During the three-year 360° tour which started in June 2009 and ended July 2011, U2 earned over $736 Million in ticket sales, making the band one of the highest paid in the industry. These rockers have proved that musical talent doesn’t diminish with age. U2 is also widely known to perform for charities, raising money for the famine in Ethiopia, Amnesty International, and for unemployment in Ireland.
Larry Mullen (drummer) started the initiative of searching for band members at the age of 14. He posted a note in his school’s board regarding the requirements for band members. Six people responded to the note. Later after a few weeks of band rehearsals, the band was left with just four members. These members were Bono, Larry, Clayton and The Edge. The group initially started with cover songs, which they did not consider as their forte. The band won a talent show and received a cash prize that they used for recording a demo. The Hot Press magazine also played a major role in helping the band. They introduced the band to Paul McGuiness who agreed to be the manager of the band.
The band released their first single “Three” which turned out to be a hit in the Irish charts. In 1979, U2 performed in London. However, while it was a big achievement for the band, they did not gain much attention at the time. Their march towards fame began with their first international single “11 O’Clock Tick Tock.” The band received positive reviews for their debut album Boy.
The band failed to get the much-required audience in their initial years but began their quest to become the world’s best band by the year 2000. The band started looking at a more conventional rock sound mixed with their experimental music of 1990s. The band bounced back from disappointments through “All That You Can’t Leave Behind.” This album became an instant hit worldwide.
The band is successful and one of the highest paid in because it has kept their music distinctive yet recognizable. They place more emphasis on the melodic instruments. The other focus has been on larger than life vocals. The members of the band also have some signature singing steps that they use in their music. For example, the edge uses an echo and a small signature delay. U2 has managed to bring new elements in their music along with keeping their recognizable melodies.
The lyrics are also what makes this band distinct from others as they predominately revolve around society and politics with a bit of Christianity and spiritualism. Some examples of this include songs like “Sunday Bloody Sunday” which was written about the troubles in the Northern Ireland.
As mentioned previously, the band saw several lows before they got a breakthrough moment. They did not have an international single until years after the band formed back in high school. They were not commercially successful after the release of their first single.
U2 received a Grammy Award in 1988 for their album The Joshua Tree. In total, the band has won 22 Grammy Awards, which is more than any other group. Some of the awards include Album of The Year, Record of the year, Song of the year, and Best Rock Album. Overseas, they have seven awards from the British Phonographic industry and 15 Meteor Ireland Music Awards. Pretty impressive for a band with a slow start.
Like their timeless songs, U2 is much more than just awards and selling records. The band has earned fans through their music, but also because of its philanthropic activities. The band also understood the major fact that constant evolution in the music industry is necessary. They improvise and always evolve in the music they produce. Another major influence has been Bono’s personal struggles that have shaped their music and been motivated by emotions like loss, anguish, and resilience — timeless topics.