U2 is unquestionably one of the most popular and versatile Rock band in the world, the story began in 1976 when four students decided to start a band. Singer + guitarist Bono, born Paul Hewson, guitarist + keyboardist the Edge, real name David Evans, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. formed the band in the summer of 1978 in Dublin, IRELAND.
The following year they released, only for the Irish market, their debut 3-track EP "U2:3"; the first U.K. single, "Another Day", came out in February of 1980 and after the foursome signed for Island Records, recorded another non-album single entitled "11 O'Clock Tick Tock".
"Boy", the band's debut full-length album, followed before the year's end peaking at #52 on the U.K. National Albums chart, it included the singles "A Day Without Me" and "I Will Follow", the latter of which entered the top 20 of the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. U2 mounted an American tour in support of the album which hit #63 on the U.S. Top 200 LPs & Tapes list.
"Fire" and "Gloria" were released in advance of the group's second album, "October"; the full-length disc, which arrived in late 1981, climbed the U.K. Albums chart to the #11 spot; despite its #104 position in U.S. this album was certified platinum for sales of more than one million copies.
In the spring of 1983 U2 delivered their breakthrough LP, "War",
which topped the Official U.K. Albums chart and reached #12 in the
States spawning their first transatlantic hit single, "New Year's
Day" which was followed by "Sunday Bloody Sunday"; the two singles crashed into The Mainstream Rock chart peaking at #2 and #7, respectively.
The third single, "Two Hearts Beat As One", hit #12 on the same
The quartet supported the release with the War Tour and before the year was out released the most successful live-album in British history, the set, "Under A Blood Red Sky", rose to #2 and remained on the chart for a total of 192 weeks.
The band's fourth studio-effort, "The Unforgettable Fire", was issued in October of 1984 and debuted at #1 on the British Albums chart highlighted by "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" which peaked at #2 on The Mainstream Rock chart in the States where the album climbed to #12 on The Billboard Top 200 chart; it generated two further singles: the Mainstream Rock top 20 hit "Bad" and the title-track which stormed the European charts.
In March 1987, U2, released their masterpice: "The Joshua Tree", it became an instant #1 in U.K. and in a few weeks reached the top in many European countries, Australia, Canada and U.S. where sold over 10 million copies. This album yielded two #1 hit singles on The Billboard Hot 100: "With Or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For", both these tracks climbed The Mainstream Rock chart reaching the #1 and #2 spots, respectively. The string of Rock hit singles continued with "Bullet The Blue Sky": #14, "Where The Streets Have No Name": #11 and the top 10 hit "In God's Country". The group toured around the globe performing in over 100 live shows and finally, "The Joshua Tree" won them two Grammy Awards for Album Of The Year and Best Rock Performance.
In October of 1988, the foursome released "Rattle And Hum",
an album that contained live-tracks and new material such as "Desire",
which rose to #1 on both The Billboard's Rock charts, "Angel Of Harlem",
which climbed to the top on The Mainstream Rock Tracks and crested at #3 on The Modern Rock chart; the third single, "When Love Comes To
Town", hit #2 on The Mainstream Rock list. This double-LP topped The Billboard
Top 200 and the U.K. charts.
Around this time the band released a cover of "Jesus Christ" which became a top 10 hit on The Modern Rock Tracks. In the spring of 1989, U2, with the track "Desire", won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance.
In late 1990, the group contributed to the "Red Hot + Blue" AIDS Benefit Series, the cover of Cole Porter's "Night And Day", the track hit #2 on The Modern Rock chart, in the mean time they started the recording sessions for their sixth studio album; "Achtung Baby" was finally released in November 1991, the set contained much more electronic and dance-oriented songs, despite the radical change from the original style to the next, the album reached the #1 spots in America, Australia and British charts, spawning three #1s Mainstream Rock single tracks: "Mysterious Ways", "Even Better Than The Real Thing" and "One"; two more cuts, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" and "The Fly", peaked at #2 on the same chart, the latter of which also got to the top of The Modern Rock Tracks; a further single, "Until The End Of The World", didn't quite make the top 5 of The Modern Rock chart. At the 35th Annual Grammy Awards, U2 took home their fifth Grammy for Best Rock Album.
During 1992, the band kicked off their technically innovative tour called Zoo TV and found time to write and record new material, the result was 1993's "Zooropa", the 10-track album peaked at #1 in Europe, North-America, Australia and was awarded with a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album; its singles, "Numb" and "Lemon", smashed in the top 3 of The Modern Rock chart.
Two years later, the single "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me", recorded for the soundtrack of the movie "Batman Forever", peaked at #1 on both The Billboard Magazine's Rock charts.
After an extended hiatus, U2 returned in 1997 with the first album in four years, the new effort entitled "Pop" which developed through techno-dance style, peaked at #1 in over 25 countries all over the world; it generated two #1 Modern Rock hit singles: "Discotheque" and "Staring At The Sun" plus "Last Night On Earth" that stopped just short of the top 10, at #11, on the same chart.
The next year the band released "The Best Of 1980-1990", the set included the previously unreleased song "Sweetest Thing"; surprisingly the track didn't storm the charts like its predecessors.
In October of 2000, U2 returned with its tenth album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind", which went straight to #1 on The Billboard 200, reaching the same position in many other countries. The first single off the CD, "Beautiful Day" entered the top 5 of The Modern Rock chart and a few months later was awarded with three Grammy: Best Rock Performance By A Group, Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. During 2001 the album generated three new hit singles and the greatest Irish band of all time walked away from 44th annual Grammy ceremony with four awards: "Elevation" won for Best Rock Performance, "Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of " won for Best Pop Performance, "Walk On" was awarded as Record Of The Year and "All That You Can't Leave Behind" was honored with Best Rock Album.
The group's second decade collection arrived in late 2002, the set included "Electrical Storm", which peaked at #14 on The Modern Rock chart.
The band returned to action in November 2004 releasing their worldwide chart-topping smash album "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb"; the CD was premiered by the single "Vertigo" which immediately soared to the top spots on the British Pop Sales, on the Canadian Singles charts and on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks. It was followed by "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own", another U.K. #1 hit, "City Of Blinding Lights" which peaked at #2 in Britain and "All Because Of You", a further U.K. top 5 smash and Canadian #1 hit which also crossed over into the Billboard's Mainstream Rock top 20 chart. With this album U2 collected an armful of Grammy Awards: "Vertigo" won for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song in early 2005. A year later, "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" won for Best Rock Album and Album Of The Year, the single "City Of Blinding Lights" won for Best Rock Song, "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" won for both Song Of The Year and Best Rock Performance by a Group.
Released in November 2006, "U218 Singles" was the first single-disc collection to span the band's 26-year career, the 18-track set contained two new songs, "Window In The Skies" and the cover of The Skids' "The Saints Are Coming", recorded with Green Day and rewritten to vaguely address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Both the tracks hit the U.K. top 5 and squeaked into the U.S. Hot Modern Rock top 40.
"No Line On The Horizon", the Irish superstar Rock band's twelfth studio album, was released in February 2009 going to #1 in almost every country in the world; the first single, "Get On Your Boots", hit #12 in U.K. and #5 on the U.S. Hot Modern Rock Tracks and was followed by "Magnificent", another Modern Rock top 20 hit and "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight" which went a bit beyond the top 30 of the Billboard 's Rock Songs list.
U2 resurfaced in late 2013 with "Ordinary Love", a song written specifically for the biographical film "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom".
In February 2014 U2 made their new song "Invisible" available as a free download on iTunes, but, in a way, the song was even better than free: Bank of America promised to give one dollar for each download of the track to (RED), the organization Bono cofounded in 2006 to help fight AIDS.
Bono says that "Invisible" is a “sneak preview” and not the first official single off the upcoming album.