27 January 2017 - BONO

G'day folks,

I have featured this guy before, but he is a very interesting character.

Paul Hewson is one of the most famous people in the world. Of course, you know him better as Bono, lead singer of the Irish stadium behemoth, U2. Behind the trademark bug-eyed sunglasses and golden falsetto is one of the most visible and accomplished figures in music history. His constant humanitarian efforts, his working relationship with presidents and prime ministers, and the world-conquering success of his band’s albums and tours make Bono a figure of towering cultural importance beyond his music. But of course, U2’s music also casts a shadow as long as its 35-year history.

Paul was born to a religious family in Dublin, Ireland. His spiritual upbringing would figure prominently into his life and music. But his real evolution as a musician came when he began attending the Mount Temple Comprehensive School, where he met his future bandmates and earned the nickname Bonovox (translated from the Latin for “good voice”). Bono and his mates found that they weren’t particularly good at covering the Stones or Beach Boys, so they began writing their own compositions. Taking their name in 1976, U2 managed a contract with Island Records and released Boy in 1980. 

Their debut earned critical praise for Bono’s impassioned delivery and the band’s militant post-punk frankness. Minor Billboard success only hinted at the band’s achievements over the coming decade.

From the political pointedness of 1983’s War to the the proto alt-country majesty of 1987’s The Joshua Tree to the electrofunk undercurrent of 1991’s Achtung Baby, U2 was arguably the most important rock band of the decade. Their stadium-filing tours, airwave-dominating singles, and album-oriented precision made the band, and particularly their frontman, a global phenomenon. Ultimately, the elements of punk, new wave, and arena rock that U2 fused together became a sound all their own, and one to which future stadium acts like Radiohead, Coldplay, and Muse owe an incalculable debt.

Over the course of the ‘90s, U2 redefined the enormity and spectacle of the live rock show. Playing to ever-larger audiences, the band dedicated its considerable resources to creating an enveloping sonic and visual experience even for audiences numbering in the tens of thousands. As a singer, Bono elevated the bar first set by Mick Jagger, using his tremendous passion and charisma to create intimacy in even the most expansive venues.

As the frontman of U2, Bono is the chief lyricist and, without question, the reason its albums have shipped to the tune of 150 million worldwide. They are also the recipients of a stunning 22 Grammy Awards and an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bono may also be rock’s greatest humanitarian. His efforts at promoting debt relief for developing nations and his work to spotlight poverty in Africa have granted him a key to the White House and perhaps even a genuine impact on global policy. Time magazine named him 2005’s Person of the Year.

Clancy's comment: Very interesting character indeed. He and Bob Geldof have probably achieved more than countless politicians. Nothing surprising, eh? By the way, Geldof is mentioned in my latest book, 'Bold Journey'.

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