Carrying the mantle of the world’s biggest band must be quite demanding, and perhaps the reason why U2 slough every once in a while. Spells of arena-scale devotion are followed by fits of odder dry runs, including a less-than-excellent nineties stretch that was bogged down in orange goggles, postmodernism and irony. In spite of all the topsy-turvy, for the better part of their career, U2 have held the biggest band title similar to how they devote to everything; unreservedly and intensely.
Group formation and composition
U2 consists of five members from Dublin, Ireland. Band members include Larry Mullen Jr. on drums, Adam Clayton on bass, Paul Hewson (Bono) on vocals and Dave Evans, nicknamed “The Edge” on guitar. Dave’s brother played for the group for some time before leaving for another band. Upon its formation, the band was known as Feedback, and did local tours around Ireland and later changed their name to “The Hype”. In 1977 they settled on the name U2.
The group’s big break, however, came in 1978 when they won a talent competition with CBS Record’s Jackie Hayden as judge, consequently getting signed by CBS Ireland and earning £500 prize money. In May, Paul McGuiness became their manager, leading to the release of their first single in September 1979 which topped the Irish charts. In December of the same year, U2 toured London to promote their songs with little success.
Albums and achievements
In March of 1980 U2 signed for Island Records and released Boy in October. The release was followed by their first tour outside the United Kingdom. The trip was helped them grow a fan base in regions outside of Europe and the U.S. U2 released their second album in October 1981 and earned the attention of fans and critics in equal measure as a result of their spiritual lyrics.
Three of the group’s four members, except Adam Clayton, were committed Christians and made no attempts to hide that. The trio later aligned with a Dublin based religious group dubbed “Shalom”, and questions arose whether their Christian beliefs conflicted with their rock and roll lifestyle. The conflict almost led the group to quit music. After much deliberation, the band decided against quitting after figuring they could reconcile the two without jeopardizing their religious beliefs.
The group’s third studio album, War, featured their first international hit single, “New Year’s Day” which attained the tenth position in UK charts and almost made it to the Top 50 on U.S. charts. Heavy rotation of the “New Year’s Day” video by MTV introduced U2 to the US fans, and they began performing in sold-out concerts in both mainland Europe and the United States. U2’s studio album The Unforgettable Fire with the hit single “Pride” paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. Rolling Stone magazine dubbed U2 the “Band of the 80s”.
U2 a further six studio albums, The Joshua Tree in 1987 that peaked at number 1 in the UK and U.S. Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Zoo TV in 1990, Pop and Popmart in 1997 that debuted at number 1 in 28 countries. The band earned widespread praise and followed up with the release of All That You Can’t Leave Behind in 2000. The band’s last album was “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”. In April 2004, The Rolling Stone magazine named U2 among the 50 most celebrated rock and roll artists of all time.