FROM the beginning, Irish rock band U2 were marked out by their drive and ambition, forming as a band “before they could play”. Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton met at Mount Temple School and formed U2 in 1978.
Having approached every record label, they signed to Chris Blackwell’s Island Records and produced their first three albums with Steve Lillywhite; Boy (1980), October (1981) and War (1983). Fourth album The Unforgettable Fire (1984) was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. They developed a loyal and growing fan base through their records and extensive touring, with their Live Aid performance in July 1985 seeing them break through to the mainstream.
Then came The Joshua Tree album and tour and their first Time Magazine cover, in 1987 declaring U2 “Rock’s Hottest Ticket”. Arena dates rolled into stadium dates and The Joshua Tree went on to win the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1988, with a sixth studio album Rattle and Hum released the same year. The band released Achtung Baby at the dawn of the ’90s and set off on the groundbreaking and futuristic Zoo TV Tour, which travelled the globe twice in two years.
That momentum spawned Zooropa (1993), planned as a single and recorded on the road, which grew into an EP and eventually became U2’s eighth album. U2 returned with All That You Can’t Leave Behind in 2000, playing a series of gigs in small clubs for the first time in 17 years with Bono announcing that U2 were reapplying for their old job – the world’s biggest rock band. As they took the Elevation Tour through Europe and the States (twice) in 2001, the unanimous verdict was that they had succeeded. Following the release of How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb in 2005, U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Acknowledged as one of the best live acts in the world, U2 have record sales in excess of 157 million.
Four decades on and Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam release yet another album.
Ironically titled ‘Songs of Experience,’ it is their 14th studio album and contains 13 new songs, lauded by critics as: “a highly personal collection of songs undercutting and ultimately deepening the spirit of can do positivity.”
Recorded in Dublin, New York and Los Angeles, Songs of Experience was completed earlier this year with its subject matter influenced by Brendan Kennelly’s advice to Bono, to “…write as if you’re dead”. The result is a collection of songs in the form of intimate letters to places and people close to the singer’s heart: family, friends, fans, himself.
Songs Of Experience is the companion release to 2014’s ‘Songs Of Innocence’, the two titles drawing inspiration from a collection of poems, Songs of Innocence and Experience, by the 18th century English mystic and poet William Blake.
Produced by Jacknife Lee and Ryan Tedder, with Steve Lillywhite, Andy Barlow and Jolyon Thomas, the album features a cover image by Anton Corbijn of band-members’ teenage children Eli Hewson and Sian Evans.
To order the album, along with upcoming tour information, visit www.U2.com