In the history of Rock, few musicians, let alone bands, have the music genius to blend sounds and voices in a manifestly cathartic way. Even fewer manage to convey the enormity of their genius to millions of people around the globe, simply by using their music and lyrics. In fact, it is not that simple. It takes the majesty and the splendor of a group like U2 and the leadership skills of a performer like Bono to make it to the top, but mostly to be able to stay on the top for nearly 34 years.
The U2 Sound Is Unique
With Bono’s ostentatious cry, The Edge’s sophisticated guitar parts, and the steady impetus of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and the bassist Adam Clayton, the sound of U2 is globally recognizable. Bearing influences from the early days of the post-punk in the United Kingdom, the U2 have been inspired by the Ramones, The Clash, Joy Division, and the ska punk. Yet, over the course of the years they have experimented with numerous sorts of music, including the ambient, atmospheric tunes of Brian Eno. Nevertheless, in spite their influences from pop, electro and ambient and sometimes the complete make over of their tunes, “the U2 sound” remains unique.
U2 Have Released Great Hits
During these 34 years, U2 have released great music. It’s not only the fact that their songs remain popular. It’s also the fact that their music is so characteristic that it cannot be passed, even if one is not into alternative rock that much.
Some of the greatest U2 hits include songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” from “War” (1983), “Pride (In The Name of Love)” from “The Unforgettable Fire” (1984), “With or Without You”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, and “Where the Streets Have No Name” from “The Joshua Tree” (1987), “Desire” from “Rattle and Hum” (1988), “One” from “Achtung Baby” (1991), “Beautiful Day” from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (2000), “Vertigo” and “City of Blinding Lights” from “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” (2004) and “Magnificent” from “No Line on the Horizon” (2009).
U2 Have Written Great Lyrics
Besides having produced great music, U2 have also written great lyrics. Sometimes reflecting the social and political interpretation of current events, sometimes showing a spiritual mood, and sometimes simply glorifying love, the band has managed to make an impact with their lyrics.
“Sunday Bloody Sunday” describes the massacre of Irish civil rights marchers by British troops in Derry, Northern Ireland. “And the battle’s just begun, there’s many lost, but tell me who has won? The trenches dug within our hearts, and mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart. Sunday Bloody Sunday…”
“Pride (In The Name of Love)” is mostly a spiritual song considering that a man was betrayed with a kiss in the name of love, pretty much like Jesus Christ. “One man caught on a barbed wire fence, one man he resists, one man washed on an empty beach, one man betrayed with a kiss, in the name of love!”
In “With or Without You” Bono writes “Through the storm, we reach the shore, you gave it all but I want more, and I’m waiting for you.”
In “One” Bono writes “Did I ask too much, more than a lot, you gave me nothing, now it’s all I got..” and then he continues “Love is a temple, love the higher law, you ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl, and I can’t be holding on to what you got when all you got is hurt.”
In “City of Blinding Lights” Bono writes “The more you see, the less you know, the less you find out as you go, I knew much more then than I do now.”
U2 Have Never Split
Since 1976, Paul Hewson (Bono), Dave Evans (The Edge), Larry Mullen, Jr., and Adam Clayton have never split for one second. When the band got together, all U2 members were 14, 15 years old. Today, they all approach their 50s, yet Bono and his company feel younger than ever. The band members are together all these 34 years without the slightest change in their group composition. They know each other by heart, they communicate with eyes wide shut and it takes only a glance to take it to the next level. This is a major success factor.
U2 Are Still Contemporary
After 12 studio albums, 8 live albums, 7 compilations and 7 EPs, not to mention the 56 singles that hit the U.K., U.S. and European Charts, it becomes almost self-evident why they U2 are one of the best rock groups ever. Their music is still contemporary touching the realm of the young and talking about the problems we all face. Since 1976 until today, U2 have released great hits that still remain popular and certainly catch the attention of the audiences.
Overall, there is not too much to say about U2. Of course, if they finally decide to split after the 360o Tour, as Bono fears, it will be another great loss in the history of Rock music after the Clash, Joy Division, The Smiths, and many others. Obviously, U2 have still a lot to offer, even to people that were not too much into U2: even those people had the benefit of listening to great music all these years; regardless if they barely realized it.