A brief history of U2--
U2 was formed in the summer of 1978 while its members were still pupils at Dublin's Mount Temple school. Comprised of Bono (vocals), the Edge (guitar, piano), Larry Mullen Jr. (drums) and Adam Clayton (bass), the group played small venues in their native Dublin and the following year released their first record, a one-off 3-track EP titled U23. By January 1980 U2 had built up a loyal followoing and The Hot Press (Ireland's leading rock magazine) Reader's Poll placed them at the top of five categories. In April, U2 signed to Island Records and one month later released their first single, "11 O'Clock Tick Tock."
BOY Release date: October 1980 Produced by: Steve Lillywhite Singles: A Day Without Me, I Will Follow
Additional tracks: Twilight, An Cat Dubh, Into the Heart, Out of Control, Stories For Boys, The Ocean, Another Time, Antoher Place, The Electric Co., Shadows and Tall Trees.
U2 began to work with Lillywhite on their first album in August 1980. A single, "A Day Without Me" was released in the same month and by October the group was ready for its first European shows. The BOY album was released in October,along with a third single, "I Will Follow."
During November U2 travelled to the US to play their first shows there. Back in Dublin in January '81 U2 collected nine firsts in The Hot Press Reader's Poll. One month later, at the final sold out show of the British tour, 700 people had to be turned away from London's 3,000 capacity Lyceum Ballroom. U2 spent the next three months touring the US.
OCTOBER Release date: October 1981 Produced by: Steve Lillywhite Singles: Fire, Gloria
Additional tracks: I Fall Down, I Threw A Brick Through A Window, Rejoice, Tomorrow, October, With A Shout (Jerusalem), Stranger In A Strange Land, Scarlet, Is That All?
In June '81, the first OCTOBER single was released. "Fire" was recorded at Compass Point Studios during a break in the U.S. tour.
OCTOBER entered the UK album chart at number 11 after one week of release, the second single from the album, GLORIA, also made the UK chart. European and American tours followed, culminating in a 5,000 capacity show at Dublin's RDS in January '82. "A Celebration," released in March, gave U2 their third chart single.
WAR Release date: March 1983 Produced by: Steve Lillywhite Singles: New Year's Day, Two Hearts Beat As One.
Additional tracks: Sunday Bloody Sunday, Seconds, Like A Song..., Drowning Man, The Refugee, Red Light, Surrender, 40.
The release of WAR, marked a turning point: "New Year's Day" was a UK top ten hit and the album entered the UK at number one and went top ten in the U.S. The same year U2 headlined "A Day At The Races" at the Phoenix Park, Dublin, in front of 25,000 people.
UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY Produced by: Jimmy Iovine Release date: November 1983
Track listing: Gloria, 11 0' Clock Tick Tock, I Will Follow, Party Girl, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Electric Co., New Year's Day, 40.
Recorded at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado, during U2's U.S. tour, UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY was U2's first live album. On release it topped the chart in the UK and reached platinum status by January '84. Meanwhile, WAR notched up its 12th consecutive month on the UK charts. Rolling Stone Writer's Poll voted U2 "Band Of The Year" for 1983.
In December '83 U2 undertook their first tour of Japan and it was during this trip that the group visited "The Unforgettable Fire" -an exhibition of photographs of the bombing of Hiroshima - the impact of which is self-evident.
THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE Produced by: Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois Release date: October 1984 Singles: Pride (In The Name Of Love), The Unforgettable Fire.
Additional tracks: A Sort Of Homecoming, Wire, Promenade, 4th Of July, Bad, Indian Summer Sky, Elvis Presley and America, MLK.
U2 started work in May of 1984 with new producers, Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois at Slane Castle outside Dublin. By August, the album was complete and a world tour started in New Zealand returning to Europe by September with four albums in the Australian charts and "Pride," the first single, at number four.
THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE was released in October and entered the charts at number one. Further touring ('84-'85) saw landmark shows at Wembley Arena in November, New York's Madison Square Garden in April and The Milton Keynes Bowl and Dublin's Croke Park in June. "The Unforgettable Fire" entered the UK singles chart at number eight. Rolling Stone magazine named U2 "The band of the eighties."
In July '85 U2 performed at Live Aid and then returned to Dublin to write the next album.
U2 interrupted rehearsals in June '86 to play six American shows, entitled "A Conspiracy Of Hope" and a benefit for Amnesty International. The tour also featured Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Bryan Adams, The Neville Brothers, Joan Baez and The Police.
THE JOSHUA TREE Release date: March 1987 Produced by: Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois Singles: With Or Without You, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Where The Streets Have No Name.
Additional tracks: Bullet The Blue Sky, Running To Stand Still, Red Hill Mining Town, In God's Country, Trip Through Your Wires, One Tree Hill, Exit, Mothers Of The Disappeared.
THE JOSHUA TREE established U2's stellar status. The album went straight to number one in the UK chart (arriving fittingly on St. Patrick's Day) and reached the same position in the U.S. by April. The first single, "With Or Without You" also went to number one in the U.S., top five in the UK, and when THE JOSHUA TREE tour started in Arizona in April, Time, the world's biggest-selling magazine, placed U2 on its cover proclaiming "U2, Rock's Hottest Ticket."
In May the European tour started in Rome and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was released. Again, chart positions were top five in the UK and number one in the U.S. The third single, "Where The Streets Have No Name" also enjoyed chart hit status.
In September '87 U2 embarked on the second part of their North American tour accompanied by film maker Phil Joanou who documented the group's progress through to Sun Devil Stadium in Arizona on December 19th and 20th.
In 8 months U2 had played over 100 shows, THE JOSHUA TREE had sold in excess of 14 million copies around the world and topped the charts in 22 countries.
RATTLE AND HUM Release date: October 1988 Produced by: Jimmy Iovine Singles: Desire, Angel of Harlem, When Love Comes To Town, All I Want Is You.
Additional tracks: Helter Skelter, Van Diemen's Land, Hawkmoon 269, All Along The Watchtower, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Freedom For My People, Silver And Gold, Pride, Angel Of Harlem, Love Rescue Me, When Love Comes To Town, Heartland, God Part II, The Star Spangled Banner, Bullet The Blue Sky, All I Want Is You.
In Spring '88, U2 moved to Los Angeles to carry out post-production work on the film footage shot by Joanou. During this time, U2 collected two Grammy Awards, for Album of the Year and Best Rock Performance, and a BPI Award for Best International act.
The first single "Desire" was released in September, reached number one world-wide, and was the first time that U2 had topped the UK singles chart. In October, U2 played at London's Dominion Theatre for the "Smile Jamaica" live television show in aid of hurricane-hit Jamaica. U2 were joined on stage by Keith Richards and Ziggy Marley.
RATTLE AND HUM was released in October, a double album containing nine new tracks: part live and part recorded material, its four sides fitted neatly onto a single CD. It entered the British chart at number one and reached the same spot in the U.S. Two weeks later, Joanou's film received its world premier in Dublin, opening world-wide three days later. During its first weekend of release, "U2: Rattle and Hum" was the second biggest grossing film in the U.S. and Canada, an unprecedented success for a "music" film.
Two more Grammys were collected at the 1989 Awards, this time for Best Rock Performance and Best Video. Again, U2 collected the BPI Award for Best International Act.
In September came the Lovetown Tour of Australia, New Zealand & Japan - including two nights at the Tokyo Dome - after which U2 returned to Dublin to play four concerts, December 26-31, celebrating the start of a new decade. The New Year's Eve show, which started at midnight, was radio transmitted throughout Europe and the USSR. The BBC and RTE, who collaborated on the transmission, estimated the audience to be in excess of 500 million.
ACHTUNG BABY Release date: November 1991 Produced by: Daniel Lanois with Brian Eno Singles: The Fly, Mysterious Ways, One, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Wild Horses.
Additional Tracks: Zoo Station, Until The End Of The World, So Cruel, Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), Acrobat, Love Is Blindness.
Recorded in various locations,including Berlin and Dublin, ACHTUNG BABY was U2's first release of the nineties. Taking the radio transmission of the Dublin concert on New Year's Eve '89 one step further U2 incorporated a satellite dish in their Zoo TV tour which started a 31-city tour of the U.S. in February '92. A European "Kiss-Me-Quick" tour followed during which an MTV competition winner had the show beamed live by satellite from Stockholm to his home in Nottinghamshire. The tour concluded with a Greenpeace concert, held in Manchester on June 19 with Public Enemy, Kraftwerk and BAD II, in protest of the proposed second nuclear processing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria.
The following day U2 was involved in a Greenpeace action, delivering contaminated waste from the beaches of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England back to the plant. The action was taken despite but not in breach of a court injunction preventing such a protest.
In August U2 took Zoo TV to the stadiums of the U.S. with their Outside Broadcast Tour. The tour ran until mid-November, ending in Mexico City. By the end of 1992 U2 had played live to more than 2 1/2 million people.
ZOOROPA Release date: July 1993 Produced by: Flood, Brian Eno and the Edge Track listing: Zooropa, Babyface, Numb, Lemon, Stay (Faraway, So Close!), Daddy's Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car, Some Days Are Better Than Others, The First Time, Dirty Day, The Wanderer.
Recorded in Dublin from March to May '93 ZOOROPA is a studio album of ten new songs. For the first time the Edge has taken the producer's title, along with Flood and Brian Eno, and he also features as lead vocalist on "Numb," the first featured track from the album. Guesting on the album is Johnny Cash who sings "The Wanderer." ZOOROPA started life as an EP and grew during the recording sessions into an album. Meanwhile the ZOOROPA '93 Tour which started on May 9, continues in the stadiums of Europe, covering eighteen countries in four months, finishing in Dublin's RDS on August 28th.