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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

A street sign reading "U2 Way" was added to 53rd Street in Manhattan during the album's promotion.
No Line on the Horizon is the twelfth studio album by rock band U2. Released on 27 February 2009, it was the band's first record since How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004), marking the longest gap between studio albums of U2's career. The band originally intended to release the songs as two EPs, but later combined the material into a single record. Photographer Anton Corbijn shot a companion film, Linear, which was released alongside the album and included with several special editions.

U2 began work on the album in 2006 with record producer Rick Rubin but shelved most of the material from those sessions. From May 2007 to December 2008, the band collaborated with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, who produced and co-wrote many of the new songs. Writing and recording took place in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Morocco. The group intended to release No Line on the Horizon in November 2008; after composing 50 to 60 songs, they postponed the release because they wanted to continue writing.

The band compared the shift in style to that seen between The Joshua Tree (1987) and Achtung Baby (1991). Upon its release, No Line on the Horizon received generally favourable reviews, although many critics noted that it was not as experimental as previously suggested. The album debuted at number one in 30 countries but did not sell as well as anticipated; the band expressed disappointment over the relatively low sales, compared to previous albums, of five million copies. By contrast, the supporting U2 360° Tour, spanning 2009 to 2011, was the highest-grossing concert tour in history, with ticket sales over $73 million.


Selected picture

The U2 360° Tour stage surrounded by the crowd
Credit: Rich Niewiroski Jr.
Panoramic photography from the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California on 25 October 2009.

Did you know...

  • ... that Bono used to be known as "Steinvic von Huyseman", "Huyseman", "Houseman", "Bon Murray", "Bono Vox of O'Connell Street", and "Bono Vox"?
  • ... that Bono and Adam Clayton rented a Jeep Cherokee and headed off from LA to New Orleans. Bono did the navigating, and the bassist did the driving?
  • ... that Brian Eno described Kaddish, an album that reflects on the Holocaust, as "the most frightening record I have ever heard"?


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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.



  • "There was a lot of money riding on this; everything that was in the bank, basically. We were well organised, camera crews all over the gig. We brought extra lighting, searchlights, all kinds of stuff. And then it started to rain. Those were nail-biting times. Many of the crew were advising us to pull out, but in true U2 style, we carried on regardless." —Larry Mullen, Jr., on U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky, in "Stairway to Devon − OK, Somerset!", Q (July 2010)
  • "In my dream, I was drowning my sorrows / But my sorrows they'd learned to swim / Surrounding me, going down on me / Spilling over the brim / Waves of regret and waves of joy. / I reached out for the one I tried to destroy. / You, you said you'd wait till the end of the world." —"Until the End of the World" (Bono), Achtung Baby (1991)
  • "It's the blind leading the blond / It's the cops collecting for the cons. / So where is the hope and / Where is the faith and the love? / What's that you say to me / Does love light up your Christmas tree? / The next minute you're blowing a fuse / And the cartoon network turns into the news." —"If God Will Send His Angels" (Bono and The Edge), Pop (1997)
  • "You put on the leather pants and the pants start telling you what to do." —Bono
  • "To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater." —Bono


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