HISTORY OF U2
The Formation Of The Band
The formation of the greatest rock band of the 80's, 90's and coming 00's
started in 1978 at the Dublin's Mount Temple High School, when Larry
Mullen posted an ad to start a Band.
Paul Hewson (Bono Vox) reacted to this ad to become the singer of the band, but in fact Paul couldn't sing. Adam Clayton reacted to become the bass player. Now that there was a drummer, a lead singer and a bass player, all that was needed next was a lead guitar player. Dave Evans (The Edge) and his brother Dick responded to join the group.
The 5 call themselves "Feedback". Later changed to "The Hype". It is then when Dick Evans decides to leave "The Hype" to join the "Virgin Prunes". It's only then that the band plays it's first concert, live at Dublin's Mount Temple Comprehensive School. The basis for the greatest Rock band ever has been laid.
In 1978, they decide, during two halves of a show, to change the name of the band one more time. Enter "U2".
The First Steps To Success
Later that same year, they make their first major appearance in a talent show,
sponsored by Harp Lager and The Evening Press, in Limerick. Their first appearance
is one to remember as they won the first price, a demo session with CBS Sony.
During summer of 1978, they produced a demo tape which included the song
"Shadows and Tall Trees".
In 1979 U2 signs a record deal with CBS Ireland and produce a three track EP containing the songs "Street Missions", "Shadows and Tall Trees" and "The Fool".
Up And Coming
In the same year U2 releases "U23", which reached number one in the Irish charts.
Only three days later it became the biggest selling 12" record ever in Ireland.
A lot of big record companies sent out scouts to offer U2 a gig, but none of them
had the guts yet to offer them an important contract.
The success continues in 1980 where U2 finishes first in five categories in the "Hot Press" Annual Readers Poll even though they still have not signed a major record deal.
In February, 1980, U2 releases their second single on the CBS label, "Another day" (in Ireland only). After the release, U2 starts their first tour in Ireland.
One month later, U2 finally signs a major record deal with Island Records for four albums.
Just one month after this deal, they release their first British single on the Island label, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock". Although it was meant for success, the single did not do so well in the charts. In response Island Reocrds sent Steve lillywhite to help U2 with their new album.
With the album complete, U2 set off to another UK tour to promote their new single "A day Without Me". The tour was longer than anything they had done before, but also this single failed in the charts.
With two failed singles, success finally seemed to start with the release of their first album "Boy" together with the single "I Will Follow". This album is seen as the best debut album ever. Unfortunately the cover was misinterpreted by the public and the album became associated with alleged child pornography and subsequently the album also failed in the charts and worse, Warner Bros. decided not to distribute the album in The U.S.A.
Even so, they continued their British tour. On christmas time that year, they flew to The U.S.A. for a short ten day introductory-tour which opened at the Ritz in New York. Once again the response was not what was expected.
By April, 1981, U2 had finished their British tour and Warner Bros. finally released the "Boy" album in The U.S.A.. The band returned to the USA to promote it. Halfway through the tour, they took a ten-day break to rehearse some new songs. It is in this period that they released the single "Fire".
The U.S. tour finished on a high with two sell-outs in New York and New Jersey. In the same period, U2 was very busy recording their second album in Windmill Lane The album was originally called "Scarlet", but when it was released, it was changed to "October".
The album was released in October that year, together with the single "Gloria". "October" reached number 11 in the British charts and sold over 250,000 copies. The press loved the album and found it refreshing. The band then left for its third US tour in the past 12 months. They made quite an impression in The U.S.A. with their new album and a local radio station broadcasted their concert live from the Boston Orpheum.
In April of the next year, they release the single "A celebration/Party Girl".
Up And Staying
In 1983, they release one of their best known songs ever from their upcoming new
album, "New Year's Day". The single crashed into the charts and became the first top
ten hit in the British charts.
In March of that year, U2 release their third album "War", which went straight to number 1 in the British album charts ! It stayed in the charts for over a year, and was a vital milestone in their growth.
Accompanying the release of the album, is the single "Sunday Bloody Sunday", but, because of the ungoing war in Northern Ireland, they had to release the single with another A-side in the UK, "Two Hearts Beat As One". Despite the fact that it was the best track on the album, it only made the lower reaches of the Top Twenty.
After 36 dates in the UK and Europe in just about as many days, U2 left for another US tour where "War" made the Top Ten.
In June U2 headlined the huge outdoor Red Rocks Festival in Denver. The festival was one of the most ambitious events ever staged and took place in a natural amphitheatre in the mountains, 8,000 feet above Denver. The spectacle was filmed and recorded and released in November as a live EP, "Under A Blood Red Sky". Some tracks however were recorded live at their shows in Boston and the German TV show Rockpalast. The EP shot into the charts at number 9 and finished at number 2.
In this month U2 travelled to Japan to play their first concert in the Far East
After their successfull "War" album, the band were intent on experimenting with U2's sound and understood that they needed a new producer for their next studio album, enter Brian Eno.
Rather than making the new album in the new studio, U2 were hoping to create a more impressionic sound by recording on a portable desk in Slane Castle and shut themselves away with Brian Eno and his engineer, Daniel Lanois.
Meanwhile U2 is voted "Band Of The Year" in the Rolling Stone Writers Poll as Island Records released "Live At Red Rocks Under A Blood Red Sky", the first U2 video.
In September of that year, the first single of the new album was released, "Pride (In The Name Of Love)", a moving tribute to the American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King and gave U2 their first UK top 5 hit.
Inspired by a collection of gruesomely graphic paintings and drawings by the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U2 called the new album "The Unforgettable Fire". The name also refers to the spiritual fire that burned within people like Martin L. King and Elvis Presley, who directly inspired three of the album tracks.
The album shot straight into the UK number 1 spot.
In Fall that year, U2 embarked on a massive 6 months world tour which kicked off in Australia. Their first gig in Sydney was a rude awakening for the band who prided themselves on their live performances as the sound produced by Eno was incredibly difficult to reproduce on stage. As they toured New Zealand and then returned to Europe, they struggled to master the complicated arrangements and Bono was now throwing snatches of "Ruby Tuesday" and "I'm Waiting For The Man" into "Bad". From Europe they went on to Canada and the East Coast of The U.S.A.
In November, during a short stop during their tour, Bono and Adam took part in Bob Geldof's Band Aid charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?".
In April 1985, they released the single "The Unforgettable Fire" and one month later their second live EP, "Wide Awake in America" was released.
In July of that same year, Bob Geldof organized Live Aid that would be broadcasted from two stadiums (London's Wembley and Philadelphia's JFK). U2 were one of the 22 acts who were scheduled for the Wembley stage. They were given a 5 O'clock slot and had to perform "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Bad" and "Pride" within 15 minutes.
desolate song, Bono was more desperate to communicate with the crowd than he had ever been before. He seemed to have forgotten about the 15 minutes only rule as he sang the now familiar snatches of other songs: "Satellite Of Love" followed by "Ruby Tuesday" and "Sympathy For The Devil" while he roamed the stage, looking out to the crowd wanting to include them too.
After Live Aid, things got quiet around U2 while they started preparations for their new album. In June they interrupted these by flying to The U.S.A. for the Amnesty International Conspiricy Of Hope tour. U2 had originally been asked to take part in some kind of benefit to celebrate Amnesty's 25th birthday, but the idea escalated into a six-city tour that featured the likes of Sting, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Bryan Adams.
The climax of the tour was a performance at the New York Giants' Stadium in front of 53.000 people. U2 were joined on stage by Little Steven and Lou Reed for a triumphant blast of "Sun City".
In March 1987, "The Joshua Tree" finally arrived. The album went straight to the top of the charts by selling a quarter million in the first week. The album took his name from a species of giant cactus that grows in the inhospitable deserts of southern California.
During the same month they released the single "With Or Without You" Two months later, the release of the single " I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" And one more month, the release of the single "Where The Streets Have No Name"
In October 1988 U2 released their sixth album "Rattle And Hum" and the movie. This was their first feature movie and was subsequently released on video. This album can be considered the end of a most influencing decade of U2.
The 90's, the continuation of an epic
In November 1991, U2 releases their 7th album, "Achtung Baby", worldwide. The album is met with almost unanimous critical and public acclaim. It is seen as a major artistic leap forward for the band. The album is industrial, dark, sexual, and confusing, all the things U2 were thought not to be. The album does extremely well, hitting number 1 in the charts all over the world and selling 7 million copies before the tour even starts. The first single released from this album is "The Fly".
In 1992 the band announces plans for a worldwide tour, dubbed "Zoo TV". It is met with intense anticipation. "Zoo TV" opens with 32 hit-and-run arena shows, with demand exceeding supply by over 10 to 1. The show utilizes 36 TV monitors, live satelite broadcasts and 6 East German Trabant cars serving as spotlights. It is a dizzying display of irony, sensory overload, and media manipulation that matches the confusion and futurism of "Achtung Baby".
In July 1993, U2 releases their 8th album, "Zooropa". The album is meant to kickstart some juice into the band's European tour and it is met with wide critical acclaim. Featuring a very electronic, ambient feel. It is U2's most experimental album yet.
In June 1995 U2 releases the single "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me", from the Motion Picture "Batman Forever".
In the month September that same year, Eno, Bono and The Edge appear live together for the first time to raise funds for War Child, an aid organizations that focuses attention on children caught up in the horrors of war. The threesome sang with opera star Pavarotti at his annual "Pavarotti And Friends" concert in Modena, Italy.
November 1994, sees U2 and Brian Eno release the Original Soundtracks No 1 album, under the collective band name, Passengers. The first single from the Passengers is from U2 with Pavarotti and is entitled "Miss Sarajevo".
In 1997, album 9 "Pop" is finally released. As with earlier albums and live concerts, their third Live EP, "Popheart" is released in the same year.
In 1998, U2 releases their 10th album, "The Best of 1980-1990". This album is released in two formats, one with just The Best Of CD and one with The B-Sides included. Some of the B-Sides have reached the A-Side status, such as "Silver And Gold". In the same year the single "The Sweetest Thing" is released. This is a B-Side from the single "Where The Streets Have No Name".