dates because the opening act for the J. Geils Band, growing their publicity.[54] Nonetheless, U2 had been disenchanted by their lack of progress by the top of the October Tour. Having run out of cash and feeling unsupported by their document label, the group dedicated to bettering; Clayton recalled that “there was a agency resolve to return out of the field combating with the subsequent document”.[50]

Conflict (1982–1983)

After the October Tour, U2 decamped to a rented cottage in Howth, the place they lived, wrote new songs, and rehearsed for his or her third album, Conflict. Important musical breakthroughs had been achieved by the Edge in August 1982 throughout a two-week interval of impartial songwriting, whereas the opposite band members vacationed and Bono honeymooned along with his spouse, Ali.[55][56] From September to November, the group recorded Conflict at Windmill Lane Studios. Lillywhite, who had a coverage of not working with an artist greater than twice, was satisfied by the group to return as their producer for a 3rd time.[57][58] The recording classes featured contributions from violinist Steve Wickham and the feminine singers of Child Creole and the Coconuts.[57] For the primary time, Mullen agreed to play drums to a click on observe to maintain time.[55] After finishing the album, U2 undertook a brief tour of Western Europe in December.[59]

Conflicts lead single, “New 12 months’s Day”, was launched on 1 January 1983.[60] It reached quantity 10 within the UK and have become the group’s first hit outdoors of Europe; within the US, it obtained intensive radio protection and peaked at quantity 53.[61] Resolving their doubts of the October interval,[62] U2 launched Conflict in February.[61] Critically, the album obtained beneficial critiques, though a couple of UK reviewers had been essential of it.[63] Nonetheless, it was the band’s first industrial success, debuting at primary within the UK, whereas reaching quantity 12 within the US.[61] Conflicts sincerity and “rugged” guitar had been deliberately at odds with the trendier synthpop of the time.[64] A document on which the band “turned pacifism itself right into a campaign”,[65] Conflict was lyrically extra political than their first two information,[66] specializing in the bodily and emotional results of warfare.[57] The album included the protest track “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, by which Bono lyrically tried to distinction the occasions of the 1972 Bloody Sunday taking pictures with Easter Sunday.[55] Different songs from the document addressed matters comparable to nuclear proliferation (“Seconds”) and the Polish Solidarity motion (“New 12 months’s Day”).[67] Conflict was U2’s first document to function Corbijn’s images.[68] The album cowl depicted the identical younger youngster who had appeared on the quilt of their debut album, albeit along with his beforehand harmless expression changed by a fearful one.[61]

U2 playing on an outdoor stage. The Edge is on the left playing guitar, Bono in the center with a microphone, and Adam Clayton on the right playing bass guitar. A drum set is partially visible on the right side.

U2 performing on the US Competition in Could 1983

On the following 1983 Conflict Tour of Europe, the US, and Japan,[61] the band started to play progressively bigger venues, transferring from golf equipment to halls to arenas.[69] Bono tried to interact the rising audiences with theatrical, usually harmful antics, climbing scaffoldings and lighting rigs and leaping into the viewers.[70] The sight of Bono waving a white flag throughout performances of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” grew to become the tour’s iconic picture.[71] The band performed a number of dates at massive European and American music festivals,[60] together with a efficiency on the US Competition on Memorial Day weekend for an viewers of 125,000 individuals.[72] The group’s 5 June 1983 live performance at Purple Rocks Amphitheatre on a rain-soaked night was singled out by Rolling Stone as one in all “50 Moments that Modified the Historical past of Rock and Roll”.[73] The present was recorded for the live performance video Dwell at Purple Rocks and was one in all a number of live shows from the tour captured on their stay album Beneath a Blood Purple Sky.[74] The releases obtained intensive play on MTV and the radio, increasing the band’s viewers and showcasing their prowess as a stay act.[73] Through the tour, the group established a brand new custom by closing live shows with the Conflict observe “40”, throughout which the Edge and Clayton would change devices and the band members would depart the stage one-by-one as the group continued to sing the chorus “How lengthy to sing this track?”.[75][76] The Conflict Tour was U2’s first worthwhile tour, grossing about US$2 million.[77]

The Unforgettable Fireplace and Dwell Assist (1984–1985)

With their document cope with Island Information coming to an finish, U2 signed a extra profitable extension in 1984. They negotiated the return of the copyrights of their songs, a rise of their royalty price, and a basic enchancment in phrases, on the expense of a bigger preliminary fee.[78]

U2 feared that following the overt rock of the Conflict album and tour, they had been in peril of changing into one other “shrill”, “sloganeering arena-rock band”.[79] They had been assured that followers would embrace them as successors to teams just like the Who and Led Zeppelin, however in response to Bono: “one thing simply did not really feel proper. We felt we had extra dimension than simply the subsequent massive something, we had one thing distinctive to supply.”[80] Thus, they sought experimentation for his or her fourth studio album, The Unforgettable Fireplace.[81] Clayton stated, “We had been on the lookout for one thing that was a bit extra critical, extra arty.”[80] The Edge admired the ambient and “bizarre works” of Brian Eno, who, alongside along with his engineer Daniel Lanois, finally agreed to provide the document. Their hiring contravened the preliminary suggestion of Island Information founder Chris Blackwell, who believed that simply when the band had been about to attain the best ranges of success, Eno would “bury them underneath a layer of avant-garde nonsense”.[82]

Partly recorded in Slane Fortress, The Unforgettable Fireplace was launched in October 1984 and was on the time the band’s most marked change in course.[84] It was ambient and summary, and featured a wealthy, orchestrated sound. Beneath Lanois’ course, Mullen’s drumming grew to become looser, funkier, and extra refined, and Clayton’s bass grew to become extra subliminal.[85] Complementing the album’s atmospheric sound, the lyrics had been left open to interpretation, offering what the band referred to as a “very visible really feel”.[84] As a result of a decent recording schedule, Bono felt songs like “Unhealthy” and “Pleasure (Within the Title of Love)” had been incomplete “sketches”.[82] The album reached primary within the UK,[86] and was profitable within the US.[87] The lead single “Pleasure (Within the Title of Love)”, written about civil rights motion chief Martin Luther King Jr., was the band’s greatest hit to that time and was their first track to chart within the US high 40.[88]

U2 performing in Sydney in September 1984 on the Unforgettable Fireplace Tour

A lot of the Unforgettable Fireplace Tour moved into indoor arenas as U2 started to win their lengthy battle to construct their viewers.[89] The complicated textures of the brand new studio-recorded tracks, comparable to “The Unforgettable Fireplace” and “Unhealthy”, posed a problem in translating to stay performances.[84] One answer was programming music sequencers, which the band had beforehand been reluctant to make use of however now incorporate into nearly all of their performances.[84] Songs on the album had been criticised as being “unfinished”, “fuzzy”, and “unfocused”, however had been higher obtained by critics when performed on stage. Rolling Stone, which was essential of the album model of “Unhealthy”, described its stay efficiency as a “present stopper”.[90]

In March 1985, a Rolling Stone cowl story referred to as U2 the “Band of the ’80s”, saying that “for a rising variety of rock-and-roll followers, U2 have change into the band that issues most, perhaps even the one band that issues”.[78] On 13 July 1985, the group carried out on the Dwell Assist live performance at Wembley Stadium for Ethiopian famine reduction,[91] earlier than a crowd of 72,000 followers and a worldwide tv viewers of 1.5 billion individuals.[92][93] Throughout a 12-minute efficiency of “Unhealthy”, Bono climbed down from the stage to embrace and dance with a feminine fan he had picked out of the group,[92] displaying a tv viewers the private connection that he might make with followers.[94] The efficiency was thought to be a pivotal occasion within the band’s profession;[95] The Guardian cited Dwell Assist because the second that made stars of U2 and included their efficiency on a listing of fifty key occasions in rock historical past.[96]

The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum (1986–1990)

The wild magnificence, cultural richness, religious emptiness and ferocious violence of America are explored to driving impact in just about each side of The Joshua Tree—within the title and the quilt artwork, the blues and nation borrowings evident within the music … Certainly, Bono says that ‘dismantling the mythology of America’ is a vital a part of The Joshua Trees creative goal.

 —Anthony DeCurtis[97]

For his or her fifth album, The Joshua Tree, the band needed to construct on The Unforgettable Fireplaces textures, however as a substitute of out-of-focus experimentation, they sought a harder-hitting sound throughout the limitation of standard track buildings.[98] Realising that “U2 had no custom” and that their information of music from earlier than their childhood was restricted, the group delved into American and Irish roots music.[99] Friendships with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Keith Richards motivated Bono to discover blues, people, and gospel music and to deal with his expertise as a songwriter and lyricist.[100] U2 halted the album classes in June 1986 to function a headline act on the Conspiracy of Hope profit live performance tour for Amnesty Worldwide. Moderately than distract the band, the tour invigourated their new materials.[101] The next month, Bono travelled to Nicaragua and El Salvador and noticed first-hand the misery of peasants affected by political conflicts and US army intervention. The expertise grew to become a central affect on their new music.[102]

The tree pictured on The Joshua Tree album sleeve. Adam Clayton stated, “The desert was immensely inspirational to us as a psychological picture for this document.”[103]

The Joshua Tree was launched in March 1987. The album juxtaposes antipathy in direction of US international coverage towards the group’s deep fascination with the nation, its open areas, freedom, and beliefs.[104] The band needed music with a way of location and a “cinematic” high quality, and the document’s music and lyrics draw on imagery created by American writers whose works the band had been studying.[105] The Joshua Tree was critically acclaimed; Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Instances stated the album “confirms on document what this band has been slowly asserting for 3 years now on stage: U2 is what The Rolling Stones ceased being years in the past—the best rock and roll band on this planet”.[106] The document went to primary in over 20 international locations,[107] together with the UK the place it obtained a platinum certification in 48 hours and offered 235,000 copies in its first week, making it the quickest vendor in British chart historical past on the time.[108][109] Within the US, it spent 9 consecutive weeks at primary.[110] The album included the hit singles “With or With out You”, “I Nonetheless Have not Discovered What I am Trying For”, and “The place the Streets Have No Title”, the primary two of which grew to become the group’s solely number-one hits within the US. U2 grew to become the fourth rock band to be featured on the quilt of Time journal,[111] which referred to as them “Rock’s Hottest Ticket”.[112] The album and its songs obtained 4 Grammy Award nominations, profitable for Album of the 12 months and Greatest Rock Efficiency by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[113] Many publications, together with Rolling Stone, have cited it as one in all rock’s biggest.[114] The Joshua Tree Tour was the primary tour on which the band performed reveals in stadiums alongside smaller enviornment reveals.[115] It grossed US$40 million[116] and drew 3 million attendees.[102]

In October 1988, the group launched Rattle and Hum, a double album and theatrically launched documentary movie that captured the band’s experiences with American roots music on the Joshua Tree Tour. The document featured 9 studio tracks and 6 stay U2 performances, together with recordings at Solar Studio in Memphis and collaborations with Dylan and B.B. King. Meant as a tribute to American music,[117] the challenge obtained combined critiques from each movie and music critics; one Rolling Stone editor spoke of the album’s “pleasure”, one other described it as “misguided and bombastic”.[118] The movie’s director, Phil Joanou, described it as “a very pretentious have a look at U2”.[119] Regardless of the criticism, the album offered 14 million copies and reached primary worldwide.[120] Lead single “Need” grew to become the band’s first number-one track within the UK whereas reaching quantity three within the US.[121] Many of the album’s new materials was performed on 1989–1990’s Lovetown Tour, which solely visited Australasia, Japan, and Europe, in order to keep away from the essential backlash the group confronted within the US. As well as, that they had grown dissatisfied with their stay performances; Mullen recalled, “We had been the most important, however we weren’t one of the best”.[122] With a way of musical stagnation, Bono hinted at adjustments to return throughout a 30 December 1989 live performance close to the top of the tour; earlier than a hometown crowd in Dublin, he stated on stage that it was “the top of one thing for U2” and that they needed to “go away and … simply dream all of it up once more”.[123][124]

Achtung Child, Zoo TV, and Zooropa (1990–1993)

Buzzwords on this document had been trashy, throwaway, darkish, horny, and industrial (all good) and earnest, well mannered, candy, righteous, rockist and linear (all dangerous). It was good if a track took you on a journey or made you suppose your hifi was damaged, dangerous if it reminded you of recording studios or U2 …

 —Brian Eno, on the recording of Achtung Child[125]

Stung by the criticism of Rattle and Hum, the band sought to remodel themselves musically.[126] Searching for inspiration from German reunification, they started work on their seventh studio album, Achtung Child, at Berlin’s Hansa Studios in October 1990 with producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno.[127] The classes had been fraught with battle, because the band argued over their musical course and the standard of their materials. Whereas Clayton and Mullen most popular a sound much like U2’s earlier work, Bono and the Edge had been impressed by European industrial music and digital dance music and advocated a change. Weeks of stress and gradual progress almost prompted the group to interrupt up till they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the track “One”.[128] They returned to Dublin in 1991, the place morale improved and nearly all of the album was accomplished.

Achtung Child was launched in November 1991. The album represented a calculated change in musical and thematic course for the group; the shift was one in all their most dramatic since The Unforgettable Fireplace.[130] Sonically, the document integrated influences from various rock, dance, and industrial music of the time, and Bono referred to its musical departure as “4 males chopping down the Joshua Tree”.[131] Thematically, it was a extra introspective and private document; it was darker, but at occasions extra flippant than the band’s earlier work. Commercially and critically, it has been one of many band’s most profitable albums. It produced 5 hit singles, together with “The Fly”, “Mysterious Methods”, and “One”, and it was a vital a part of the band’s early Nineteen Nineties reinvention.[132] In 1993, Achtung Child received the Grammy Award for Greatest Rock Efficiency by a Duo or Group with Vocal.[133] Like The Joshua Tree, many publications have cited the document as one in all rock’s biggest.[114]

Bono with black hair, black sunglasses, and a black leather attire speaking into a microphone.

Bono in March 1992 on the Zoo TV Tour portraying his persona “The Fly”, a leather-clad egomaniac meant to parody rock stardom.

Like Achtung Child, the 1992–1993 Zoo TV Tour was an unequivocal break with the band’s previous. In distinction to the austere stage setups of earlier U2 excursions, Zoo TV was an elaborate multimedia occasion. It satirised the pervasive nature of tv and its blurring of reports, leisure, and residential purchasing by trying to instill “sensory overload” in its viewers.[131][134][135] The stage featured massive video screens that confirmed visible results, random video clips from popular culture, and flashing textual content phrases, together with a lighting system partially made from Trabant vehicles.[136] Whereas U2 had been recognized for his or her earnest performances within the Nineteen Eighties, the group’s Zoo TV performances had been deliberately ironic and self-deprecating.[131] On stage, Bono carried out as a number of over-the-top characters, together with the leather-clad egomaniac “The Fly”,[137] the grasping televangelist “Mirror Ball Man”, and the devilish “MacPhisto”.[138] Prank telephone calls had been made to US President George H. W. Bush, the United Nations, and others. Dwell satellite tv for pc link-ups to war-torn Sarajevo brought on controversy.[139] Zoo TV was the highest-grossing North American tour of 1992, incomes US$67 million.[140]

In June 1993, U2 signed a long-term, six-album deal to stay with Island Information/PolyGram.[141] The Los Angeles Instances estimated that the deal was price US$60 million to the band,[142] making them the highest-paid rock group ever.[143] The next month, the group launched a brand new album, Zooropa. Rapidly recorded throughout a break within the Zoo TV Tour in early 1993, it expanded on lots of the themes from Achtung Child and the tour. Initially supposed to be an EP, Zooropa in the end advanced right into a full-length LP album. It was a good better musical departure for the group, delving additional into digital, industrial, and dance music.[144] Nation musician Johnny Money sang the lead vocals on the closing observe “The Wanderer”. Many of the songs had been performed not less than as soon as through the 1993 legs of the tour, which visited Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan; half the album’s tracks grew to become everlasting fixtures within the setlist.[145] Though the commercially profitable Zooropa received the Grammy Award for Greatest Different Music Album in 1994, the band regard it with combined emotions, as they felt it was extra of “an interlude”.

Clayton’s points with alcohol got here to a head on the ultimate leg of the Zoo TV Tour. After experiencing a blackout, Clayton was unable to carry out for the group’s 26 November 1993 present in Sydney,[146] which served because the gown rehearsal for a worldwide tv broadcast the next night time. Bass guitar technician Stuart Morgan crammed in for him, marking the primary time a member of U2 had missed a live performance since their earliest days.[147] After the incident, Clayton resolved to give up consuming alcohol.[146] The tour concluded the next month in Japan. Total, it tallied 5.3 million in ticket gross sales[148] and US$151 million in gross revenues.[149] Qs Tom Doyle stated in 2002 that Zoo TV was “essentially the most spectacular rock tour staged by any band”.[150]

Passengers, Pop, and PopMart (1994–1998)

In 1995, following a protracted break, U2 contributed “Maintain Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me” to the soundtrack album of the movie Batman Without end.[151] The track was a success, reaching primary in Australia and Eire, quantity two within the UK, and quantity 16 within the US.[152] In November, the band launched an experimental album referred to as Unique Soundtracks 1, a collaboration with Brian Eno, who contributed as a full songwriting companion and performer. As a result of his participation and the document’s extremely experimental nature, the band selected to launch it underneath the moniker “Passengers” to differentiate it from U2’s standard albums.[153] Mullen stated of the discharge: “There is a skinny line between attention-grabbing music and self-indulgence. We crossed it on the Passengers document.”[154] It was commercially unnoticed by U2 requirements and it obtained usually combined critiques.[155] The one “Miss Sarajevo” (that includes Luciano Pavarotti) was amongst Bono’s favorite U2 songs.[156]

U2 started work on their subsequent studio album, Pop, in mid-1995, holding recording classes with Nellee Hooper, Flood, and Howie B. The band combined the contrasting influences of every producer into their music, particularly Howie B’s experiences with electronica and dance music.[157] Mullen was sidelined resulting from again surgical procedure in November,[158] prompting the opposite band members to take completely different approaches to songwriting, comparable to programming drum loops and enjoying to samples supplied by Howie B.[157] Upon Mullen’s return in February 1996, the group started re-working a lot of their materials however struggled to finish songs, inflicting them to overlook their mid-year deadline to finish the document.[159] Additional complicating issues, the band allowed supervisor Paul McGuinness to guide their 1997–1998 PopMart Tour with the album nonetheless in progress;[160] Bono referred to as it “the worst resolution U2 ever made”.[161] Rushed to finish the album, the band delayed its launch date a second time from the 1996 vacation season to March 1997,[159][162] reducing into tour rehearsal time.[24][163] Even with the extra recording time, U2 labored as much as the final minute to finish songs.[157][160]

The PopMart Tour stage featured a golden arch, mirrorball lemon, and 150-foot-long LED display screen. The band emerged from the lemon throughout encores, though it often malfunctioned.

In February 1997,[164] the group launched Pops lead single, “Discothèque”, a dance-heavy track with a music video by which the band wore Village Folks costumes.[165] The track reached primary within the UK, Japan, and Canada, however didn’t chart for lengthy within the US regardless of debuting at quantity 10.[164] Inside days of the only’s launch, the group introduced the PopMart Tour with a press convention within the lingerie part of a Kmart division retailer.[164] Tickets went on sale shortly after, however Pop wouldn’t be launched till March.[166] The album represented U2’s additional exploration of nightclub tradition, that includes heavy, funky dance rhythms.[167] The document drew beneficial critiques.[168] Rolling Stone acknowledged that U2 had “defied the chances and made a few of the biggest music of their lives”.[169] Different critics, although, felt that the album was a significant disappointment.[170] Regardless of debuting at primary in over 30 international locations, Pop dropped off the charts rapidly.[164] Bono admitted that the album “did not talk the way in which it was supposed to”,[161] whereas the Edge referred to as it a “compromise challenge by the top”.[160]

The PopMart Tour commenced in April 1997 and was supposed as a satire of consumerism.[166] The stage included a 100-foot-tall (30 m) golden yellow arch harking back to the McDonald’s emblem, a 40-foot-tall (12 m) mirrorball lemon, and a 150-foot-long (46 m) LED video display screen, on the time the world’s largest.[171] U2’s “massive shtick” did not fulfill many who had been seemingly confused by the band’s new kitsch picture and the tour’s elaborate set.[172] The lowered rehearsal time for the tour affected the standard of early reveals,[173] and in some US markets, the band performed to half-empty stadiums.[174][175] On a number of events, the mirrorball lemon from which the band emerged for the encores malfunctioned, trapping them inside.[176] Regardless of the combined critiques and difficulties of the tour, Bono thought of PopMart to be “higher than Zoo TV aesthetically, and as an artwork challenge it’s a clearer thought.”[177] He later defined, “When that present labored, it was mindblowing.”[178]

The European leg of the tour featured two highlights. The group’s 20 September 1997 present in Reggio Emilia was attended by over 150,000 individuals, which was reported to have set a world document for the most important paying viewers for a one-act present.[179][180] U2 additionally carried out in Sarajevo on 23 September, making them the primary main group to stage a live performance there following the Bosnian Conflict.[181] Mullen described the present as “an expertise I’ll always remember for the remainder of my life, and if I needed to spend 20 years within the band simply to play that present, and have achieved that, I believe it might have been worthwhile.”[182] Bono referred to as the present “one of many hardest and one of many sweetest nights of my life”.[183] The tour concluded in March 1998 with gross revenues of US$173.6 million and three.98 million tickets offered.[184] The next month, U2 appeared on the two hundredth episode of the animated sitcom The Simpsons, by which Homer Simpson disrupts the band on stage throughout a PopMart live performance.[185] In November 1998, U2 launched their first compilation album, The Better of 1980–1990,[186] which featured a re-recording of a 1987 B-side, “Sweetest Factor”, as its single.[187] The album broke a first-week gross sales document within the US for a biggest hits assortment by a bunch,[188] whereas “Sweetest Factor” topped the singles charts in Eire and Canada.[186]

All That You Cannot Go away Behind and Elevation Tour (1998–2002)

Following the combined success of their musical pursuits within the Nineteen Nineties, U2 sought to simplify their sound; the Edge stated that with Pop, the group had “taken the deconstruction of the rock ‘n’ roll band format to its absolute ‘nth diploma”.[189] For his or her tenth album, All That You Cannot Go away Behind, the group needed to return to their outdated recording ethos of “the band in a room enjoying collectively”.[189] Reuniting with Eno and Lanois, U2 started engaged on the album in late 1998.[189][190] After their experiences with being pressured to finish Pop, the band had been content material to work with out deadlines.[189] With Bono’s schedule restricted by his commitments to debt reduction for Jubilee 2000 and the opposite band members spending time with their households, the recording classes stretched by August 2000.[189][191]

Launched in October of that yr, All That You Cannot Go away Behind was seen by critics as a “again to fundamentals” album,[192] on which the group returned to a extra mainstream, standard rock sound.[189][193] For a lot of of these not received over by the band’s forays into dance music, it was thought of a return to grace;[194][195] Rolling Stone referred to as it U2’s “third masterpiece” alongside The Joshua Tree and Achtung Child.[196] The album debuted at primary in 32 international locations[197] and offered 12 million copies.[198] Its lead single, “Stunning Day”, was a worldwide hit, reaching primary in Eire, the UK, Australia, and Canada, whereas peaking at quantity 21 within the US.[199] The track received Grammy Awards for Greatest Rock Efficiency by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Track of the 12 months, and Document of the 12 months.[200] On the awards ceremony, Bono declared that U2 had been “reapplying for the job … [of] one of the best band on this planet”.[201] The album’s different singles had been worldwide hits as properly; “Caught in a Second You Cannot Get Out Of”, “Elevation”, and “Stroll On” reached primary in Canada,[202] whereas charting within the high 5 within the UK and high ten in Australia.[45][203]

After the frilly stadium productions of their earlier two excursions, U2’s 2001 Elevation Tour was a scaled-down affair that featured a heart-shaped stage.

The band’s 2001 Elevation Tour commenced in March, visiting North America and Europe throughout three legs.[204] For the tour, U2 carried out on a scaled-down stage, returning to arenas after almost a decade of stadium productions.[195] Mirroring the album’s themes of “emotional contact, connection, and communication”, the tour’s set was designed to afford the group better proximity to their followers;[205] a heart-shaped catwalk across the stage encircled many viewers members,[206] and pageant seating was supplied within the US for the primary time within the group’s historical past.[207] Through the tour, U2 headlined a pair of Slane Live shows in Eire, enjoying to crowds of 80,000.[208][209] Following the September 11 assaults within the US, All That You Cannot Go away Behind discovered added resonance with American audiences,[210] because the album climbed within the charts and songs comparable to “Stroll On” and “Peace on Earth” garnered radio airplay.[211] In October, U2 carried out at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York Metropolis for the primary time because the assaults. Bono and the Edge stated these reveals had been amongst their most memorable and emotional performances.[210][212] The Elevation Tour was the top-earning North American tour of 2001 with a gross of US$109.7 million, the second-most ever on the time for a North American tour.[213] Globally, it grossed US$143.5 million from 2.18 million tickets offered,[184] making it the yr’s highest-grossing tour total.[214] Spin named U2 the “Band of the 12 months” for 2001, saying that they had “schooled bands half their age about what a rock present might actually accomplish”.[195]

On 3 February 2002, U2 carried out through the Tremendous Bowl XXXVI halftime present. In a tribute to those that died within the September 11 assaults, the victims’ names had been projected onto a backdrop, and on the finish, Bono opened his jacket to disclose an American flag within the lining.[215] Sports activities Illustrated, Rolling Stone, and USA Immediately ranked the band’s efficiency as one of the best halftime present in Tremendous Bowl historical past.[216] Later that month, U2 obtained 4 extra Grammy Awards; All That You Cannot Go away Behind received Greatest Rock Album, whereas “Stroll On” was named Document of the 12 months, marking the primary time an artist had received the latter award in consecutive years for songs from the identical album.[217] In November 2002, the band launched their second compilation, The Better of 1990–2000, which featured a number of remixed Nineteen Nineties songs and two new tracks, together with the only “Electrical Storm”.[218]

Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Vertigo Tour (2003–2006)

In search of a harder-hitting rock sound than that of All That You Cannot Go away Behind,[219] U2 started recording their eleventh studio album, Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, in February 2003 with producer Chris Thomas.[220] After 9 months of labor, the band had an album’s price of fabric prepared for launch, however they weren’t happy with the outcomes; Mullen stated that the songs “had no magic”.[219] The group subsequently enlisted Steve Lillywhite to take over as producer in Dublin in January 2004.[221] Lillywhite, alongside along with his assistant Jacknife Lee, spent six months with the band remodeling songs and inspiring higher performances.[219] A number of different producers obtained credit on the album, together with Lanois, Eno, Flood, Carl Glanville, and Nellee Hooper;[222] Bono acknowledged that the involvement of a number of producers affected the document’s “sonic cohesion”.[223]

Launched in November 2004, Dismantle an Atomic Bomb obtained beneficial critiques from critics.[224] The album featured lyrics bearing on life, dying, love, conflict, religion, and household.[225] It reached primary in 30 international locations,[224] together with the US, the place first-week gross sales of 840,000 copies almost doubled these of All That You Cannot Go away Behind, setting a private finest for the band.[226] Total, it offered 9 million copies globally.[227] For the album’s launch, U2 partnered with Apple for a number of cross-promotions: the primary single, “Vertigo”, was featured in a tv commercial for the corporate’s iPod music participant, whereas a U2-branded iPod and digital field set unique to the iTunes Retailer had been launched.[228] “Vertigo” was a world hit, topping the charts in Eire and the UK,[229] whereas reaching quantity two in Canada and quantity 5 in Australia.[230] The track received three Grammy Awards, together with one for Greatest Rock Track.[231] Different singles from the album had been additionally hits; “Typically You Cannot Make It on Your Personal”, written as a tribute to Bono’s late father, went to primary within the UK and Canada, whereas “Metropolis of Blinding Lights” reached quantity two in each areas.[232] In March 2005, U2 had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame by Bruce Springsteen of their first yr of eligibility.[233][234] Throughout his speech, Springsteen stated the band had “overwhelmed [the odds] by persevering with to do their most interesting work and remaining on the high of their recreation and the charts for 25 years”.[235]

The outside stage of the Vertigo Tour, pictured in June 2005, featured a large LED display screen.

U2’s 2005–2006 Vertigo Tour was preceded by a number of issues. A sudden sickness afflicting the Edge’s daughter almost resulted within the tour’s cancellation, earlier than the group determined to regulate the tour schedule to accommodate her remedy.[236] Moreover, ticket presales on the band’s web site had been plagued with points, as subscribing members encountered technical glitches and restricted ticket availability, partially resulting from scalpers exploiting the system.[237] Commencing in March 2005,[235] the Vertigo Tour consisted of enviornment reveals in North America and stadium reveals internationally throughout 5 legs.[238] The indoor stage changed the heart-shaped ramp of the Elevation Tour with an elliptical one and featured retractable video curtains across the stage,[239] whereas the stadium stage used a large LED video display screen.[240] Setlists on tour assorted greater than within the group’s previous and included songs that they had not performed in many years.[241] Like its predecessor, the Vertigo Tour was a industrial success, rating because the top-earning tour of 2005 with US$260 million grossed.[242]

U2 acting at Madison Sq. Backyard on 21 October 2005

In February 2006, U2 obtained 5 extra Grammy Awards, together with Track of the 12 months for “Typically You Cannot Make It on Your Personal”, and Greatest Rock Album and Album of the 12 months for Dismantle an Atomic Bomb;[243] the awards made the album and its singles winners in all eight classes by which U2 had been nominated, spanning two separate Grammy ceremonies.[244] The group resumed the Vertigo Tour that month with a Latin American leg,[243] on which a number of reveals had been filmed for the live performance movie U2 3D.[245] It was launched in theatres almost two years later,[246] and was the world’s first live-action digital 3D movie.[245] In March, the band postponed the tour’s remaining reveals till the top of the yr as a result of well being of the Edge’s daughter.[243] On 25 September 2006, U2 and Inexperienced Day carried out on the Louisiana Superdome previous to an NFL soccer recreation, the New Orleans Saints’ first residence recreation within the metropolis since Hurricane Katrina. The 2 bands coated the Skids’ track “The Saints Are Coming” through the efficiency and for a profit single,[247] which reached primary in Australia and all through Europe.[248] U2 issued an official autobiography, U2 by U2, that month,[247] adopted in November by their third compilation album, U218 Singles.[249] The Vertigo Tour concluded in December, having offered 4.6 million tickets and having earned US$389 million, the second-highest gross ever on the time.[240]

In August 2006, the band integrated its publishing enterprise within the Netherlands following the capping of Irish artists’ tax exemption at €250,000.[250] The Edge acknowledged that companies usually search to minimise their tax burdens.[251] The transfer was criticised within the Irish parliament.[251][252] The band defended themselves, saying roughly 95{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} of their enterprise befell outdoors Eire, that they had been taxed globally due to this, and that they had been all “private traders and employers within the nation”.[253] Bono later stated, “I believe U2’s tax enterprise is our personal enterprise and I believe it isn’t simply to the letter of the regulation however to the spirit of the regulation.”[254]

No Line on the Horizon and U2 360° Tour (2006–2011)

A concert stage; four large legs curve up above the stage and hold a video screen which is extended down to the band. The legs are lit up in green. The video screen has multi-coloured lights flashing on it. The audience surrounds the stage on all sides.

At 164 ft tall, the stage construction from the U2 360° Tour was the most important ever constructed. The tour grew to become the highest-grossing in historical past, having earned US$736 million.

Recording for U2’s twelfth album, No Line on the Horizon, started with producer Rick Rubin in 2006, however the classes had been short-lived and the fabric was shelved.[255] In Could 2007, the group started new classes with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois in Fez, Morocco, involving the producers as full songwriting companions.[256] Intending to jot down “future hymns”—songs that will be performed endlessly—the group spent two weeks recording in a riad and exploring native music.[257][258] The Edge referred to as it “a really liberating expertise” that “reminded [him] in some ways of early on and why [they] obtained right into a band within the first place. Simply that pleasure of enjoying.”[259] As recording on the album continued in New York, London, and Dublin, the band scaled again their experimental pursuits, which Eno stated “sounded sort of artificial” and weren’t simply married with the group’s sound.[260]

No Line on the Horizon was launched in February 2009, greater than 4 years after Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, marking the longest hole between albums of the band’s profession to that time.[261] It obtained usually constructive critiques, together with their first five-star Rolling Stone overview, however critics discovered it was not as experimental as initially billed.[262] The album debuted at primary in over 30 international locations,[263] however its gross sales of 5 million had been seen as a disappointment by U2 requirements and it didn’t include a success single.[264][265] Following the album’s launch, the band mentioned tentative plans for a follow-up document entitled Songs of Ascent.[266] Bono described the challenge as “a extra meditative album on the theme of pilgrimage”.[257]

The group launched into the U2 360° Tour in June 2009. It was their first stay enterprise for Dwell Nation underneath a 12-year, US$100 million (£50 million) contract signed the yr prior.[267][268] As a part of the deal, the corporate assumed management over U2’s touring, merchandising, and official web site.[269] The 360° Tour live shows featured the band enjoying stadiums “within the spherical” on a round stage, permitting the viewers to encompass them on all sides.[270] To accommodate the stage configuration, a big four-legged construction nicknamed “The Claw” was constructed above the stage, with the sound system and a cylindrical, increasing video display screen on high of it. At 164 ft (50 m) tall, it was the most important stage ever constructed.[271] The tour visited Europe and North America in 2009. On 25 October 2009, U2 set a brand new US document for single live performance attendance for one headline act, performing to 97,014 individuals on the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.[272] In Could 2010, whereas rehearsing for the subsequent leg of the tour, Bono suffered a herniated disk and extreme compression of the sciatic nerve, requiring emergency again surgical procedure.[273] The band had been pressured to postpone the North American leg of the tour and a headlining efficiency on the Glastonbury Competition 2010 till the next yr.[274] After Bono’s restoration, U2 resumed the 360° Tour in August 2010 with legs in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, throughout which they started to play new, unreleased songs stay.[275] By its conclusion in July 2011, U2 360° had set information for the highest-grossing live performance tour (US$736 million) and most tickets offered for a tour (7.3 million).[276]

Songs of Innocence and Innocence + Expertise Tour (2011–2015)

U2 performing on the Apple product launch at which Songs of Innocence was introduced in September 2014

All through the 360° Tour, the band labored on a number of album initiatives, together with: a conventional rock album produced by Hazard Mouse; a dance document produced by RedOne and can.i.am; and Songs of Ascent.[277] Nevertheless, the latter was not accomplished to their satisfaction, and by December 2011, Clayton admitted it might not come to fruition.[278] The classes with Hazard Mouse as a substitute fashioned the muse of U2’s subsequent album, they usually labored with him till Could 2013 earlier than enlisting the assistance of producers Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Declan Gaffney, and Flood. The band suspended work on the album late in 2013 to contribute a brand new track, “Abnormal Love”, to the movie Mandela: Lengthy Stroll to Freedom.[279][280] The observe, written in honour of Nelson Mandela, received the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Greatest Unique Track.[279][281] In November 2013, U2’s long-time supervisor Paul McGuinness stepped down from his submit as a part of a cope with Dwell Nation to accumulate his administration agency, Precept Administration. McGuinness, who had managed the group for over 30 years, was succeeded by Man Oseary.[282] In February 2014, one other new U2 track, the only “Invisible”, debuted in a Tremendous Bowl tv commercial and was made obtainable within the iTunes Retailer without charge to launch a partnership with Product Purple and Financial institution of America to struggle AIDS.[283][284] Bono referred to as the observe a “sneak preview” of their pending document.[285]

On 9 September 2014, U2 appeared at an Apple product launch occasion to make a shock announcement of their thirteenth studio album, Songs of Innocence. They launched it digitally the identical day to all iTunes Retailer clients without charge,[286] making it obtainable to over 500 million individuals in what Apple CEO Tim Prepare dinner referred to as “the most important album launch of all time”.[287] Apple reportedly paid Common Music Group and U2 a lump sum for a five-week exclusivity interval by which to distribute the album[288] and spent US$100 million on a promotional marketing campaign.[287] Songs of Innocence remembers the group members’ youth in Eire, bearing on childhood experiences, loves and losses, whereas paying tribute to their musical inspirations.[289] Bono described it as “essentially the most private album we have written”.[290] The document obtained combined critiques and drew criticism for its digital launch technique; it was robotically added to customers’ iTunes accounts, which for a lot of, triggered an unprompted obtain to their digital gadgets.[291][292][293] Chris Richards of The Washington Publish referred to as the discharge “rock-and-roll as dystopian unsolicited mail”.[294] The group’s press tour for the album was interrupted after Bono was critically injured in a bicycle accident in Central Park on 16 November 2014. He suffered fractures of his shoulder blade, humerus, orbit, and pinky finger,[295] resulting in uncertainty that he would ever have the ability to play guitar once more.[296]

U2 performing in Paris on 7 December 2015, the ultimate date of the Innocence + Expertise Tour. It was filmed for an HBO-broadcast live performance video.

Following Bono’s recuperation, U2 launched into the Innocence + Expertise Tour in Could 2015,[297] visiting arenas in North America and Europe from Could by December.[298] The group structured their live shows round a unfastened autobiographical narrative of “innocence” passing into “expertise”, with a set set of songs for the primary half of every present and a various second half, separated by an intermission—a primary for U2 live shows.[299] The stage spanned the size of the venue flooring and comprised three sections: an oblong major stage, a smaller round B-stage, and a connecting walkway.[299] The centerpiece of the set was a 96-foot-long (29 m) double-sided video display screen that featured an inside catwalk, permitting the band members to carry out amidst the video projections.[300][301] U2’s sound system was moved to the venue ceilings and organized in an oval array, in hopes of bettering acoustics by evenly distributing sound all through the sector.[299] In complete, the tour grossed US$152.2 million from 1.29 million tickets offered.[302] The ultimate date of the tour, one in all two Paris reveals rescheduled as a result of 13 November 2015 assaults within the metropolis, was filmed for the video Innocence + Expertise: Dwell in Paris and broadcast on the American tv community HBO.[303][304]

The Joshua Tree anniversary excursions and Songs of Expertise (2016–2019)

In 2016, U2 labored on their subsequent studio album, Songs of Expertise, which was supposed to be a companion piece to Songs of Innocence.[305] The group had largely accomplished the album by yr’s finish and deliberate to launch it within the fourth quarter, however after the shift of world politics in a conservative course, highlighted by the UK’s Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election, they selected to place the document on maintain and reassess its tone.[306] The group spent the additional time rewriting lyrics, rearranging and remixing songs, and pursuing completely different manufacturing types.[305][307]

The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the eponymous document. It was the highest-grossing tour of the yr, incomes $316 million.

U2 toured in 2017 to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of The Joshua Tree, with every present that includes a efficiency of all the album.[308] It was the primary time the group toured in promotion of an album from their again catalogue, reasonably than a brand new launch.[309] The Edge cited the identical world occasions that brought on the group to delay Songs of Expertise for what he judged to be renewed resonance of The Joshua Trees material and a purpose to revisit it.[308] The tour’s stage featured a 7.6K video display screen measuring 200 ft × 45 ft (61 m × 14 m)[310] that was, in response to The Guardian, the most important and highest decision display screen used on a live performance tour.[311] The tour included a headlining look on the Bonnaroo Music Competition in June.[312] The tour grossed greater than $316 million from over 2.7 million tickets offered,[313] making it the highest-grossing tour of the yr.[314]

Songs of Expertise was launched on 1 December 2017.[315] The primary single, “You are the Greatest Factor About Me”,[316] is one in all many songs from the album which are letters written by Bono to individuals and locations closest to his coronary heart. The private nature of the lyrics displays a “brush with mortality” that he had through the album’s recording.[307][317] In 2018, the group launched into the Expertise + Innocence Tour, starting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on 2 Could 2018.[318] It grossed $126.2 million from 924,000 tickets offered, in response to Billboard.[319]

U2’s Joshua Tree anniversary live performance tour visited Oceania and Asia in 2019, marking the band’s first performances in Australia and New Zealand because the 360° Tour in 2010,[320] and their first ever performances in South Korea, Singapore, India, and the Philippines.[321] The band launched a brand new single, “Ahimsa”, with Indian musician A.R. Rahman to advertise their December live performance in India.[322] The group’s 2019 reveals grossed $73.8 million and offered 567,000 tickets, bringing the cumulative totals for his or her Joshua Tree anniversary excursions to $390.8 million grossed and three.3 million tickets offered.[323]

Musical fashion

U2 acting on the Expertise + Innocence Tour in London in October 2018

Bono’s songwriting displays a penchant for social, political, and private material, whereas sustaining a grandiosity. As well as, the Edge has described U2 as a essentially stay band.[324] U2’s early sound was punk-influenced various rock,[325] and the group had been related to the post-punk motion.[326] Their influences included acts comparable to Tv, Siouxsie and the Banshees,[327] and Pleasure Division, and their ensuing sound was described as containing a “sense of exhilaration” that resulted from the Edge’s “radiant chords” and Bono’s “ardent vocals”.[328] Nevertheless, in response to Bob Stanley, “U2 rejected post-punk’s personal rejection of pop as lingua franca, its hunkering down in regional particularity, and its raised finger to populist communication.”[329] U2 developed a melodic sound underneath the early affect of document producer Steve Lillywhite at a time once they weren’t recognized for musical proficiency.[220] Their songs started as minimalistic and uncomplicated instrumentals heard on Boy and October, earlier than evolving with Conflict to incorporate features of rock anthem, funk, and dance rhythms to change into extra versatile and aggressive.[330] Boy and Conflict had been labelled “muscular and assertive” by Rolling Stone,[79] influenced largely by Lillywhite’s producing. The Unforgettable Fireplace, which started with the Edge enjoying extra keyboards than guitars, in addition to follow-up The Joshua Tree, had Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois on the manufacturing helm. With their affect, each albums achieved a “various texture”.[79] The songs from The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum positioned extra emphasis on Lanois-inspired rhythm as they combined distinct and assorted types of gospel and blues music, which stemmed from the band’s burgeoning fascination with America’s tradition, individuals and locations.

Within the Nineteen Nineties, U2 reinvented themselves as they started utilizing synthesisers, distortion, and digital beats derived from noise music, dance, and hip-hop on Achtung Child,[118] Zooropa, and Pop.[331] Based on Stephen Thomas Erlewine, “U2 was in a position to maintain their reputation within the ’90s by reinventing themselves as a post-modern, self-consciously ironic dance-influected pop-rock act, owing equally to the experimentalism of late ’70s Bowie and ’90s digital dance and techno”.[332] They’ve additionally been referred to as a pop-rock band by biographer Michael Heatley[333] and musicologist Gerry Smyth.[334] The band’s Nineteen Nineties output has been thought to be an artwork rock part in commentaries by biographer John Jobling,[335] Salon journalist Nico Lang,[336] and music critic Jim DeRogatis,[337] in addition to in an interview by Bono.[338] Time journal’s Josh Tyrangiel went additional in saying that, “Within the towering interval that spanned The Joshua Tree to Zooropa, U2 made stadium-size artwork rock with large melodies that allowed Bono to throw his arms all over the world whereas bending its ear about social justice.”[339]

Within the 2000s, U2 returned to extra stripped-down rock and pop sounds,[340] with extra standard rhythms and lowered utilization of synthesisers and results,[341] “reinvent[ing] themselves as a top quality pop band”, in response to music journalist Chris Charlesworth.[342] U2’s music has been thought to be pop in analyses by writers David Hawke,[343] Robert Christgau,[344] and Niall Stokes.[345] In an interview with Stokes for Sizzling Press, Bono defined the band’s struggles within the Nineteen Eighties amongst high-brow circles who patronized them for being a profitable pop group, resulting in their embrace of the time period “pop” by the Nineteen Nineties.[345] Reviewing their 2000 album All That You Cannot Go away Behind, Christgau remarked that, “since they’d been calling themselves pop for half of their two-decade run, perhaps they’d higher sit down and write some catchy songs. In order that they did.”[344] Summing up U2’s stylistic evolution since Boy, Guitar journalist Owen Bailey stated that they “have gone on to overcome the world’s airwaves and arenas in plenty of completely different incarnations, starting from earnest, politically charged new-wave flagbearers to wide-eyed art-rock musicologists to purveyors of irony-laden alt-rock and ever onward”, with the Edge remaining “on the coronary heart of their sound”.[346]


Bono performing in Amsterdam in July 2017

Bono is understood for his impassioned vocal fashion, usually delivered in a excessive register by open-throated belting.[106][347][348][349] Bono has been labeled as a tenor,[350][351] and in response to him has a three-octave vocal vary;[352] one evaluation discovered it to span from C2 to G5 on studio recordings over the course of his profession.[353] He ceaselessly employs “whoa-oh-oh” vocalisations in his singing.[354] Rock musician Billie Joe Armstrong of Inexperienced Day stated: “He is a bodily singer, just like the chief of a gospel choir, and he will get misplaced within the melodic second. He goes to a spot outdoors himself, particularly in entrance of an viewers, when he hits these excessive notes.” He added that Bono is “not afraid to transcend what he is able to”.[355]

Within the early days of U2, Bono unintentionally developed an English vocal accent because of him mimicking his musical influences comparable to Siouxsie and the Banshees.[356] “I nonetheless suppose that I sing like Siouxsie from The Banshees on the primary two U2 albums. However I discovered my voice by Joey Ramone at that gig in Dublin. I stood there and heard him singing. He sang a bit like a woman too. It was all going to be OK in spite of everything. That was my approach in.”[357] His vocal fashion advanced through the band’s exploration of roots music for The Joshua Tree; Spin stated that he discovered to command “the complete whisper-to-shout vary of blues mannerisms”.[358] Bono attributed this maturation to “loosening up”, “uncover[ing] different voices”, and using extra restraint in his singing.[359] For “The place the Streets Have No Title”, Bono assorted the timbre of his voice extensively and used rubato to fluctuate its timing,[360] whereas creator Susan Quick discovered “With or With out You” to be the primary observe on which he “prolonged his vocal vary downward in an considerable approach”.[361]

Bono continued to discover a decrease vary within the Nineteen Nineties, utilizing what Quick described as “breathy and subdued colours” for Achtung Child.[362] One method used on the album is octave doubling, by which his vocals are sung in two completely different octaves, both concurrently or alternating between verses and choruses. Based on Quick, this method introduces “a contrasting lyrical thought and vocal character to ship it”, resulting in each literal and ironic interpretations of Bono’s vocals.[363] On tracks comparable to “Zoo Station” and “The Fly”, his vocals had been extremely processed,[350][364][365] giving them a special emotional really feel from his earlier work.[366] Bono stated that reducing his voice helped him discover a new vocal vocabulary, which he felt was restricted to “sure phrases and tones” by his tenor voice.[367] His singing on Zooropa was an ever additional departure from U2’s earlier fashion; all through the document, Bono “underplay[ed] his lung energy”, in response to Jon Pareles,[368] and he additionally used an operatic falsetto he calls the “Fats Girl” voice on the tracks “Lemon” and “Numb”.[369][370]


The Edge enjoying his signature guitar, the Gibson Explorer

The Edge’s fashion of enjoying guitar is distinguished by his chiming timbres,[371][372] echoing notes,[37] sparse voicings,[373] and intensive use of results models.[374] He favours the right fifth interval and sometimes performs chords consisting of simply two notes, the fifth and the foundation be aware, whereas eliminating the third.[375][376] This fashion is just not explicitly in a minor or main key, however implies each, making a musical ambiguity.[375][37] For these chords, he usually performs the identical notes on a number of strings, a few of that are left open, creating an Irish-influenced drone.[324][372][377] In opposition to this drone, he modifies different notes to indicate a concord.[378][379] Among the many Edge’s signature methods are enjoying arpeggios,[29][378] sixteenth be aware percussive strumming,[380] and harmonics,[375] the latter of which he described as “so pure and finely-focused that [they have] the unimaginable potential to pierce by [their] atmosphere of sound, identical to lightning”.[324] His strategy to guitar enjoying is comparatively understated and eschews virtuosity in favour of “atmospherics, subtlety, minimalism, and intelligent sign processing”.[381] Moderately than emulate widespread enjoying types, the Edge is concerned with “tearing up the rule guide” and discovering new methods to strategy the instrument.[37] He cited guitarists comparable to Tom Verlaine of Tv, Rory Gallagher, and Patti Smith as a few of his strongest influences.[382][324]

The Edge’s guitar sound is ceaselessly modulated with a delay set to a dotted eighth be aware for rhythmic impact.[372][383][384] After buying his first delay pedal, the Electro-Harmonix Reminiscence Man,[26] he grew to become fascinated with use its return echo to “fill in notes that [he’s] not enjoying, like two guitar gamers reasonably than one”.[385] The impact unit grew to become a mainstay in his guitar rig and had a big influence on the band’s inventive output.[26] The Edge grew to become recognized for his intensive use of results models, and for his meticulous nature in crafting particular sounds and guitar tones from his gear decisions.[374][386] Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Web page referred to as him a “sonic architect”,[385] whereas Neil McCormick described him as an “results maestro”.[387] Critics have variously referred to the Edge’s guitar sounds as evoking the picture of fighter planes on “Bullet the Blue Sky”,[388] resembling a “dentist’s drill” on “Love Is Blindness”,[365] and resembling an “airplane turbine” on “Mofo”.[389] The Edge stated that reasonably than utilizing results merely to switch his sound, he makes use of them to spark concepts throughout his songwriting course of.[383]

The Edge developed his enjoying fashion throughout his teenage years, partially because of him and Mullen making an attempt to accommodate the “eccentric” bass enjoying of Clayton by being the timekeepers of the band.[375] Of their early days, the Edge’s solely guitar was his 1976 Gibson Explorer Restricted Version,[383][390] which grew to become a signature of the group.[391] Nevertheless, he discovered the sound of the Explorer’s bass strings unsatisfactory and averted them in his enjoying early on, leading to a trebly sound. He stated by focusing “on one space of the fretboard [he] was growing a really stylized approach of doing one thing that another person would play in a traditional approach”.[392] Different gear decisions contribute to the Edge’s distinctive sound. His 1964 Vox AC30 “High Increase” amplifier (housed in a Seventies cupboard) is favoured for its “sparkle” tone, and is the idea for his sound each within the studio and stay.[386] Moderately than maintain his plectrum with an ordinary grip, the Edge turns it sideways or the wrong way up to make use of the dimpled edge towards the strings, producing a “rasping high finish” to his tone.[37]

Rhythm part

As a rhythm part, Mullen and Clayton usually play the identical patterns, giving U2’s music a driving,[393][394] pulsating beat[395] that serves as a basis for the Edge’s guitar work.[394][396] For his drumming, Mullen locks into the Edge’s guitar enjoying, whereas Clayton locks his bass enjoying into Mullen’s drumming.[397] Writer Invoice Flanagan stated that their enjoying types completely mirrored their personalities: “Larry is true on high of the beat, a bit forward—as you’d anticipate from a person who’s so ordered and punctual in his life. Adam performs slightly behind the beat, ready until the final second to slide in, which inserts Adam’s informal, don’t-sweat-it persona.”[398]

Mullen in November 2019

Mullen’s drumming fashion is influenced by his expertise in marching bands throughout his adolescence,[399][400] which helped contribute to the militaristic beats of songs comparable to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.[55] Flanagan stated that he performs “with a martial rigidity however makes use of his package in a approach a correctly educated drummer wouldn’t”; he tends to transition from the snare drum onto tom-toms positioned on both facet of him, contrasting with how they’re historically used.[398] Mullen often rides a tom-tom the way in which different drummers would play a cymbal, or rides the hi-hat how others would play a snare.[400] He admitted his bass drum method is just not a power, as he largely performed the snare in marching bands and didn’t be taught to correctly mix the separate drumming parts collectively on a full package. Consequently, he makes use of a flooring tom to his left to create the impact of a bass drum. He stated, “I could not do what most individuals would think about a traditional beat for the track, so I selected options.” He was closely influenced by glam rock acts of the Seventies when first studying to play drums.[399] Within the early days of U2, Mullen had what Bono referred to as a “florid” drumming fashion, earlier than he finally adopted a philosophy of simplicity and pared down his rhythms.[400][401] His drumming leaves open house, owing to what Fashionable Drummer described as his understanding of “when to hit and when to not hit”.[400] As he matured as a timekeeper, he developed a preternatural sense of rhythm; Eno recounted one event when Mullen seen that his click on observe had been set incorrectly by simply six milliseconds.[402] Beneath the tutelage of Lanois, Mullen discovered extra about his musical function because the drummer in filling out the band’s sound, whereas Flood helped Mullen be taught to play together with digital parts comparable to drum machines and samples.[399] His package has a tambourine mounted on a cymbal stand,[403] which he makes use of as an accent on sure beats for songs comparable to “With or With out You”.[400][404]

Clayton in October 2018

Clayton’s fashion of bass guitar enjoying is famous for what teacher Patrick Pfeiffer referred to as “harmonic syncopation”. With this method, Clayton performs a constant rhythm that stresses the eighth be aware of every bar, however he “anticipates the concord by shifting the tonality” earlier than the guitar chords do. This offers the music a sense of “ahead movement”.[405] Within the band’s early years, Clayton had no formal musical coaching,[406] and he usually performed easy bass components in 4
time consisting of regular eighth notes emphasising the roots of chords.[407] Over time, he integrated influences from Motown and reggae into his enjoying fashion, and as he grew to become a greater timekeeper, his enjoying grew to become extra melodic.[407] Flanagan stated that he “usually performs with the swollen, vibrating backside sound of a Jamaican dub bassist, overlaying essentially the most sonic house with the smallest variety of notes”.[398] Clayton depends on his personal instincts when growing basslines, deciding whether or not to comply with the chord progressions of the guitars or play a counter-melody, and when to play an octave increased or decrease.[397] He cites bassists comparable to Paul Simonon, Bruce Foxton, Peter Hook, Jean-Jacques Burnel,[407] and James Jamerson as main influences on him.[408] Describing his function within the rhythm part, Clayton’s stated, “Larry’s drums have all the time instructed me what to play, after which the chords inform me the place to go”.[407]

Lyrics and themes

A light-skinned man with brown hair singing into a microphone on a stand, which has a flag draped over it. His shirt and trousers are both grey and feature a design of many overlapping circles. He faces to the right. A line of women stand behind him, each one holding up a sign that says"Donde Estan" or"Justcia". Every sign has an image of a different person below the text.

U2 performing “Moms of the Disappeared” in Chile in 1998 with the households of Detenidos Desaparecidos. The track was written as a tribute to the ladies whose youngsters had been killed or forcibly disappeared by the hands of the Pinochet dictatorship.[409][410]

U2’s lyrics are recognized for his or her social and political themes, and are sometimes embellished with Christian and religious imagery.[411] Songs comparable to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “Silver and Gold”, and “Moms of the Disappeared” had been motivated by present occasions of the time. The primary was written concerning the Troubles in Northern Eire,[412] whereas the final was a tribute to COMADRES, the ladies whose youngsters had been killed or forcibly disappeared by the hands of the Salvadoran authorities through the nation’s civil conflict.[413] The track “Operating to Stand Nonetheless” from The Joshua Tree was impressed by the heroin habit that was sweeping by Dublin—the lyric “I see seven towers, however I solely see a method out” references the Ballymun Towers of Dublin’s Northside and the imagery all through the track personifies the struggles of habit.[414]

Bono’s private conflicts and turmoil impressed songs like “Mofo”, “Tomorrow” and “Kite”. An emotional craving or pleading ceaselessly seems as a lyrical theme,[415] in tracks comparable to “Yahweh”,[416] “Peace on Earth”, and “Please”. A lot of U2’s songwriting and music can also be motivated by contemplations of loss and anguish, coupled with hopefulness and resilience, themes which are central to The Joshua Tree.[79] A few of these lyrical concepts have been amplified by Bono and the band’s private experiences throughout their youth in Eire, in addition to Bono’s campaigning and activism later in his life. U2 have used excursions comparable to Zoo TV and PopMart to caricature social tendencies, comparable to media overload and consumerism, respectively.[331]

Whereas the band and its followers usually affirm the political nature of their music, U2’s lyrics and music have been criticised as apolitical due to their vagueness and “fuzzy imagery”, and a scarcity of any particular references to precise individuals or characters.[417]


The band cites the Who,[418] the Conflict,[419] Tv,[25] Ramones,[420] The Beatles,[421] Pleasure Division,[422] Siouxsie and the Banshees,[423] Elvis Presley,[424] Patti Smith,[425] and Kraftwerk[426] as influences. As well as, Van Morrison has been cited by Bono as an affect,[427] and the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame talked about his affect on U2.[428] U2 have additionally labored with and/or had influential relationships with artists together with Johnny Money, Inexperienced Day, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, B.B. King, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Luciano Pavarotti.[429] Bono stated that David Bowie helped him uncover the works of Bertolt Brecht, William Burroughs, Springsteen, and Brian Eno.[430]

Activism and philanthropy

Bono with then-US President George W. Bush in 2006

Because the early Nineteen Eighties, the members of U2—as a band and individually—have collaborated with different musicians, artists, celebrities, and politicians to handle points regarding poverty, illness, and social injustice.

In 1984, Bono and Clayton participated in Band Assist to boost cash for the 1983–85 famine in Ethiopia. This initiative produced the hit charity single “Do They Know It is Christmas?”, which might be the primary of a number of collaborations between U2 and Bob Geldof. In July 1985, U2 carried out at Dwell Assist, a follow-up to Band Assist’s efforts. Bono and his spouse Ali, invited by World Imaginative and prescient, visited Ethiopia that yr the place they witnessed the famine first-hand. Bono later stated that this laid the groundwork for his Africa campaigning and a few of his songwriting.[201][341] In 1986, U2 participated within the Self Assist profit live performance for unemployment in Eire and the Conspiracy of Hope profit live performance tour in assist of Amnesty Worldwide. The identical yr, Bono and Ali additionally visited Nicaragua and El Salvador on the invitation of the Sanctuary motion and noticed the results of the Salvadoran Civil Conflict. These 1986 occasions drastically influenced The Joshua Tree album, which was being recorded on the time.[101][102]

Throughout their Zoo TV Tour in 1992, U2 participated within the “Cease Sellafield” live performance with Greenpeace to protest a nuclear gasoline reprocessing plant.[431] Occasions in Sarajevo through the Bosnian Conflict impressed the track “Miss Sarajevo”, which premiered at a September 1995 Pavarotti and Mates present, and which Bono and the Edge carried out at Conflict Youngster.[158] U2 fulfilled a 1993 promise to play in Sarajevo through the PopMart Tour in 1997.[175] The next yr, they carried out in Belfast days previous to the vote on the Good Friday Settlement, bringing Northern Irish political leaders David Trimble and John Hume on stage to advertise the settlement.[432] Later that yr, all proceeds from the discharge of the “Sweetest Factor” single went in direction of supporting the Chernobyl Youngsters’s Mission.[433]

U2 with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in 2011 (from left to proper): Mullen, Bono, Rousseff, Clayton, and the Edge

The band devoted their 2000 track “Stroll On” to Burma’s pro-democracy chief Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been underneath home arrest since 1989.[434] In late 2003, Bono and the Edge participated within the South Africa HIV/AIDS consciousness 46664 collection of live shows hosted by Nelson Mandela.[435] In 2005, the band performed the Dwell 8 live performance in London, which Geldof helped stage on the twentieth anniversary of Dwell Assist to assist the Make Poverty Historical past marketing campaign. The band and supervisor Paul McGuinness had been awarded Amnesty Worldwide’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for his or her work in selling human rights.[436]

Since 2000, Bono’s campaigning has included Jubilee 2000 with Geldof, Muhammad Ali, and others to advertise the cancellation of third-world debt through the Nice Jubilee. In January 2002, Bono co-founded the multinational NGO DATA, with the goal of bettering the social, political, and monetary state of Africa. He continued his campaigns for debt and HIV/AIDS reduction into June 2002 by making high-profile visits to Africa.[437] Product Purple, a for-profit licensed model in search of to boost cash for the World Fund, was co-founded by Bono in 2006.[438] The ONE Marketing campaign, initially the US counterpart of Make Poverty Historical past, was formed by his efforts and imaginative and prescient.

In November 2005, the Edge and producer Bob Ezrin helped introduce Music Rising, an initiative to exchange devices for musicians within the New Orleans space impacted by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.[439] In 2006, U2 collaborated with pop punk band Inexperienced Day to document a remake of the track “The Saints Are Coming” by the Skids to learn Music Rising.[440] A stay model of the track recorded on the Louisiana Superdome was launched on the only.

On the third iHeartRadio Music Awards in April 2016, U2 had been honored with the Innovator Award for his or her “influence on common tradition and dedication to social causes.”[441] In April 2020, the group donated €10 million to buy private protecting gear for Irish healthcare employees working through the COVID-19 pandemic.[442] The band additionally donated US$1.5 million to ease the influence of the pandemic on the music trade, together with a €200,000 donation to the Songs from an Empty Room fundraiser.[443]

Bono has obtained plenty of awards for his music and activism, together with the Legion of Honour from the French Authorities in 2003,[444] Times Individual of the 12 months for 2005 (together with Invoice Gates and Melinda Gates),[445] and an honorary British knighthood in 2007.[446] Some information sources have questioned the efficacy of Bono’s marketing campaign to alleviate debt and supply help to Africa.[447]

Different initiatives and collaborations

The members of U2 have undertaken facet initiatives, typically in collaboration with a few of their bandmates. In 1985, Bono recorded the track “In a Lifetime” with the Irish band Clannad. The Edge recorded a solo soundtrack album for the movie Captive, which was launched in 1986[448] and included a vocal efficiency by Sinéad O’Connor on the track “Heroine” that predates her personal debut album by a yr. Bono and the Edge wrote the track “She’s a Thriller to Me” for Roy Orbison, which was featured on his 1989 album Thriller Lady.[449] In 1990, Bono and the Edge supplied the unique rating to the Royal Shakespeare Firm London stage adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. One observe, “Alex Descends into Hell for a Bottle of Milk/Korova 1”, was on the B-side to “The Fly” single.[450][451] That very same yr, Mullen produced and performed drums on “Put ‘Em Beneath Strain”, a track for the Irish nationwide soccer group for the 1990 FIFA World Cup; the track topped the Irish charts for 13 weeks.[452]

Bono and the Edge wrote the track “GoldenEye” for the 1995 James Bond movie GoldenEye, which was carried out by Tina Turner.[453] Clayton and Mullen reworked the “Theme from Mission: Not possible” for the franchise’s 1996 movie.[454] Bono loaned his voice to “Pleasure” on Mick Jagger’s 2001 album Goddess within the Doorway.[455] Bono additionally recorded a spare, almost spoken-word model of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the Tower of Track compilation in 1995. Moreover, in 1998, Bono collaborated with Kirk Franklin and Crystal Lewis together with R. Kelly and Mary J. Blige for a profitable gospel track referred to as “Lean on Me”.

Except for musical collaborations, U2 have labored with a number of authors. American creator William S. Burroughs had a visitor look in U2’s video for “Final Evening on Earth” shortly earlier than he died.[456] Video footage of him studying his poem “Thanksgiving Prayer” was used throughout a Zoo TV Tour tv particular.[457] Different collaborators embrace William Gibson and Allen Ginsberg.[458] In early 2000, the band contributed three songs to The Million Greenback Resort film soundtrack, together with “The Floor Beneath Her Toes”, whose lyrics are taken from Salman Rushdie’s guide of the identical identify.[459]

In 2007, Bono appeared within the movie Throughout the Universe and carried out songs by The Beatles.[460] Bono and the Edge additionally wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Flip Off the Darkish.[461] Moreover, the Edge created the theme track for seasons one and two of the animated tv collection The Batman.[462]

In April 2017, U2 had been featured on a Kendrick Lamar track, “XXX”, from his album DAMN.[463]


The Edge and Bono clothed in leather jackets, as the Edge holds a guitar vertically. A large dangling light bulb hangs between them.

Rolling Stone ranked the Edge and Bono among the many biggest guitarists and singers, respectively.

U2 have offered an estimated 150–170 million information worldwide, inserting them among the many best-selling music artists in historical past.[1] The group’s fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree, is likely one of the best-selling albums within the US (10 million copies shipped) and worldwide (25 million copies offered).[464][465] With 52 million licensed models by the RIAA, U2 rank because the Twenty second-highest-selling music artist within the US.[466] U2 have eight albums which have reached primary within the US, the third-most of any group. They had been the primary group to realize number-one albums within the US within the Nineteen Eighties, Nineteen Nineties, 2000s, and 2010s.[467] Within the UK, the group have had seven number-one singles, tied for the Sixteenth-most of any artist, and ten number-one albums, tied for the Eighth-most of any artist. The band’s 1,465 weeks spent on the UK music charts ranks Sixteenth all-time.[45] Of their native Eire, U2 maintain the document for many number-one singles with 19.[468]

Within the Nineteen Eighties, U2 “dominated the choice rock scene”, in response to cultural critic Kevin J. H. Dettmar.[469] Equally, within the subsequent decade, they had been one of the well-known various rock bands worldwide and among the many highest-selling rock bands.[470] Document gross sales declined within the 2000s and the music trade entered an age of usually unlawful digital downloading, however in response to creator Mat Snow, U2 prospered greater than youthful acts due to a loyal following that held an attachment to the album format. Snow stated, “Youngsters of the album period as they had been, U2 would by no means cease relating to the album because the core assertion of their creativity”, regardless of progressively lowering gross sales, whereas he famous that stay reveals consequently grew to become the group’s biggest income.[471]

Based on Billboard Boxscore, the band grossed US$1.67 billion in ticket gross sales from 1990 to 2016, second solely to The Rolling Stones.[472] U2 had been the one group within the high 25 touring acts from 2000 to 2009 to promote out each present they performed.[473] Based on Pollstar, the band grossed $1.038 billion and offered 9,300,500 tickets from 255 reveals performed between 2010 and November 2019, incomes the publication’s title of touring artist of the 2010s decade; U2 had been the one artist to surpass $1 billion grossed throughout that span.[474] Forbes estimates that the group earned US$78 million between Could 2011 and Could 2012, making them the fourth-highest-paid musical artist.[475] The Sunday Instances 2020 Irish Wealthy Record estimated the group’s collective wealth at €670 million.[476]

U2 are thought to be one of many biggest pop-rock acts of all time.[477] Rolling Stone positioned U2 at quantity 22 on its listing of “The 100 Biggest Artists of All Time”,[2] whereas rating Bono the Thirty second-greatest singer,[355] the Edge the Thirty eighth-greatest guitarist,[478] and Mullen the 96th-greatest drummer.[479] The journal positioned Bono and the Edge at quantity 35 on its listing of the “100 Biggest Songwriters of All Time”.[480] In 2004, Q ranked U2 because the fourth-biggest band in a listing compiled based mostly on album gross sales, time spent on the UK charts, and largest viewers for a headlining present.[481] VH1 positioned U2 at quantity 19 on its 2010 listing of “The 100 Biggest Artists of All Time”.[482] In 2010, eight of U2’s songs appeared on Rolling Stones up to date listing of “The five hundred Biggest Songs of All Time”, with “One” rating the best at quantity 36.[483] 5 of the group’s twelve studio albums had been ranked on the journal’s 2012 listing of “The five hundred Biggest Albums of All Time”—The Joshua Tree positioned the best at quantity 27.[114] Reflecting on the band’s reputation and worldwide influence, Jeff Pollack for The Huffington Publish stated, “like The Who earlier than them, U2 wrote songs about issues that had been essential and resonated with their viewers”.[484] Houston Press journalist John Seaborn Grey attributed U2’s pioneering influence on pop-rock music largely to the Edge’s distinctive guitar fashion.[485]

U2 obtained their first Grammy Award in 1988 for The Joshua Tree, they usually have received 22 in complete out of 46 nominations,[113] greater than every other group.[486] These embrace Greatest Rock Efficiency by a Duo or Group, Album of the 12 months, Document of the 12 months, Track of the 12 months, and Greatest Rock Album. Within the UK, U2 have obtained 7 Brit Awards out of 20 nominations from the British Phonographic Trade, together with 5 wins for Greatest Worldwide Group. They had been the primary worldwide group to win the Brit Award for Excellent Contribution to Music.[487] In Eire, U2 have received 14 Meteor Awards because the awards started in 2001. Different awards received by the band and their members embrace one American Music Award, six MTV Video Music Awards, eleven Q Awards, two Juno Awards, 5 NME Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. The band had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in March 2005.[233] In 2006, all 4 members of the band obtained ASCAP awards for writing the songs “I Nonetheless Have not Discovered What I am Trying For” and “Vertigo”.[488]

Band members

U2 in November 2019 (from left to proper): The Edge, Bono, Clayton, Mullen

Present members

  • Bono – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica (1976–current)
  • The Edge – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1976–current)
  • Adam Clayton – bass guitar (1976–current)
  • Larry Mullen Jr. – drums, percussion (1976–current)

Former members

  • Dik Evans – guitar (1976–1978)
  • Ivan McCormick – guitar (1976)


  • Boy (1980)
  • October (1981)
  • Conflict (1983)
  • The Unforgettable Fireplace (1984)
  • The Joshua Tree (1987)
  • Rattle and Hum (1988)
  • Achtung Child (1991)
  • Zooropa (1993)
  • Pop (1997)
  • All That You Cannot Go away Behind (2000)
  • Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
  • No Line on the Horizon (2009)
  • Songs of Innocence (2014)
  • Songs of Expertise (2017)

Live performance excursions

The Edge through the band’s Zoo TV Tour in November 1993

  • U2-3 Tour (1979–1980)
  • 11 O’Clock Tick Tock Tour (1980)
  • Boy Tour (1980–1981)
  • October Tour (1981–1982)
  • Conflict Tour (1982–1983)
  • The Unforgettable Fireplace Tour (1984–1985)
  • The Joshua Tree Tour (1987)
  • Lovetown Tour (1989–1990)
  • Zoo TV Tour (1992–1993)
  • PopMart Tour (1997–1998)
  • Elevation Tour (2001)
  • Vertigo Tour (2005–2006)
  • U2 360° Tour (2009–2011)
  • Innocence + Expertise Tour (2015)
  • The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 (2017)
  • Expertise + Innocence Tour (2018)
  • The Joshua Tree Tour 2019 (2019)



  • Bayles, Martha (1994). Gap in Our Soul: Lack of Magnificence and Which means in American In style Music. New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-901962-7.
  • Chatterton, Mark (2001). U2: The Full Encyclopedia. London: Firefly Publishing. ISBN 978-0-946719-41-9.
  • Cogan, Višnja (2008). U2: An Irish Phenomenon. New York: Pegasus Books. ISBN 978-1-933648-71-2.
  • Calhoun, Scott (2009). U2 and the Spiritual Impulse: Take Me Increased. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781350032569.
  • de la Parra, Pimm Jal (2003). U2 Dwell: A Live performance Documentary (Up to date ed.). London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-7119-9198-9.
  • Flanagan, Invoice (1995). U2 on the Finish of the World. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN 978-0-385-31154-0.
  • Graham, Invoice; van Oosten de Boer, Caroline (2004). U2: The Full Information to Their Music. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-7119-9886-5.
  • Gulla, Bob (2009). Guitar Gods: The 25 Gamers who Made Rock Historical past. Westport: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-35806-7.
  • Jobling, John (2014). U2: The Definitive Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 978-1-250-02789-4.
  • MacDonald, Bruno (2014). The Biggest Albums You may By no means Hear. London: Aurum Press. ISBN 978-1-78131-219-3.
  • McGee, Matt (2008). U2: A Diary. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84772-108-2.
  • McPherson, Alan (2015). The World and U2: One Band’s Remaking of World Activism. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-4933-2.
  • Reynolds, Simon (2006). Rip It Up and Begin Once more: Postpunk 1978–1984. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-303672-2.
  • Rolling Stone (1994). U2: The Final Compendium of Interviews, Articles, Info and Opinions from the Recordsdata of Rolling Stone. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 978-0-283-06239-1.
  • Snow, Mat (2014). U2: Revolution. New York: Race Level Publishing. ISBN 978-1-937994-99-0.
  • Stokes, Niall (1996). Into the Coronary heart: The Tales Behind Each U2 Track. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-719668-5.
  • U2 (2006). McCormick, Neil (ed.). U2 by U2. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-719668-7.
  • Younger, Clive (2004). Crank It Up: Dwell Sound Secrets and techniques of the High Tour Engineers. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-879-30778-3.

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