NME.COM

25 things you never knew about U2

  • U2: the name of a Soviet bi-plane, US reconnaissance aircraft, German submarine, a type of battery, a clothing line - and one of the biggest bands in the world, with 140 million albums sold worldwide. Pic: Hamish Brown

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • U2 named their 2004 album 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' because Bono envisioned the bomb as his father and the songs as efforts by him to deal with his father's death in 2001.

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • The difficult, and in U2's case deeply spiritual, second album. Released in 1981, 'October' was heavily influenced by the band's involvement in the Shalom Fellowship and their attempts to reconcile religious beliefs with the rock lifestyle.

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • 'The Joshua Tree' was named after a national park in California. With sales of over 20 million, it currently ranks as the 89th best-selling album of all time.

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • The cover for U2's debut album 'Boy', which was released in October 1980 and went gold in the UK and platinum in the US, gave us the single 'I Will Follow'. The track was widely believed to confirm the band's Christian faith, but this went unproved until a 1997 NME interview.

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  • U2's 1997 album 'Pop', which spawned the UK chart-topping single (and its accompanying Village People-themed video) 'Discotheque', was censored for its Malaysian edition, which took out the words "fucked up" from 'Wake Up Dead Man' - a rare instance of the band swearing in their music.

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  • U2's much-maligned 1988 part-live, part-studio album 'Rattle And Hum' did spawn their first UK Number One - the Bo Diddley tribute 'Desire'.

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  • Friend of the band Kirsty MacColl, who died in 2000, chose the order of tracklisting for 1987's 'The Joshua Tree', apparently based on her order of preference. Pic: Rex

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • It's not only Alexandra Burke and Jeff Buckley that have tinkered around with Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' - Bono recorded a spoken word version in 1995. Pic: Rex

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • U2 have worked on a variety of tracks for films, including the Bond theme 'Goldeneye' (performed by Tina Turner) in 1995, and a remake of the 'Mission: Impossible' soundtrack the following year. Pic: Rex

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  • Bono and The Edge wrote the song 'She's A Mystery To Me' for Roy Orbison, which was featured on his posthumous 1989 album 'Mystery Girl'. Pic: PA Photos

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  • US guitarist and backing vocalist The Edge got his nickname from the shape of his nose. He's estimated to have more than 200 guitars in his studio. Pic: PA Photos

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  • American law once passed something called the Bono Act, but it was nothing to do with this Bono, it was a Copywright Term Extension Act named after Cher's husband (and later political figure) Sonny Bono. Pic: PA Photos

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  • U2 got their big break on St Patrick's Day in 1978, when they won a talent competition and received £500 to record a demo. It wasn't until signing to Island in 1980 and recorded the Martin Hannett-produced '11 O'Clock Tick Tock' that they got their big break. Pic: PA Photos

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  • U2 were called Feedback and The Hype before they settled on their final band name. Pic: PA Photos

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  • David Howell Evans - aka The Edge - has only gone hatless a handful of times. Performing 'Miss Sarajevo' at the 1995 Pavarotti And Friends concert and the video for 1997's 'Discotheque' are two of the rare occasions you'll catch a glimpse of his head. Pic: PA Photos

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • Larry Mullen Jr actually started U2. He posted an ad on a bulletin board at his high school in Dublin looking for musicians to start a band. Bono soon responded to the ad, telling him that he could sing and play the guitar. Adam responded next, and wound up being the only bassist to get back to him. The Edge, along with his brother, responded and went to Larry's house to jam, and the rest is history. Pic: PA Photos

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  • Bono had a series of nicknames before settling on the final one: Steinvic von Huyseman, Huyseman, Houseman, Bon Murray and Bono Vox of O'Connell Street. Pic: PA Photos

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  • U2 have sold more than 140 million albums worldwide and have won 22 Grammy Awards - more than any other band. Pic: PA Photos

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  • Some of the recognitions given to Bono for his humanitarian work: An Honorary Knighthood from the Queen of England (March 2007), Time Magazine's Person of the Year (which he shared with Bill & Melinda Gates in 2005) and France's Legion d'honneur, presented by President Jacques Chirac (2003).

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  • On March 27, 1992, Bono took his clothes off in the middle of a crowded restaurant in London. He was drinking heavily, but according to his publicist, he was actually being interviewed by a journalist who was so bland and unimaginative that Bono thought it would be a good idea to strip.

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  • According to a recent survey, U2's 1987 single 'With Or Without You' is the seventh most requested song at funerals in the UK. Pic: PA Photos

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    Added: 24 Mar 2009

  • Ever wondered how Paul David Hewson got the name Bono? it's a shortened version of a childhood nickname Bono Vox, which is Latin for good voice, and was also the name of a hearing aid shop in Dublin.

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  • In 2002, all four members of U2 appeared on postage stamps in their native Ireland. Pic: PA Photos

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  • Although the U2 and Green Day cover of The Skids' 'The Saints Are Coming' was synonymous with the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the song was actually written about The Skids' frontman Richard Jobson's friend, who joined the British Army and was killed on duty in Northern Ireland. Pic: PA Photos

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    Added: 23 Mar 2009