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The U2 Portal

U2 performing on 17 May 2005. From left to right: The Edge, Bono, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton.
U2, Vertigo Tour, 2005.

U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). U2 have been one of the most popular acts in the world since the mid-1980s, the band has sold upwards of 170 million albums worldwide, and they have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other rock band.

U2 formed in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. By the mid-1980s, however, the band had become a top international act, noted for its anthemic sound, Bono's impassioned vocals, and The Edge's textural guitar playing, their success as a live act was greater than as a record-selling act until their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree, brought them mega-stardom. Their alternative rock/dance-infused 1991 album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour were part of a significant reinvention for the band; it was a response to their own sense of musical stagnation, the dance and alternative music revolutions, and criticism of their image. This experimentation continued for the rest of the 1990s.

In the early years of the 21st century, U2 have pursued a more traditional sound while maintaining influences from their previous musical explorations, they continue to enjoy the highest level of commercial and critical success. The band is active in human rights, international development, and social justice causes, such as Amnesty International, Make Poverty History, the ONE Campaign, Live Aid, Live 8, Bono's DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) campaign, and Music Rising.


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Red lighting across all the video screens has become a recurring feature of live performances of the song, shown here from a 2009 360° Tour show
"Where the Streets Have No Name" is a song by rock band U2. It is the opening track from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree and was released as the album's third single in August 1987, the song's hook is a repeating guitar arpeggio using a delay effect, played during the song's introduction and again at the end. Lead vocalist Bono wrote the lyrics in response to the notion that it is possible to identify a person's religion and income based on the street on which they lived, particularly in Belfast, during the band's difficulties recording the song, producer Brian Eno considered erasing the song's tapes to have them start from scratch.

"Where the Streets Have No Name" was praised by critics and became a commercial success, peaking at number thirteen in the US, number fourteen in Canada, number ten in the Netherlands, and number four in the United Kingdom. The song has become one of the band's most popular songs and has remained a staple of their live act since the song debuted in 1987 on The Joshua Tree Tour, the song was notably performed on a Los Angeles rooftop for the filming of its music video, which won a Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video. Recently, the song has been used by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens as their entrance song in Super Bowl XLVII.


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Did you know...

  • ... that the lyrics in the U2 song "No Line on the Horizon" were inspired by an image of a place "where the sea meets the sky and you can't tell the difference between the two"?


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The U2 Portal
Alison "Ali" Hewson (née Stewart; 23 March 1961) is an Irish activist and businesswoman. She is the wife of singer and musician Paul Hewson, known as Bono, from the rock group U2.

Raised in Raheny, she met her future husband at a young age at Mount Temple Comprehensive School and married him in 1982. She has a degree in politics and sociology from University College Dublin in 1989, the couple have four children together and live at residences in Ireland, France, and the United States. She has inspired several U2 songs, most famously "Sweetest Thing".

Hewson began a career as an activist in the 1990s, focusing on the effects of nuclear power, she narrated Black Wind White Land, a 1993 Irish documentary about the lasting effects of the Chernobyl accident, and has worked closely with Irish activist Adi Roche. She has been a patron of Chernobyl Children's Project International since 1994 and has participated in a number of aid missions to the high-radiation exclusion zones of Belarus. She has also campaigned against Sellafield, the northern English nuclear facility; in 2002 she helped lead an effort which sent more than a million postcards, urging the site be closed, to Prime Minister Tony Blair and others. Tabloid newspapers have mentioned Hewson as a possible Labour Party candidate for President of Ireland but no such attempt has been made.

Hewson is the co-founder of two ventures in the ethical business field, the Edun fashion line and Nude Skincare products, the former, intended to promote fair trade with Africa, has struggled to become a viable business. French conglomerate LVMH has made substantial investments into both companies.



  • "I don't know, I don't know which side I'm on. / I don't know my right from left or my right from wrong. / They say I'm a fool, they say I'm nothing / But if I'm a fool for you oh, that's something." —"Two Hearts Beat as One" (U2), War (1983)
  • "I've conquered my past / The future is here at last / I stand at the entrance to a new world I can see. / The ruins to the right of me / Will soon have lost sight of me. / Love, rescue me." —"Love Rescue Me" (Bono and Bob Dylan), Rattle and Hum (1988)
  • "I'm not sure we were as big a part of the show as we thought. I think the show was really about the city of Sarajevo. And at the end they weren't just applauding us or the UN peace-keepers, they were kind of applauding themselves for getting through it." —Bono, in U2 by U2 by U2 with Neil McCormick (2006)
  • "You don't have to put up a fight, you don't have to always be right. / Let me take some of the punches for you tonight. / Listen to me now, I need to let you know / You don't have to go it alone. / And it's you when I look in the mirror. / It's you when I pick up the phone. / Sometimes you can't make it on your own." —"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" (Bono), How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
  • "I gave these guys their first job when I put the note on the school noticeborad. I have sometimes naïvely tried to bodyguard some aspects of the band. However, I am learning to let go, after thirty years it's a cool thing to be still making music with your friends." —Larry Mullen, Jr., U2 by U2 by U2 with Neil McCormick (2006)


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