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The U2 Portal

U2 performing on 17 May 2005. From left to right: The Edge, Bono, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton.
U2, Vertigo Tour, 2005.

U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). U2 have been one of the most popular acts in the world since the mid-1980s. The band has sold upwards of 170 million albums worldwide, and they have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other rock band.

U2 formed in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. By the mid-1980s, however, the band had become a top international act, noted for its anthemic sound, Bono's impassioned vocals, and The Edge's textural guitar playing. Their success as a live act was greater than as a record-selling act until their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, brought them mega-stardom. Their alternative rock/dance-infused 1991 album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour were part of a significant reinvention for the band; it was a response to their own sense of musical stagnation, the dance and alternative music revolutions, and criticism of their image. This experimentation continued for the rest of the 1990s.

In the early years of the 21st century, U2 have pursued a more traditional sound while maintaining influences from their previous musical explorations. They continue to enjoy the highest level of commercial and critical success. The band is active in human rights, international development, and social justice causes, such as Amnesty International, Make Poverty History, the ONE Campaign, Live Aid, Live 8, Bono's DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) campaign, and Music Rising.


Selected article

U2's experience in Shinjuku, Tokyo, was their primary inspiration for the music of "Slug".
"Slug" is a song by Passengers, a group composed of rock band U2 and producer Brian Eno. It is the second track on the group's only release, the 1995 album Original Soundtracks 1. The track was given the working title "Seibu" and was almost left off the album before it was rediscovered later during the recording sessions. Though Eno made the majority of creative decisions during the recording sessions, "Slug" was one of the few tracks that the members from U2 tried to craft themselves.

Lyrically, it is a portrait of a "desolate soul"[1] during a time of celebration. As Passengers were writing songs for fictional soundtracks, they tried to create a visual suggestion from the music that was more important than the story within the lyrics. In "Slug", the instrumentation is intended to represent the lights of a city being turned on at dusk. The group primarily drew inspiration for the song from U2's experiences in Tokyo at the conclusion of the Zoo TV Tour. "Slug" was praised as one of the best songs on the album by critics from various publications, and was compared to tracks from U2's previous album, Zooropa.


Selected picture

Adam Clayton playing the bass guitar on stage in a stadium
Credit: Giacomo DV
Adam Clayton performing with U2 at the Olympic Stadium in Turin, 6 August 2010.

Did you know...

  • ... that Adam Clayton once missed a concert due to a hangover?
  • ... that the U2 song "Fez – Being Born", created by joining the two in-progress songs "Fez" and "Being Born" together, was originally called "Chromium Chords"?


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Selected biography

The U2 Portal
Alison "Ali" Hewson (née Stewart; 23 March 1961) is an Irish activist and businesswoman. She is the wife of singer and musician Paul Hewson, known as Bono, from the rock group U2.

Raised in Raheny, she met her future husband at a young age at Mount Temple Comprehensive School and married him in 1982. She has a degree in politics and sociology from University College Dublin in 1989. The couple have four children together and live at residences in Ireland, France, and the United States. She has inspired several U2 songs, most famously "Sweetest Thing".

Hewson began a career as an activist in the 1990s, focusing on the effects of nuclear power. She narrated Black Wind White Land, a 1993 Irish documentary about the lasting effects of the Chernobyl accident, and has worked closely with Irish activist Adi Roche. She has been a patron of Chernobyl Children's Project International since 1994 and has participated in a number of aid missions to the high-radiation exclusion zones of Belarus. She has also campaigned against Sellafield, the northern English nuclear facility. In 2002 she helped lead an effort which sent more than a million postcards, urging the site be closed, to Prime Minister Tony Blair and others. Tabloid newspapers have mentioned Hewson as a possible Labour Party candidate for President of Ireland but no such attempt has been made.

Hewson is the co-founder of two ventures in the ethical business field, the Edun fashion line and Nude Skincare products. The former, intended to promote fair trade with Africa, has struggled to become a viable business. French conglomerate LVMH has made substantial investments into both companies.



  • "The themes are love, desire and faith in crisis — the usual stuff." —The Edge, on Pop
  • "It's a terrible cliche, but they are the most important thing in my life. More than any album. They're where it's at." —The Edge, on family (2001)
  • "Producing this structure was a challenge, but the effect has been great. It dwarfs the stadium, it makes the stage look clean and breaks down the barrier between band and crowd. Having invested in this technology, I think it's a game changer. I don't know what we'll do next time, but these cleaner stages in stadiums are the way to go." —Adam Clayton, on U2 360° Tour, in "Stairway to Devon − OK, Somerset!", Q (July 2010)


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  1. ^ Graham & van Oosten de Boer 2004, p. 58.