Who are U2?

Let me clear that up.

Here’s a screenshot from the iTunes USA homepage.

Dearest iTunes Account Holders,

It has come to my attention that you (perhaps members of the Millennial generation) were baffled by the gift bestowed upon you on Tuesday. That when you saw a free full-length album magically appear in your purchased items list, you stared at it long and hard, but the name “U2" didn’t ring a bell.

This troubles me, kids. More than you know.

So I’m here to catch you up. To fill your brain with knowledge that should have arrived alongside you the day you were born. To broaden your horizons and (pun intended) rock your world.

Listen up.

It all started in the 1970s in a beautiful city called Dublin, Ireland. There were four boys who lived on the north side of town named Paul, David, Adam and Larry. They all went to a high school called Mt. Temple, where they had a bulletin board for the students to post notes to one another. One day, Larry decided he wanted to start a band, so he posted a note on said bulletin board and a bunch of neighborhood kids showed up at his house for an audition/rehearsal.

Paul, who went by “Bono”, David, who went by “The Edge” and Adam all made the cut in addition to a few other kids at first. They went by the name “Feedback,” and then “The Hype,” but by the time they arrived on the name that stuck, “U2,” those three boys, and Larry, were the only members left.

They practiced really hard and played a lot of gigs, and two years later, they won a talent show in Limerick. That victory resulted in a demo session, which eventually led to a record deal.

Making a bunch of powerful music in the 1980s, the band became known for their passionate anthems like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “Pride: In the Name of Love”.

They knew they really hit the big time in 1987 when Time Magazine put them on the cover. Their #1 hit, “With or Without You” would become a staple in pop culture for decades to come, appearing on Friends, etc.

In the 1990s, they revolutionized the concert landscape with their ground-breaking ZooTV tour.

After September 11th, they performed at the Super Bowl and remembered the victims of the tragedy with a moving tribute, displaying a scroll of their names. They also continued their Elevation tour in the wake of the attacks despite much uncertainty over the safety of crowds (many other acts canceled).

But they’re good guys, so that’s not surprising.

How good, you may ask?

Well, over the years, they’ve helped Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Chernobyl Children’s Project, Stand Up to Cancer, Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation, Mencap, just to name a few. Plus, Bono started the ONE Campaign and The Edge co-founded Music Rising.

In fact, Bono’s humanitarian work landed him another Time Magazine cover in 2002. He was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. And he was Knighted in 2007.

But back to the music — the band has scored some impressive awards in their time. They’ve won more Grammys than any other rock band (22, and counting); they’ve earned 15 Meteor Ireland Awards; won two Golden Globes and been nominated for two Oscars. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, too.

Anyway, when they’re not making music or saving the world or winning awards, they’re spending time with their families. They’re all Dads. And The Edge is even a Grandfather.

They’re good men, with good intentions and a passion for their collective day job.

So: The next time you see U2's music pop up, instead of giving it a puzzled look or Tweeting nonsense about spam, give it a listen.

It just may change your life.


Your Generation X Guardian Angel