U2 is a rock band that has been active since 1976, when a 14 year old Larry Mullen Jr. put up a note on Mount Temple Comprehensive School’s bulletin board that he was looking for fellow musicians to form a band with him. Only six people responded, but that was all that was needed. Even forty years later, the members and their roles in the band are much the same as they were when they first set up in Mullen’s kitchen in Dublin, Ireland, with Mullen on drums and other percussion, Paul “Bono” Hewston doing lead vocals and guitar, David “The Edge” Evans on guitar, keyboard, and vocals, and Adam Clayton on bass guitar. Two friends of Mullen, Ivan McCormick and Peter Martin, had originally joined on as well, but lost interest within two weeks. David’s older brother, Dik, stayed on with the band for their first two years until college started pulling him elsewhere. They had played under the names “Feedback” and then “The Hype” during their first years of activity, but after Dik left the band they finally settled on “U2.” They picked it as much for its applicability in interpretation as for the fact that it was the one name all four members hated the least. In early 1980, after only four years of playing, U2 signed on a deal with Island Records and released their debut album, Boy.
U2 has listed many performers as influences, from The Who and The Beatles, to Elvis Presley and Van Morrison. Because of their decades and scope in the industry, they have also form collaborative, mutually-influencing bonds with other performers, like Johnny Cash, Green Day, and Bruce Springsteen. U2 has become known for a very consistent style of melodic instrumentals coupled with powerful—often mentioned as “grandiose,” courtesy of Bono’s well-maintained, naturally bombastic falsetto—vocals, with a rhythmic echo on The Edge’s guitar. Their lyrics are often laden with social and political commentary, though they have often been criticized for a vague stance on what, specifically, the lyrics could refer to. Still, consistency doesn’t necessarily keep them from experimenting with giving particular instruments more of a spotlight, synthesizers, and electronic beats and distortions.
U2’s studio albums are Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, Rattle and Hum, Achtung Baby, Zooropa, Pop, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, No Line on the Horizon, and Songs of Innocence. They have a live album, Under a Blood Red Sky, and EPs include Three, Wide Awake in America, Please: PopHeart Live EP, 7, Exclusive, Early Demos, Live From Under the Brooklyn Bridge, and Wide Awake in Europe. Their tours have included the “U2-3 Tour,” “11 O'Clock Tick Tock Tour,” “Boy Tour,” “October Tour,” “War Tour,” “The Unforgettable Fire Tour,” “The Joshua Tree Tour,” “Lovetown Tour,” “Zoo TV Tour,” “PopMart Tour,” “Elevation Tour,” “Vertigo Tour,” “U2 360° Tour,” and the “Innocence + Experience Tour”.