Timeline of U2

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This is a timeline of the history of rock band U2:


pre 1980[edit]

Mount Temple Comprehensive School where Larry Mullen Jr. posted a notice looking for musicians to form a band.
  • 13 March 1960: Adam Clayton is born in Chinnor, Oxfordshire.[1]
  • 10 May 1960: Paul David Hewson (Bono) is born in Dublin.[2]
  • 8 August 1961: David Howell Evans (The Edge) is born in East London.[3]
  • 31 October 1961: Larry Mullen, Jr. is born in Artane, Dublin.[4]
  • September 1974: Bono's mother Iris Hewson dies of a brain aneurysm in Dublin four days after collapsing at her father's funeral.[5]
  • Autumn: Paul Hewson and his neighbourhood friends form the "Lypton Village" in which they made their own language, dressed differently, and put on art installation. The group gives Paul the nickname Bono after a Dublin hearing aid store.[6]
  • 25 September 1976: The band forms in Dublin after Mullen posts a notice on the Mount Temple Comprehensive School notice board in search of musicians for a new band. Mullen was on drums, Bono on lead vocals, The Edge and his older brother Dik on guitar, Adam Clayton, a friend of the Evans brothers on bass guitar, and initially Ivan McCormick and Peter Martin, two other friends of Mullen.[7] Martin did not return after the first practice, and McCormick left the group within a few weeks.
  • September 1976: The group settle on the name "Feedback", because it was one of the few technical terms they knew.[8]
  • late 1976: The band play their first performance at a talent contest in the school canteen.[9]
  • February/March 1978: The band records a performance of their song "The Fool" in February for the RTÉ programme, Our Times. It airs in March and is the band's first television appearance.[10]
  • 16 March 1978: The band win a talent show in Limerick, Ireland, the prize of which is £500 and studio time to record a demo for CBS Ireland.[11]
  • 20 March 1978: The band plays their last concert as The Hype. Dik leaves the stage and the remaining four continue to play but as "U2".[11]
  • 28 April 1978: Bill Graham writes his first interview with U2 in Hot Press.[12]
  • April 1978: The band records their first demo tape at Keystone Studios, Dublin.[13]
Paul McGuiness (pictured in 2010) became manager of the band in 1978
  • 25 May 1978: Paul McGuinness agrees to become U2's manager.[14]
  • 9 September 1978: U2 support The Stranglers at the Top Hat Ballroom. Their biggest gig so far, they are paid £50.[5]
  • November 1978: Mullen's mother, Maureen Mullen, is killed in a car accident.[5]
  • December 1978: U2 play support to The Greedy Bastards, a band made up of Sex Pistols, Thin Lizzy and Boomtown Rats members, at the Stardust nightclub in Dublin.[5]
  • February 1979: Using borrowed money, Bono travels to London to plug U2 at the offices of record companies and music magazines.[5]
  • May 1979: U2 play the first of six afternoon concerts at the Dandelion Market in Dublin. Organised for young people otherwise prohibited from the venues U2 play, the concerts greatly expand their Dublin audience.[15]
  • September 1979: U2's first release, an Ireland-only EP entitled Three, becomes the band's first Irish chart success.[16]
  • 5 October 1979: U2 play their first television performance on RTÉ at a televised concert in the Cork Opera House.[5]
  • 26 October 1979: U2 are featured on the cover of Hot Press magazine.[5]
  • 1 November 1979: U2 receive their first cover story outside Ireland in British magazine Record Mirror.[5]
  • 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.[17]


Windmill Lane Studios where U2 recorded their first album
  • 15 January: The band performs "Stories for Boys" live on The Late Late Show.[5]
  • 26 February: Their second single "Another Day" is released on the CBS label for the Irish market only.[18]
  • 19 March: U2 share the bill with Berlin and The Virgin Prunes at the Sense of Ireland festival. Record company executives are present, and four days later U2 sign an international deal with Island Records.[5]
  • March – September: The band record their first album in Windmill Lane Studios.[citation needed]
  • 23 May: "11 O'Clock Tick Tock" is released in Ireland, and as the band's first internationally released single, in the UK.[19]
  • 27 July: U2 play their first open-air festival to an audience of 15,000 at Leixlip Castle in Kildare. The Police top the bill which includes Squeeze and Q-Tips.[5]
  • August: "A Day Without Me" is released as a single.
  • 6 September – 3 December: The band play a 56-date tour of the United Kingdom.[20]
  • 27 September: U2 support Echo and the Bunnymen in London's Lyceum Ballroom.[5]
  • October: "I Will Follow" is released as a single and peaks at number 20 on the Mainstream Rock charts.[citation needed]
  • 14 October: The band play to a small audience in KRO Studios in Hilversum, The Netherlands. The show is broadcast the following day to coincide with the following day's first mainland European concert.[5]
  • 15 October: U2 play their first continental Europe gig at Melkweg ("The Milkyway") in Amsterdam.[5]
  • 19 October: They played the Lyceum Ballroom, opening for Slade with the hardcore punk fame Discharge and Last Words.[21][22][23]
  • 20 October: The band's debut album, Boy, is released in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It peaks at No. 52 in British charts.[5]
  • 6 December: U2 play their first American concert at The Ritz in New York City as part of a 14-date tour.[24]
  • 9 December: U2 perform their debut concert in Canada the day after John Lennon's death. The angry and emotional performance receives glowing reviews in Canadian media.[5]


  • 24 January – 28 February: U2 play dates in the United Kingdom and play their first tour of continental Europe.[25]
  • 3 March: Boy is released in the United States.[citation needed]
  • 3 March – 31 May: U2 commence their first major tour of the United States playing almost 60 dates across the country largely in clubs.[26]
  • 4 June: U2 make their American television debut on the Tomorrow Show to promote the Boy album. Bono and the Edge are interviewed briefly by host Tom Snyder and the band plays "I Will Follow" and an incomplete version of "Twilight" during the credits
  • July: The single "Fire" is released.
  • July – August: The band record their second album at Windmill Lane Studios, in Dublin. The sessions are complicated after the briefcase containing Bono's lyrics was lost earlier in the year during a show in Portland, Oregon.
  • 5 October: "Gloria" is released as a single and makes the UK charts.[27] The video for "Gloria" is directed by Meiert Avis and shot in the Canal Basin in Dublin.
  • 12 October: The band's second album, October, is released.[28] During the album's recording sessions, Bono and The Edge left the band due to spiritual conflicts, and U2 ceased to exist for a brief period of time.[29] The album received mixed reviews and limited radio play. It enters the UK charts at number 11.[27]



Bono singing during a U2 performance at the Kalvøya Festival in Oslo, Norway, near the end of the War Tour on 21 August 1983.


  • 1984: U2 re-sign with Island Records under far more lucrative terms.[38]
  • 7 May – 5 June: U2 work on their fourth album at Slane Castle. The band hire Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois as producers.
  • 6 June – 7 August: U2 complete work on their fourth album at Windmill Lane Studios.[39]
  • 4 July: The Edge's wife Aislinn gives birth to their first child, Hollie.[39]
  • 1 August: U2 establish Mother Records.
  • 29 August: The band's first tour of Australia and New Zealand begins in Christchurch. Dubbed, "Under Australian Skies Tour",[40] it comprises 15 concerts with Australian band Matt Finish and a largely War Tour setlist is played.[40]
  • September: "Pride (In the Name of Love)" is released as the album's first single and becomes the band's biggest hit to that point, including being their first to enter the U.S. top 40.[41]
  • 1 October: U2's fourth album, The Unforgettable Fire, is released.[40]
  • October – November: The Unforgettable Fire Tour plays 21 shows in halls and arenas in Western Europe.[42]
  • 1 December: The band play 10 dates in major United States cities. Demand for tickets significantly outstrip supply indicating that U2 will no longer be able to play these smaller theatres and halls.[43]


  • 1985: Rolling Stone magazine calls U2 the "Band of the 80s", saying that "for a growing number of rock-and-roll fans, U2 have become the band that matters most, maybe even the only band that matters".[44]
  • January – February: The band play 13 shows in Western Europe. The leg included 5 shows in Germany and the band's first concert in Italy.[45]
  • Late February – May: U2 play 40 shows in 29 cities in the United States and Canada. For the first time, the band play solely in arenas with multiple nights in many of the locations.
  • April: The album's second and final single, "The Unforgettable Fire", is released. It reaches No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 8 on the Dutch singles chart, but does not perform as well in the U.S.
  • May: The four-track EP Wide Awake in America is released.
  • Late May – mid July: U2 play nine concerts in the European festival season.
  • 29 June: They play a home-coming concert at Dublin's Croke Park, their first headlining show in a stadium.[46]
  • 13 July: U2 play Live Aid for Ethiopian famine relief at Wembley Stadium.[47] The band's performance, which included a 14-minute version of "Bad", is a pivotal point for the band's career,[48] showing a television audience of millions the personal connection that Bono could make with audiences.[49]
  • September: Bono and wife, Ali, volunteer as relief workers for World Vision in Ethiopia.[50]
  • 15 October: The Edge and wife Aislinn's second child, Arran, is born.[51]


  • 30 January: Bono and Mullen are interviewed for half an hour on Irish TV show, TV Gaga, before the band play a song called "Womanfish", a rough early version of "Trip Through Your Wires", and a cover of "Knocking on Heaven's Door".[52]
  • February: The debut issue of Propaganda, U2's new fanclub magazine, is published.[53]
  • 27 February: U2 are among the readers’ choice for in Rolling Stone's Music Awards, for Band of the Year. Best Songwriter was Bono, Best Live Performance was U2. In the Critics' Picks, the Band of the Year was U2.[citation needed]
  • 17 May: U2 play the Self Aid festival in Dublin. The event is organised to create jobs and raise money during Ireland's unemployment crisis.[52]
  • 4–15 June: U2 interrupt writing for their album to serve as a headline act on Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope tour. Rather than distract, the tour adds extra intensity and power to their new music.[54]
  • 3 July: U2 crew member Greg Carroll is killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin.
  • 10 July: Band members perform at Carroll's burial Kai-iwi Marae in New Zealand.
  • mid-July: Bono and wife Ali travel to Nicaragua on a visit organised by Central American Mission Partners (CAMP), which is dedicated to human rights and economic development in Latin America. They visit Ernesto Cardenal of the Sandinista government and musician Carlos Mejía Godoy.[55]
  • 19 July: The group listens to President Daniel Ortega speak on the country's Revolution Day.[55]
  • 20 July: Bono is moved by churchgoers calling out the names of loved ones who have died fighting the contras.[55]
  • late July: Bono and Ali's group flies to Nicaragua for 4 to 5 days. They meet the group COMADRES – the Mothers of the Disappeared – a group of women whose children have been killed or disappeared at the hands of the government.[55] As the group walks through a remote rural area north of San Salvador, government troops shoot in their direction scaring the group.[55]
  • 1 August: The band recommence recording sessions at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. Bono's first-hand experience of the conflicts in Central America become a central influence on songs such as "Bullet The Blue Sky" and "Mothers of the Disappeared". Motivated by friendships with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Keith Richards, the band looked back to the roots of rock music, and Bono focused on his skills as a song and lyric writer.[56]
  • October: U2 see blues legend B.B. King play in Dublin and they meet him backstage.[55] The band and King later record the song "When Love Comes to Town".
  • November: Recording sessions for the new album finish.[citation needed]
Silhouette of a Joshua Tree, the band's fifth album was named after this plant.
  • 14–16 December: U2 travel around the Californian desert with photographer Anton Corbijn and designer Steve Averill shooting pictures in the desert landscape for the new album's cover.[55] On the evening after the first day's shooting, Corbijn tells the band about Joshua Trees and suggests their use on the sleeve. The following day they find an unusual lone-standing tree, images of which are used for the album sleeve and the album is named The Joshua Tree.[57]
  • late December: U2 call in Steve Lillywhite to remix a few of the new songs which he works on into the new year.[55]


  • January: U2 complete B-side recordings for the album's single releases including the tracks "Walk To The Water", "Luminous Times", and "Spanish Eyes".[58]
  • February: U2 shoot a video for "Red Hill Mining Town",[59] which was intended to be one of the album's singles but it was not released. A video is also shot for "With or Without You" in Dublin.[59]
  • 9 March: U2's fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree, is released and goes to number one in 22 countries.[citation needed]
  • 21 March: "With or Without You" is released and becomes the band's first number one single in the United States.[60]
  • 27 March: U2 perform on the roof of a shop in downtown Los Angeles and film the video for "Where the Streets Have No Name".[61]
  • 30 March: In rehearsals for The Joshua Tree Tour, Bono falls backwards off the stage and his chin is gashed. He still carries the scar.[61] The Joshua Tree enters the Billboard charts at number 7.[62]
  • 2 April: U2 open The Joshua Tree Tour in the Arizona city of Tempe. The hot dry desert air has affected Bono's voice, and he is barely able to sing in front of the world's music press on opening night. Concert promoter, Barry Fey, reads out a statement on behalf of the band denouncing Arizona Governor, Evan Mecham's intention to abolish the Martin Luther King Day holiday in that State.[61]
  • 7 April: The Joshua Tree reaches number 1 on the Billboard, where it remains for nine weeks.[62]
  • 12 April: Following a concert in Las Vegas, the band film the video clip for "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" in the neon-lit streets.[61]
  • 14 April: Maria McKee performs a duets with Bono on U2's cover on "I Shall Be Released" during their concert in San Diego.[62]
  • 20 April: Bob Dylan joins the band onstage to sing "I Shall Be Released" and "Knocking on Heaven's Door".[63]
  • 27 April: U2 become the fourth rock band to be featured on the cover of Time magazine,[64] which declares U2 "Rock's Hottest Ticket".[63]
  • 30 April: U2 play their first headlining stadium show in the United States at the Pontiac Silverdome.[65]
  • May: Sales of The Joshua Tree pass seven million.[66] "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is released and reaches number one in the United States.[citation needed]
  • 27 May: U2 begin the European leg of the Joshua Tree Tour at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. Most of the leg's 31 shows are in outdoor stadiums.[67]
  • 2 June: After listening to Roy Orbison's "In Dreams" the night before, Bono starts writing a song for Orbison. After that night's show at Wembley Arena, Orbison makes a surprise visit to the band backstage whereupon Bono plays the song, "She's a Mystery to Me" for him.
  • 4 July: The show at the Hippodrome de Vincennes in Paris is filmed for Island Records' 25th birthday celebrations. A canister of tear gas is set off in the crowd causing mild panic and the band interrupt their performance of "With or Without You".[68]
  • August: "Where the Streets Have No Name" is released as The Joshua Tree's third single.
  • August: U2 find out that Island Records is in financial difficulties and cannot pay them $5 million in The Joshua Tree royalties. U2 reinvest the unpaid amount into the company in return for an estimated 10% stake in the company.[69]
  • 26 September: U2 rehearse "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" with the New Voices of Freedom in a Harlem church, footage of which later appears in the movie Rattle and Hum.[70]
  • October: Eamon Dunphy's official biography of the band, Unforgettable Fire: The Definitive Biography of U2 is published.[71]
  • November: "In God's Country" is released as a single in Canada and the US. Import sales are so strong that it charts in the UK.
  • 1 November: The Dalton Brothers make the first of three appearances on The Joshua Tree Tour as support act for U2. A country and western four-piece that plays two songs, they are actually U2 in western disguise and all but the front few rows of the audience fail to recognise them.[72]
  • 8 November: U2 play the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. The same day, an IRA bomb had killed eleven people at a Remembrance Day ceremony in the Northern Irish town of Enniskillen. During the performance of "Sunday Bloody Sunday", Bono condemned the violence and his "Fuck the revolution!" remark earns him the ire of the IRA. This performance and six other songs from the concert are later used in the Rattle and Hum film.
  • 11 November: U2 play an impromptu "Save the Yuppie" concert in Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco as a mock benefit following the October 1987 stock market crash. A cover version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" is captured for Rattle and Hum. During a performance of "Pride", Bono spray-painted "Rock and Roll Stops the Traffic" on the Vaillancourt Fountain. The city issues a warrant for Bono's arrest and Bono writes a letter of apology.[73]
  • 29 November: U2 visit Graceland and footage from the visit is later included in the Rattle and Hum movie.[74]
  • 19–20 December: The final two shows of The Joshua Tree Tour are played in the Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona. 5 songs are later used in Rattle and Hum.


  • February: U2 move to Los Angeles to work with Phil Joanou on the Rattle and Hum documentary. While in LA, they also record new songs at A&M Studios and STS Studios.[75]
One Tree Hill in 2008.
  • March: "One Tree Hill" is released as a single exclusively in New Zealand.
  • 2 March: At the Grammy Awards, U2 win "Best Vocal of the Year" for "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Album of the Year" for The Joshua Tree.[75]
  • May: U2 record additional material for the movie at Dublin's Point Depot. Footage of performances of "Van Diemen's Land" and "Desire" are later used in the movie.[75]
  • September: "Desire" is released as the new album's first single. It is the band's first number one single in the UK.
  • 10 October: The part live, part studio, double album Rattle and Hum is released.
  • 27 October: The Rattle and Hum film has its world premiere.
  • November: The Edge joins Bryan Ferry on-stage for a surprise appearance in the RDS in Dublin.
  • 6 December: Roy Orbison, for whom Bono and the Edge had recently written "She's a Mystery to Me", dies in the United States before the release of his Mystery Girl album.
  • 17 December: "Angel of Harlem" is released as Rattle and Hum's second single.


  • April: "When Love Comes to Town" is released as Rattle and Hum's third single.
  • 10 May: Bono and Ali's first child, Jordan, is born on Bono's 29th birthday.
  • 13 June: "All I Want is You" is released as Rattle and Hum's fourth and final single. Its release in Australia is held off until October to coincide with the Lovetown Tour. It reaches number 1 on the Australian charts.
Adam Clayton
  • 6 August: Clayton is arrested in Dublin on drug charges.
  • 21 September: The Lovetown Tour starts in Australia.
  • 30 December: On one of the final shows of the Lovetown Tour, Bono says onstage in Dublin that "this is just the end of something for U2" and that "we have to go away and … and dream it all up again".
"It's your future. The only limits are the limits of your imagination. Dream up the kind of world you want to live in. Dream out loud. At high volume.""

—Bono, 31 December 1989[76]

  • 31 December: At midnight, U2 open their final of four Dublin shows with "Where The Streets Have No Name" as the audience counts down the last seconds of the 1980s. The show is played live on radio throughout Europe.[77]



  • January: The band return to Berlin to finalise some recording work.[86]
  • 9 February: U2 arrive in Tenerife for two weeks of photo and video shoots that the band hopes will change its image. The band dresses in masks and joins the crowds in the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and it is during this time that the famous photos of U2 in drag are taken.[86]
  • late February/March – July: Back in Dublin, U2 rent the Dalkey seaside manor, "Elsinore House", to continue work on the new album.[87]
  • Easter: The Edge separates from his wife, Aislinn. The pain of the separation strongly influences the album material for which is being written.[82][88][89]
  • 17 March: U2 meet with Willie Williams to continue discussions on the band's next tour.[87]
  • April: Tapes from the album's earlier Berlin session's are leaked and bootlegged.[90]
  • May: U2 sue the Sunday Independent over an October 1990 article based on third-hand reports about U2 behaving badly in a Dublin restaurant. The matter is settled out of court including a printed apology from the paper which says the original article had "no foundation in fact".[91]
  • mid-May: Island Records advertises that it will pursue legal action against anyone selling U2's bootlegged studio tapes. In late May, authorities trace the tapes' distribution to Germany and a factory is shut down.[91]
Anton Corbijn's most famous, and longest standing, association is with U2.
  • June: Anton Corbijn is commissioned for another photo shoot, this time in Dublin, the results of which include the nude photo of Clayton that is used on the album sleeve.[91]
  • 14 June: U2 meets with Willie Williams and Catherine Owens to discuss the next tour. New ideas include placing TV monitors all over the stage and using Trabants as overhead light sources.[92]
  • July: U2, Anton Corbijn, and designer Steve Averill meet in Morocco for a four-day photo shoot.[92]
  • 7 July: Bono and Ali's second child, Eve, is born.[92]
  • 20 August: Electronic band, Negativland, release a single called "U2" which includes an unauthorised sample of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".[92]
  • 5 September: Island Records obtain an injunction against the sale and promotion of Negativland's "U2" single.[92]
  • 13 September: Parts of the video for the new album's first single, "The Fly" are shot in Dublin. The rest of the video is shot in London a few weeks later.[92]
  • 21 September: Upon the deadline for completion of the new album, U2 stay up all night choosing mixes and the album's running order.[92]
  • 22 September: The Edge takes the tapes of the new album to the United States for final mastering.[92]
  • October: The video of "Mysterious Ways" is shot in Fez in Morocco by director Stéphane Sednaoui and Anton Corbijn photographs the band.[93]
  • 12 October: The new album's first single, "The Fly", is released. It becomes U2's second No. 1 single in the UK.[94]
  • 19 November: U2 release Achtung Baby.
  • 25 November: "Mysterious Ways" is released as Achtung Baby's second single. The song reaches No. 9 on the Hot 100, making it the band's fourth highest charting single.[citation needed]


  • 15 January: The Edge inducts The Yardbirds into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On stage he joins Keith Richards, Neil Young, and Jimmy Page for a version of "Big River".[95]
  • 29 February: The Zoo TV Tour begins in Lakeland, Florida.
  • March: The third single from Achtung Baby, "One", is released. It reached No. 7 in the UK charts, No. 10 in the US charts, and No. 1 on the US Mainstream Rock Tracks and the US Modern Rock Tracks charts.
  • 5 March: U2 issue a statement denying newspaper reports that the words shown on video screens during performances of "The Fly" include "Bomb Japan Now" and that they have no wish to offend the people of Japan.[96]
  • 27 March: Bono orders 10,000 pizzas on stage for the audience at a concert in Detroit. The pizza supplier manages to deliver 100 pizzas.[75]
  • 7 May: The European leg of the Zoo TV tour opens in Paris.[75]
  • 31 May: Bono meets author Salman Rushdie for the first time backstage after a show in London.[97]
  • 7 June: The fourth single from Achtung Baby, "Even Better Than the Real Thing" is released. It reaches number 32 in the US and number 12 in the UK. A remix version reaches number 8 in the UK.[97]
  • 11 June: In a Stockholm show, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson from ABBA join the band for a performance of "Dancing Queen".[97]
  • 19 June: U2 play the "Stop Sellafield" show in Manchester. They play alongside Kraftwerk, Public Enemy, and Big Audio Dynamite II in protest against the operation of a second nuclear reactor at Sellafield.[75] The following day, the band participate in a demonstration organised by Greenpeace whereby protesters land on the beach at Sellafield in rubber dinghies and display 700 placards for the waiting media.[98]
  • 29 June: Bono records a solo version of "Can't Help Falling in Love.[99]
Morleigh Steinberg performing a belly dance dancing in 1993.
  • 7 August: After three weeks of stage erection and a week of rehearsals, U2 provide a public rehearsal. Morleigh Steinberg makes her debut as the belly dancer in "Mysterious Ways".[72]
  • 12 August: The Outside Broadcast leg of the Zoo TV tour opens in New Jersey.[citation needed]
  • August: The fifth and final single from Achtung Baby, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses", is released.
  • 28 August: During a New York interview with Rockline, US Presidential candidate Bill Clinton contacts U2 live on air.[75]


  • 20 January: Mullen and Clayton attend the inauguration of United States President Bill Clinton in Washington. That evening, they perform with R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe and Mike Mills in Washington for a performance of "One" at the MTV 1993 Rock and Roll Inaugural Ball. They dub the one-off group, "Automatic Baby", after merging the names of the bands' most recent albums Automatic for the People and Achtung Baby.[100]
  • February: U2 start recording new material in Dublin.[75]
  • 23 February: Bono brings model Naomi Campbell to a U2 organisation party to meet up with Adam Clayton who has a crush on Campbell. They start dating over the following days.[101]
  • 24 February: Achtung Baby: wins "Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Group or Duo" but loses "Album of the Year" to Eric Clapton's Unplugged.[101]
  • 4 March: In Rolling Stone magazine's readers' poll U2 win Best Band, Artist of the Year, Comeback of the Year, Best Tour, Best Album, and Best Album Cover, and Best Single (for "One"). Bono is voted Best Male Singer, Best Songwriter and Sexiest Male Artist. Mullen is voted Best Drummer and Edge and Clayton are runners up in their respective categories. Critics are slightly less enthusiastic.[102]
  • Late April: Having almost finished the Zooropa album, U2 rehearse for the European concerts.[102]
  • 9 May: Dubbed "Zooropa", the Zoo TV Tour recommences with a European stadium leg starting in Rotterdam. U2 play to 2,100,000 people over 43 shows.[103] The concert includes the premier of Bono's new alter-ego MacPhisto.[104] Throughout the month of May, the band often fly back to Dublin following concerts to finalise mixing of the Zooropa album.[105]
  • June: "Numb" is released as the first single from the new album. It is released only on video.[citation needed]
  • 5 July: U2 release Zooropa.
  • 14 July: At a concert in Marseille, Bono's holds the first of a number of live on-stage interviews with documentary maker Bill Carter who is in the besieged city of Sarajevo.[106]
  • 11 August: Author Salman Rushdie, the subject of a death Fatwa, joins U2 on stage in front of 70,000 people in Wembley Stadium.[75]
  • 28 August: On the final Zooropa concert in Dublin, Clayton's fiancé, model Naomi Campbell appears on stage.[107]
  • September: "Lemon" is released as the second single from Zooropa.
  • 3 September: At the MTV awards in Los Angeles, The Edge makes his first ever solo appearance where he performs "Numb" in front of a miniature version of the Zoo TV set.[107]
  • November: Bono records the vocal for his duet with Frank Sinatra on "I've Got You Under My Skin" in Dublin.[75]
  • 12 November: U2 commence the "Zoomerang" leg of Zoo TV in Melbourne.[108]
  • 22 November: "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" is released as Zooropa's third single.
  • 26 November: Clayton doesn't play the first of two concerts in Sydney. Bono tells the audience that he is suffering from a virus and his guitar technician Stuart Morgan fills in. It is the first time a member of U2 has missed a performance. It is later revealed that Clayton was too hung over to play.[108]
  • 27 November: The second Sydney concert is filmed and shown around the world as a pay per view TV show. The video is released the following year in VHS.[108]
  • 10 December: U2 play the final gig of the Zoo TV tour at the Tokyo Dome.[108]


  • February: U2 issue a writ challenging the Performing Rights Society on their exclusive rights to collect songwriting royalties for song performances.[75]
  • March: Zooropa wins "Best Alternative Album" award at the Grammys.[citation needed]
"It was my idea to relocate to New York for the year off and start a new life as non-drinker, which is commonly known as 'doing the geographic'. It was surprisingly easy to stop but it was difficult to stay stopped."

—Adam Clayton on quitting alcohol. [30]

  • 1994: Clayton and Mullen move to New York City to study music.[30]
  • April: Mullen and Clayton record four tracks with Nanci Griffith for her Flyer album.[75]
  • 5 April: The Zoo TV concert film, Zoo TV: Live from Sydney, is released in Europe and Australia.
  • November: U2 and Brian Eno record new music over two weeks in a West London studio.[75]


"I love it, because it's so different to our normal work."

—The Edge on Original Soundtracks 1[30]


  • January: U2 begin working on a new album in Dublin.[75]
  • April: The band move to Miami for further work on the album.[75]
  • 1 May: Clayton and Mullen release their version of the Mission: Impossible theme track. It enters the charts in the Top 10 in the US, the UK, and other countries.[75]
  • 11 May: Hot Press journalist Bill Graham dies at his home in Howth. The band fly back to Dublin from America to attend the funeral.[75]


  • 3 February: "Discothèque" is released as the new album's first single.
  • 4 March: U2 release Pop. The album debuts at number one in 35 countries and drew mainly positive reviews.[109][110] Sales were poor compared to previous U2 releases.[111]
  • 15 April: "Staring at the Sun" is released as Pop's second single.
U2 stage designer Willie Williams and stage architect Mark Fisher developed the PopMart Tour.
  • 25 April: The PopMart Tour commences in Las Vegas.
  • 14 July: "Last Night on Earth" is released as the third single from Pop.
  • 8 September: The live EP PopHeart is released.
  • 20 September: U2 plays a PopMart show at the Festival Site in Reggio Emilia, Italy to an estimated 150,000 people, making it the biggest concert on the entire PopMart Tour.
  • 23 September: U2 play a concert in Sarajevo; they were the first major group to perform there following the Bosnian War.[112] Mullen described the concert as "an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life, and if I had to spend 20 years in the band just to play that show, and have done that, I think it would have been worthwhile."[113]
  • 20 October: "Please" is released as the fourth single from Pop.
  • 8 December: "If God Will Send His Angels" and "Mofo" are released as the fifth and final singles respectively.



  • 17 August: Bono and wife Ali have a baby boy who is named Elijah Bob Patricious Guggi Q.


  • 9 October: "Beautiful Day" is released as a single, debuting at No. 1 in Australia, Canada, the UK, and No. 21 in the US.
  • 30 October: All That You Can't Leave Behind is released. For many of those not won over by the band's 1990s music, it was considered a return to grace;[115] Rolling Stone called it U2's "third masterpiece" alongside The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby.[116] The album debuted at number one in 22 countries.[117]


  • 22 February: The single "Beautiful Day" wins 3 Grammy Awards.[citation needed] U2 perform in a scaled-down setting, returning to arenas after nearly a decade of stadium productions. A heart-shaped stage and ramp permitted greater proximity to the audience.
  • 29 February: "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" is released as the second single from All That You Can't Leave Behind.
  • 24 March: American Leg of the Elevation Tour starts in Miami, Florida.[citation needed]
  • 20 May: Bono and Ali had their fourth child, a son, named John Abraham.[30]
  • 12 June: "Elevation" is released as the third single from the album.
  • 7 July: European Leg of the Elevation Tour starts in Copenhagen, Denmark.[citation needed]
  • 21 August: Bono's father, Brendan Robert 'Bob' Hewson, dies of cancer before U2's third performance at Earl's Court Arena in London, England. However, "the show goes on", with Aung San Suu Kyi appearing in a new video before "Bullet the Blue Sky".
  • 25 August: U2 play two sold-out concerts at Slane Castle.[30]
  • 10 October: U2 commence the 2nd American leg of the Elevation Tour. Following the September 11 attacks, the new album gained added resonance,[118] and from 24 --27 October, U2 performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
  • 19 November: "Walk On" is released as All That You Can't Leave Behind's fourth and final single. The song is written about and dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi.




  • January: The single "Take Me to the Clouds Above", a house-pop collaboration by LMC vs U2, is released.
  • 16 September: Bono is nominated a third time for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 8 November: The new album's first single, "Vertigo", is released. It reaches number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, number 1 on the Billboard charts, and number 5 on the Australian charts.
The U2 Special Edition iPod accompanied the release of The Complete U2.
  • 23 November: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is released. The album debuted at number one in the U.S. where first week sales doubled that of All That You Can't Leave Behind and set a record for the band.[121] The same day, The Complete U2 digital box set is released by Apple Computer on the iTunes Store. It is the first major release of a purely digital online set by any artist. It contains the complete set of U2 albums and singles, and also contains live, rare and previously unreleased material from 1978 to 2004, with a total of 446 songs.[122] The release accompanies a U2 Special Edition iPod.


U2 performing at Vertigo Tour.
The band performing at Live8 concert.
  • 2 July: U2 perform at Live8, opening the show. The band plays "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with Paul McCartney, "Beautiful Day", "Vertigo", and "One". The performance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is released as a digital-single during the day and sets a world record as the fastest-selling online song.[125]
  • 20–21 July: Two concerts in Milan, Italy are filmed. Ten tracks would later be included on the bonus DVD for U218 Singles.
  • 12 September: A second North American leg of the Vertigo Tour commences in Toronto, Ontario.[citation needed]
  • 10 October: "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" and "All Because of You" are released as the fourth single from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb in North America and Europe respectively, switching territories from their earlier releases.
  • November: "Original of the Species" is released as the album's fifth and final single in a digital-only format.
  • 14 November: Vertigo 2005: Live from Chicago is released on DVD.


  • 12 February: An eight-date Latin American leg of the Vertigo tour commences in Mexico.
  • March: U2 arrive in Australia to prepare for the Australian leg of the Vertigo Tour. The tour, however, is postponed until further notice due to a band family member's illness.
  • 3 April: A duet of "One" with Mary J. Blige is released as a single.
  • Mid-2006: The band begin work on material for a new album writing and recording with producer Rick Rubin; the material is later shelved.
  • August: The band incorporates its publishing business in The Netherlands following the capping of Irish artists' tax exemption at €250,000.[126] The move was criticised in the Irish parliament.[127][128]
  • 25 September: U2 play with Green Day to open an NFL game in the Louisiana Superdome. It is the first game in the stadium following the heavy damage it sustained from Hurricane Katrina. They play a four-song set of "Wake Me Up When September Ends", "House of the Rising Sun", "The Saints Are Coming", and "Beautiful Day".
  • 31 October: A studio cover with Green Day of The Skids' song "The Saints Are Coming" is released as a single for the charity Music Rising.
  • 7 November: The 13 postponed dates in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Hawaii commence in Brisbane.
  • 17 November: U218 Singles and U218 Videos are released. The bonus DVD on U218 Singles includes ten tracks taken from the 2005 concerts in Milan.
  • 18 November: Zoo TV Live is released to subscribers of U2.com/[129]


  • 1 January: The "Window in the Skies" single is released.
  • June: The band continue writing and recording for the album, this time with Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno as co-writers and producers. A two-week trip to Fez, Morocco where the six recorded led to the band experimenting with North African influences.
  • 20 November: The Joshua Tree is re-released as a 20th anniversary triple album.


  • 23 January: A 3-D concert film, U2 3D, filmed at nine concerts during the Latin America leg of the Vertigo Tour is released at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
  • 19 February: The single "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew" - a collaboration between U2, The Dubliners, Kíla, and "A Band of Bowsies" - is released. All proceeds went towards the Irish Cancer Society; the song is an homage to Ronnie Drew, who was dying of cancer at the time.
  • 31 March: U2 sign a 12-year deal with Live Nation worth an estimated $100 million (£50 million),[130] which includes Live Nation controlling the band's merchandise, sponsoring, and their official website.
  • Mid-2008: Boy, October, War, and Under a Blood Red Sky are remastered and released. Three different formats of each were made available, featuring remastered tracks, B-sides, live, and unreleased songs.
  • 18 December: The band complete No Line On The Horizon, and announce that the album will be released to the world on 2 March 2009.[citation needed]


Bono and The Edge performing at the Lincoln Memorial


  • 25 March: Artificial Horizon is released to subscribers of U2.com.[138]
  • 21 May: Bono has emergency surgery on a back injury during tour preparations, and the band postpones the North American leg of the U2 360° Tour[139][140] and their appearance at the Glastonbury Festival.
  • 26 June: The Edge makes a special guest appearance with Muse at Glastonbury to perform "Where the Streets Have No Name".
  • 13 July: U2 announce the rescheduled dates for the postponed North American leg of the U2 360° tour.[141]
  • 6 August: The second European leg of the U2 360° Tour starts on 6 August 2010 in Turin. It marks their first performance since Bono recovered from his back injury.
  • 25 November: U2 begin their Australasian leg of the 360° tour in Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.


  • 31 January: Announces last date on their U2 360° tour to be in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Their first date ever in Atlantic Canada.[142]
  • 10 May: Duals is released to subscribers of U2.com.[143]
  • 24 June: U2 headline the first night of the Glastonbury Festival.
  • 30 July: Last concert of the 360° tour held in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
  • 8 September: World premiere of U2 Documentary, "From the Sky Down", Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[144]





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