The Story Behind the Biggest Band in the World (U2) – (Part 2) – Hour 1

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The Story Behind the Biggest Band in the World (U2) (Part 2)

Description – What do the U2 song lyrics mean? Clay and Z break down the lyrical miracles written by the most successful band in the world.

May 10th, 1960 – David Paul Hewson was born in Dublin, Ireland.

FUN FACT: Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. The city has an urban area population of 1,173,179.The population of the Greater Dublin Area, as of 2016, was 1,904,806 people.

They have sold over 150 million albums.
They have been together for over 41 years.
U2 have earned nearly $500 million between 2005 and 2015. – Forbes –
The band has earned 22 Grammys
Top Grossing Music Concerts of 2017:
1. Guns N’ Roses – $151.5 million
2. U2 – $118.1 million
3. Justin Bieber – $93.2 million
4. Metallica – $88 million
5. Depeche Mode – $68.2 million
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers – $60.5 million
7. Adele – $59 million
8. Ed Sheeran – $57.2 million
9. Eric Church – $54.5 million
10. Bruno Mars – $52.7 million

Age 16 – September 25th, 1976 – Larry Mullen Jr., posted an advertisement on a school bulletin board reading: Drummer seeks musicians to form band.

This advertisement brought the band together and they began rehearsing together at Dublin’s Mount Temple Comprehensive.
Larry Mullen Jr. was on drums.
Paul David Hewson – Bono was lead vocals and the main lyricist and he is genius of writings anthemic and ambiguous songs that allow listeners to draw their conclusions as to what the song means.
FUN FACT: His nickname comes from an abbreviation of “Bonavox” which means “good voice” in Latin. He initially disliked the name; however when he learned it meant “good voice” he accepted it. Since the late 1970s he’s been known as “Bono.”
“The Edge” and his older brother Dik were on guitar.
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “Well he had another name. He was named after a suburb just out of Dublin. He was named ‘Inchicore.’” Divulged Bono, “And he was so relieved that we stopped calling him ‘Inchicore’ that he ran with ‘The Edge.” – Bono
FUN FACT – This famous U2 band members is now known simply as “The Edge” but where did he get his nickname from? The band believed that the sharp features of his face and his ability to view things from the edge is why they began mercilessly referring to him as “The Edge.”
Adam Clayton was on bass guitar.

FUN FACT: Peter Martin and Ivan McCormick quit the group during their first month of practicing.

The group settle on the name “Feedback”, because it was one of the few technical terms they knew.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE – “So on Saturday 25th September 1976, ‘ recalls Larry. ‘This odd group of people convened in my kitchen in Artane. And that’s where it started.”
The four teenagers, rehearse in Larry’s Dublin kitchen, Over time they changed the name of the group from “Feedback” to “The Hype.”
Because none of the band members were very good at any of the instruments yet they experimented with a lot of new ideas.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE – ‘I suppose a watershed moment would have been seeing The Jam on Top of the Pops, ‘remembers `Edge. ‘And realizing that actually not knowing how to play was not a problem… music was more about energy and trying to say something and not necessarily about great musicianship.’ – The Edge

David “The Edge” Evan’s has said that his unique cording style was created largely as a result of not being able to yet play complicated leads.

Age 16 – 1976 – End of the Year – The band play their first performance at a talent contest in the school cafeteria.

Age 18 – 1978 – The band performs their song, “The Fool” and it gets played on local television (the band’s first television appearance).

Age 18 – March 16th, 1978 – The band wins a talent show that was hosted in Limerick, Ireland. They win studio time to record a demo for CBS Ireland.

Age 18 – March 20th, 1978 – The band decides to play their last concert as “The Hype” because they have decided to change their name to “U2.” Dik gets upset about this and leaves the group.

Age 18 – 1978 – They change their name from “The Hype” to U2. The band is named after American spy planes (U2).

FUN FACT – The U-2 was designed by Lockheed’s top engineer, Kelly Johnson. He also designed the SR-71, F-104 Starfighter, and countless other revolutionary aircraft.

The U-2 was designed to fly at 70,000 feet. At that altitude, it could not be tracked by radar or shot down with missiles by the Soviet Union at the time.

The band’s passionate music helped them to quickly create a solid base of fans in Ireland and they found their manager Paul McGuinness who they still have as their manager today.

They recorded all of their music without a music label and completely independently before signing with Island Records in 1980.

Bono, Mullen and Edge were Christians and they incorporated their faith and imagery describing faith into their lyrics. Their second album, October (1981) produced the singles “I Will Follow” and “Gloria” which received some airplay in the United States.

A LYRICAL MIRACLE – “Tomorrow” – This song describes what happened to Bono at the age of 14. His father died and his mother had a brain hemorrhage and died just a few days later. He lost both of his parents within a 7 day period.

I want you to be back tomorrow
I want you to be back tomorrow.
Will you be back tomorrow?
Open up, open up, to the Lamb Of God
To the love of He
Who made the blind to see.

He’s coming back
He’s coming back
O believe Him.

They then began playing live clubs in the United States and they began to win over fans with their intense and passion filled performances.

Age 19 – 1 December 1979: With ₤3,000 borrowed from family and friends, U2 begin a two-week tour of London clubs, their first shows outside Ireland. The band play a 56-date tour of the United Kingdom

Age 19 – February 1979: Using borrowed money, Bono travels to London to plug U2 at the offices of record companies and music magazines

Age 20 – 1980 – 15 January: The band performs “Stories for Boys” live on The Late Late Show
Age 20 – 1980 – October: “I Will Follow” is released as a single and peaks at number 20 on the Mainstream Rock charts.
Age 20 – May of 1980 – U2 releases their single called, 11 O’Clock Tick-Tock.
Age 20 – 1980 – U2 Releases their first album, Boy, which also featured the single “I Will Follow.”
Age 23 – 1983 – U2 Releases War which became the number one album in the United Kingdom.
War produced 3 hit singles, “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “New Year’s Day,” “Two Hearts Beat As One.”
LYRICAL MIRACLE – “Sunday Bloody Sunday” is a song written about the trouble that was happening in Northern Ireland. The song was written as a protest song. The song reached #7 on the Mainstream Rock charts.
And the battle’s just begun
There’s many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters
Torn apart
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
How long
How long must we sing this song
How long, how long
‘Cause tonight, we can be as one
Tonight, tonight
FUN FACT – “The Troubles” is usually dated from the riots of 1968 through the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The Troubles was a period of conflict in Northern Ireland involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries, the British security forces, and civil rights groups.

Age 23 – 1983 – Their live album Under A Blood Red Sky made into the United States Billboard Top 40 List.
Age 24 – 1984 – Unforgettable Fire was actually recorded inside the ballroom of Ireland’s Slane Castle and it produced “Pride In The Name of Love.”
FUN FACT: U2 embarked a 54 location concert tour in the United States which culminated in their famous Live Aid performance which put them forever on the map.

Age 27 – 1987 – The band releases their most iconic album, The Joshua Tree. It originally had the working title as “The Two Americas.” The songs “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “With or Without You,” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” dominated the United States singles chart.
LYRICAL MIRACLE – “Where the Streets Have No Name” –
The streets have no name did not ever make it to the top ten billboard charts, but it continues to be a fan favorite and the band often opens up their concerts with this song. The lyrics of the song were written by Bono after he and his wife volunteered to serve at a refugee camp orphanage during the mid 1980s.

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside.
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name.
I wanna feel sunlight on my face.
I see the dust-cloud
Disappear without a trace.
I wanna take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

LYRICAL MIRACLE – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
This song was written about searching for and truly understanding your spiritual beliefs. During their original Joshua Tree Tour, Bono decided to bring a Gospel choir on stage with them to sing backup vocals.
Bono has often stated that he usually not fully satisfied with his recorded lyrics so he has been known to rewrite them while touring. The lyrics for “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” are sang differently on the album than he now sings them during concert. Originally he sang,
“You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross of my shame/Oh my shame . . .”
Now he sings it the following way in concert:
“You broke the bonds/And you loosed the chains/Carried the cross/Took my shame/You took the blame . . .” The change is ever so slight, but it makes the song much deeper and more meaningful.
FUN FACT: He wears sunglasses inside because he has glaucoma.
“I have glaucoma…I’ve had it for the past 20 years.” – Bono

DEFINITION – Glaucoma – A condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of eyesight.

Age 27 – March 9th, 1987 – The Joshua Tree album went on to sell over 20,000,000 copies and at the 1987 Grammy Awards the band won both the “Album of the Year” and “Best Rock Performance.”
1987 – FUN FACT: When Time Magazine put U2 on the cover of the magazine with the headline, “Rock’s Hottest Ticket” it was only the 4th time that the magazine had put a band on the cover. Previous bands featured on the cover included only The Beatles, The Band and The Who.

Age 28 – 1988 – The song “Desire,” was the first single to be released from their much anticipated album, Rattle and Hum.
LYRICAL MIRACLE – During the song Bono criticizes evangelical preachers, politicians and pastors and the human desire to be greedy. The song won the group a Grammy award for the Best Rock Performance, and it was the band’s first song to reach the top of the music charts in the United Kingdom.
She’s the dollars
She’s my protection
Yeah, she’s the promise
In the year of election.
Sister I can’t let you go
Like a preacher stealin’ hearts at a travellin’ show
For love or money, money, money… ?
And the fever, gettin’ higher.

LYRICAL MIRACLE – This song was written and dedicated for Bono’s wife, Ali and it was featured on the album, Rattle and Hum.

You say you want
Diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want
Your story to remain untold

But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you

You say you’ll give me
A highway with no one on it
Treasure just to look upon it
All the riches in the night

You say you’ll give me
Eyes in a moon of blindness
A river in a time of dryness
A harbor in the tempest

But all the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you

Age 31 – 1991 – Mysterious Ways” this song was the 8th track from their album titled Achtung Baby. Fans strongly disagree with each other about the songs meaning. Some people believe that the song is very spiritual with references to John the Baptist, while others believe that the song is very sexual in nature.

“Mysterious Ways” began as the results of improvised demo that the band put together called, “Sick Puppy.” The group recorded this demo at STS Studios in Dublin Ireland. Bono, the Edge and bassist Adam Clayton just jammed out over a drum machine. The band struggled to move beyond just the bassline. Bono actually said that the song was, “a bass line in search of a song.”

Producer Daniel Lanois and Bono almost got into a fist fight over the song. When Bono showed up to the studio he began contributing lyrics that directly conflicted with what Daniel had in mind. Bono and Daniel argued about the song’s lyrics for over two hours. Bono said later, “That’s why I love Danny so much. He cares about the record he’s making as much and more than any band or artist he’s working with.”

The band began to make progress on the creation of the song when Edge began messing with the “Funk Wah” setting on his Korg A3 guitar effects unit and Bono told him to use it on the song. Drummer, Larry Mullen, Jr. recorded a drum track near the very end of their record ressions and introduced a much funkier groove that he wanted to use to show the difference between a drum machine and a real drummer.
The Edge fought for the chorus to be “It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right” because no other u2 song contained this line.

Age 31 – 1991 – One

FUN FACT – This is the song that saved the band. They were super mad at each other while recording Achtung Baby and they were reportedly on the verge of breaking up. But the experience of recording this song somehow brought the band back together.
The lyrics can be interpreted in several ways: a gay son coming out to his father; a relationship in which a couple loves each other but have hurt each other too much to stay together; or Bono’s rocky relationship with his own father.
In 2005, U2 re-recorded the song as part of a duet with R&B recording artist Mary J. Blige on her album The Breakthrough.
Bono has been quoted describing the song as, “It is a song about coming together, but it’s not the old hippie idea of ‘Let’s all live together.’ It is, in fact, the opposite. It’s saying, We are one, but we’re not the same. It’s not saying we even want to get along, but that we have to get along together in this world if it is to survive. It’s a reminder that we have no choice.”
Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same
Will it make it easier on you now
You got someone to blame
You say…

One love
One life
When it’s one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don’t care for it

Age 40 – 2000 – In A Little While

The song, “In a Little While” is the 6th track from their 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

Bono has said that his voice was in very bad shape when they recorded this song. noted that his voice was in terrible shape at the time of the recording of this song.
Bono has noted in live performances that this song became sort of a gospel song after he heard that Joey Ramone, the legendary lead singer of the punk band, the Ramones, chose to listen to this song as the final song he listened to before he died. Thus, U2 dedicated this song to him throughout the rest of their tour.
FACT: Joey Ramone died after a seven year battle with lymphoma. He died at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital on April 15, 2001, one month before his 50 birthday.

LYRICAL MIRACLE – In a little while
Surely you’ll be mine
In a little while I’ll be there
In a little while
This hurt will hurt no more
I’ll be home, love
When the night takes a deep breath
And the daylight has no end
If I crawl, if I come crawling home
Will you be there
In a little while
I won’t be blown by every breeze
Friday night running
To Sunday on my knees

Age 41 – 2001 – Beautiful Day

This Grammy Award-winning album is a reminder that no matter how bad life gets, you should always be thankful for whatever it is that you already have. The song got as high as number five on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart. It went on to received three more Grammy Awards for “Song of the Year,” “Record of the Year” and “Best Rock Performance.”

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There’s no room
No space to rent in this town
You’re out of luck
And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck
And you’re not moving anywhere
You thought you’d found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand
In return for grace
It’s a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away

The song “Beautiful Day” was written in several different phases. The song was originally called, “Always” and was originally created in a small room at the Hanover Quay Studios. However, they thought the song was pretty weak. Edge said, “As a straight rock song, it was pretty ho-hum.”
However, Bono came up with the concept of “beautiful day” lyric, the song got new life and a new directio. The Edge improvised the chorus with their producer Daniel Lanois.

Notable Quotables from Paul David Hewson “Bono”
Notable Quotables from Paul David Hewson “Bono” – Bono has been the main lyricist and he is genius of writings anthemic and ambiguous songs that allow listeners to draw their conclusions as to what the song means.
FUN FACT: His nickname comes from an abbreviation of “Bonavox” which means “good voice” in Latin. He initially disliked the name; however when he learned it meant “good voice” he accepted it. Since the late 1970s he’s been known as “Bono.”
FACT – He states that he wears glasses inside because of his battle with glaucoma. Pressure on the eyeball that eventually leads to blindness.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE #1 – “The less you know, the more you believe.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #2 – “When you align yourself with God’s purpose as described in the Scriptures, something special happens to your life.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #3- “As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #3- “The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years – the idea of grace – is the reason I would like to be a Christian.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #4- “The most powerful idea that’s entered the world in the last few thousand years – the idea of grace – is the reason I would like to be a Christian.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #5- “Overcoming my dad telling me that I could never amount to anything is what has made me the megalomaniac that you see today.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #6 – “Overcoming my dad telling me that I could never amount to anything is what has made me the megalomaniac that you see today.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #7- “I don’t let my religious world get too complicated.”
NOTABLE QUOTABLE #8- “You’ve gotta be very careful that grace and politeness do not merge into a banality of behavior, where we’re just nice, sort of ‘death by cupcake.”


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