Neil McCormick

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Neil McCormick (born 31 March 1961) is a British music journalist, author and broadcaster. He has been Chief Music Critic for The Daily Telegraph since 1996,[1] and presents a music interview show for Vintage TV in the UK, Neil McCormick's Needle Time.[2] McCormick is a close associate of rock group U2.[3]

Early life[edit]

McCormick was born in England but later moved with his family to Scotland, then Ireland. He attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin at the same time as all the future members of U2.[4]


McCormick's brother Ivan was an early member of the band that would later be known as U2, but he was dropped from the group within a few weeks of founding. Neil was songwriter and vocalist in a succession of unsigned bands, Frankie Corpse & The Undertakers (1978),[5] The Modulators (1978–79)[6] Yeah!Yeah! (1980–83)[7] and Shook Up! (1985–88).[8] He released one solo album, Mortal Coil under the pseudonym The Ghost Who Walks in 2004 (BiPolar / Vital).[9] His song, "Harm's Way", features on Mel Gibson's Songs Inspired by the Passion of the Christ (2004). Other artists featured on the compilation included Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, McCormick said, "I should probably quit while I'm ahead."[10]

As a journalist, he worked for Irish music magazine Hot Press from 1978.[11] He returned to journalism in the early nineties after an unsuccessful music career, becoming a contributing editor at British GQ (1991–96).[12] He has been chief rock critic for the Daily Telegraph since 1996, and a regular guest on BBC TV and radio shows as an expert on the music business.

His memoir of an unsuccessful career in the music business, I Was Bono’s Doppelgänger (retitled Killing Bono in the US) was published by Penguin (in the UK) and Simon & Schuster (in the US) in 2004.[13] Elton John called it "the best book I have ever read about trying to make it in the music business."[14] It has been translated into several languages.[15][16][17] A 2011 film of Killing Bono starred Ben Barnes as McCormick and Martin McCann as Bono.[18] Following the film, a play adaptation entitled Chasing Bono ran in the Soho Theatre from December 2018 to January 2019, starring Niall McNamee as McCormick and Shane O'Regan as Bono.[19]

McCormick was ghostwriter of U2 by U2, the band’s bestselling 2006 autobiography (published by HarperCollins).[20]

McCormick followed with the fiction book #Zero in 2019 (published by Unbound).[21] To accompany the book, he released an album of tracks from the book's fictional musicians on Spotify[22] and Amazon[23].


  1. ^ "Neil McCormick biography". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  2. ^ Neil, McCormick (7 May 2013). "Neil McCormick's Needle Time on Vintage TV". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Harper Collins author biography". Harper Collins. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  4. ^ McCormick, Neil; Adam Clayton; Bono; The Edge; Larry Mullen Jr. (2005). U2 by U2. New York: HarperEntertainment. pp. 40-46. ISBN 0-06-077675-7.
  5. ^ "Frankie Corpse & The Undertakers". Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  6. ^ "The Modulators". Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Yeah! Yeah!". Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Shook Up!". Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  9. ^ Cummins, Steve (29 October 2004). "Mortal Coil, Hot Press review". Hot Press. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  10. ^ McCormick, Neil (8 April 2004). "Mel Gibson made me a pop star". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  11. ^ McDermott, Roe (25 March 2011). "Neil McCormick, Bono's Doppelganger". Hot Press.
  12. ^ McCormick, Neil (2004). Killing Bono. Chapter 21: Penguin. pp. 273–277. ISBN 9780241953808.CS1 maint: location (link)
  13. ^ "Killing Bono,". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Bono's Doppelganger, reviews". Amazon. Archived from the original on 1 November 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Bonon Doppelgangeri, Finnish version". sammakko. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  16. ^ "Killing Bono, German". Neues Leben. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  17. ^ "Killing Bono, Italian". Amazon. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  18. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (3 November 2011). "Killing Bono (2010)". New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  19. ^ "Chasing Bono". Soho Theatre. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  20. ^ McCormick, Neil. U2 By U2. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 9780060776756. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  21. ^ #Zero. ISBN 9781783526635.
  22. ^ #Zero, retrieved 19 April 2019
  23. ^ "Amazon Music Library". Retrieved 19 April 2019.