Way before there was No line on the horizon even more before Achtung Baby and just before Boy there was Three u2’s first ever release back on the 1st of September 1979 but the story does not start there it starts on the 25th of September three years earlier in 1976 with a high school student by the name of Larry Mullen posting a note on his schools bulletin board looking for people interested in starting a band, soon after posting that note a guitarist by the name Dave Evans (soon to go by The Edge) immediately jumped on board along with a bassist going by the name of Adam Clayton, in the beginning the band would be called The Larry Mullen Band but for all of ten minutes, the bands next name would be Feedback then to Hype in 77 in the early quarter (just after St Patrick’s Day to be precise ) of 78 Hype would change its name to a household name and for the next 33 years from then on they were known as U2 a band that would make an impact on the music scene.
A little while after that name change the band won a talent quest the prize being £500, time in a recording studio and a chance to be heard by the Irish branch of CBS Records.The band recorded demos in May of that year with the end result of the EP entitled Three only to be released in their home country of Ireland only 1000 copies of Three were pressed and would peak at number 19 on the Irish charts.
In March of 1980 U2 signed to Island Records and in May the band released 11 O'Clock Tick Tock a single that did not appear on the debut album that followed on the 20th of October of that year entitled Boy, this album featured their first hit single in the UK entitled I will Follow, it also included the singles A Day Without Me" and "I Will Follow.
On the 12th of October 1981 the band released their follow up album entitled October, the two singles to be released from this were Fire and Gloria. U2’s October era was also the start of the band’s vision of the music video as an integral part of the band's creative work, the first video they shot was for the song Gloria and was filmed in the Canal Basin in Dublin.
Two years later on the 28th of February 1983 the bands third album War was released.
One of the big songs on this album was Sunday Bloody Sunday inspired by events that happened in Ireland in 1972.
War was the bands first commercial success it knocked Michael Jackson's Thriller from the top of the charts to become the band's first #1 album in the UK. It reached #12 in the U.S. and became their first Gold-selling album in the states, the singles to come this album were Two Hearts Beat as One, Sunday Bloody Sunday and the lead single New Year's Day which was released internationally as the album's lead single. The single hit the top ten in the UK, and was the first release by the band to reach the Billboard Hot 100.
In the August of the following year the band completed recording of their 4th studio album entitled The Unforgettable Fire and for the third time in a short time span another U2 album was released in the month of October. The album took its name and much of its inspiration from a Japanese travelling exhibition of paintings and drawings at The Peace Museum in Chicago by survivors of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The first single from this album was Pride (In the Name of Love) at that point of time it had been the bands biggest hit It cracked the Top 5 in the UK and the U.S. Top 40. The Unforgettable Fire was the second single to be released This song became the band's third Top 10 hit in the UK hitting it’s peak at number 6 in the UK charts.
After a three year absence of albums their 5th studio album entitled The Joshua Tree bursts onto the scene this album could be seen as being even bigger then the previous releases The album received critical acclaim, it topped the charts in over 20 countries, and sold in record-breaking numbers According to Rolling Stone, the album increased the band's stature "from heroes to superstars” . The album spawned the hit singles With or Without You (which was used in an episode of the hit TV series friends) , I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, and Where the Streets Have No Name( the video to this mimicked/followed the same format as a Beatles concert being done on the roof of a liquor store while a crowd watches on) Two other singles were released from this album which were In God's Country and One Tree Hill (One Tree Hill was an Australia/New Zealand release only single this track was written due to the passing of Bonos personal assistant, Greg Carroll who was a New Zealander.
Their sixth album Rattle and Hum was accompanied by a companion documentary in 1988, this album would be the last album U2 released in the 80’s it’s singles included Desire, Angel of Harlem, When Love Comes to Town, and All I Want Is You. During one of the final shows of the Rattle and Hum tour Bono is quoted as saying this is the end of something for U2 and and that "we have to go away and ... dream it all up again.
In October of 1990 the band step into a studio in Berlin and started working on what would be known as one of their most critically acclaimed albums in the 90s even though the 90’s had just started but we will chat about that one a bit later on in this article so now we move onto album number eight released on the 5th of July 1993 entitled Zooroopa .
The band had originally intended to record this as an EP but then decided to do a full length album the songs were written and recorded at a fast pace as the band were in the process of the Zoo TV tour and were travelling between tour destinations and the studio .
This album sold significantly less then its predecessor Achtung Baby which did 18 million verses this albums 7 million the album had three singles released from it entitled Numb,Lemon and Stay (Faraway, So Close!) (the third single was used in Wim Wenders screenplay Faraway, So Close! ) this album also won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 1994.
In-between the releases of their 8th and 9th albums the band worked on a side project entitled Original Soundtracks 1 aswell as going under the pseudonym Passengers. It is a collection of songs written for mostly imaginary movies (the exclusions being songs for Ghost in the Shell, Miss Sarajevo, and Beyond the Clouds) although it did start off as a project for a movie but in the end that plan did not come to fruition. This album only had one single Miss Sarajevo which had Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti on vocals there was a second sinle planned but was later cancelled which was entitled Your Blue Room.
After this sideproject the bands 9th studio album Pop was released to the masses still sticking with the style they experimented with on Achtung Baby which followed onto Zooropa also followed onto this album a techno dance type style this album spawned quite a few singles which included Discothèque, Staring at the Sun, Last Night on Earth, Please, If God Will Send His Angels, Mofo upon the albums release it debuted at #1 in 35 countries.
In October of the new millennium the band reapplied for the position of the best band in the world after the poor reception to Pop (even though it debuted at #1 the critics still slammed it) they released their tenth studio album All That You Can't Leave Behind out of their discography this one is labelled their third masterpiece (the to prior masterpieces were The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby this album debuted at number 1 in 22 countries and the worldwide hit single, Beautiful Day earned three Grammy Awards. The album spawned three other singles which were also hits as well as winners of Grammies Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of, Elevation and Walk On.
In November of 2004 U2 released their explosive eleventh studio album entitled How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Bono described this album as “Our first rock album. It's taken us twenty years or whatever it is, but this is our first rock album” and he is correct this album is a very rocked up album the first single to explode from the album is entitled Vertigo It won Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Short Form Music Video at the 2005 Grammy Awards. Other singles that also All Because of You, Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own and City of Blinding Lights.
Overall How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and its singles won all nine Grammy Awards in 2005 for which it was nominated (U2 themselves were awarded eight out of the nine). The album also was the fourth biggest selling album of 2004 selling over nine million copies.
In 2009 U2’s twelfth studio album peaked it’s head over the horizon entitled No Line OnThe Horizon the singles to come forth from this album were Get on Your Boots (In my opinion wasn‘t as great as other tracks that appeared on this album, My personal favourite was the title track No Line On The Horizon and its remix that appears as a bonus on the special edition releases) , Magnificent and I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight. This album had relatively low sales of five million copies when compared to previous albums.
In November 2010 the band worked on another big side project entitled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (it had the most expensive Broadway production, and had the longest preview period (182 preview performances)in history.
The Edge also performed the theme music for The Batman series seasons 1 and 2 between 2004 and 2005.
Now 2011 marks a second milestone for this band, it has been 20 years since the release of their 7th studio album Achtung Baby.
Now Achtung Baby is when I discovered these guys officially even though in previous years I would have heard songs like with or without you ,new years day Sunday bloody Sunday, pride, where the streets have no name and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.
This album was released on the 19th of November 1991, it spawned five hit singles including One, Even Better Then The Real Thing, The Fly, Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses and my personal favourite Mysterious Ways. The album has sold 18 million copies world wide and won a Grammy in 1993 for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
It has now been 35 years since this legendary band formed they have released twelve albums (with a thirteenth on the way as of writing this entitled Songs Of Ascent) two best ofs and a handful of live cds and DVDs. They have appeared in a lot of cult/pop culture television shows most notably the Simpson’s and their songs have appeared in films like Gangs Of New York, Tomb Raider and Batman Forever just to name a few.