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U2 performing in August 2017, from left to right: Larry Mullen Jr.; The Edge; Bono; Adam Clayton

U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), the Edge (lead guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). Initially rooted in post-punk, U2's musical style evolved throughout their career, yet has maintained an anthemic sound built on Bono's expressive vocals and the Edge's effects-based guitar textures. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal and sociopolitical themes. Popular for their live performances, the group have staged several ambitious and elaborate tours over their career.

The band formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. Within four years, they signed with Island Records and released their debut album, Boy (1980). Subsequent work such as their first UK number-one album, War (1983), and the singles "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)" helped establish U2's reputation as a politically and socially conscious group. By the mid-1980s, they had become renowned globally for their live act, highlighted by their performance at Live Aid in 1985. The group's fifth album, The Joshua Tree (1987), made them international superstars and was their greatest critical and commercial success. Topping music charts around the world, it produced their only number-one singles in the US, "With or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".

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The initial recording sessions took place at Berlin's Hansa Studios in late 1990 in a former SS ballroom.
Achtung Baby is the seventh studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and was released on 18 November 1991 on Island Records. Stung by criticism of their 1988 release, Rattle and Hum, U2 shifted their musical direction to incorporate influences from alternative rock, industrial music, and electronic dance music into their sound. Thematically, the album is darker, more introspective, and at times more flippant than their previous work. Achtung Baby and the subsequent multimedia-intensive Zoo TV Tour were central to the group's 1990s reinvention, by which they abandoned their earnest public image for a more lighthearted and self-deprecating one.

Seeking inspiration from German reunification, U2 began recording Achtung Baby at Berlin's Hansa Studios in October 1990. After tensions and slow progress nearly prompted the group to break up, they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the song "One". Morale and productivity improved during subsequent recording sessions in Dublin, where the album was completed in 1991. To confound the public's expectations of the band and their music, U2 chose the record's facetious title and colourful multi-image sleeve.

Achtung Baby is one of U2's most successful records; it received favourable reviews and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 Top Albums, while topping the charts in many other countries. Five songs were released as commercial singles, all of which were chart successes. The album has sold 18 million copies worldwide and won a Grammy Award in 1993 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The record was reissued in October 2011 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of its original release.

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Did you know...

  • ... that on the front cover of "All That You Can't Leave Behind" is a very subtle Biblical reference? In the background J 33-3 can be seen. This is a reference to verse 33 of chapter 3 of the book of Jeremiah: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and hidden things which you have not known."
  • ... that Bono and Adam Clayton rented a Jeep Cherokee and headed off from LA to New Orleans. Bono did the navigating, and the bassist did the driving?
  • ... that for 24 hours, for every download of the song "Invisible" by U2, Bank of America was giving $1 to the organisation (RED), raising $3,138,470 to fight HIV-AIDS?


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WikiProject U2 is a project that helps to assemble writers and editors interested in U2. The aim of this project is to standardise and improve articles related to U2, as well as to create any missing articles. To become a member of this WikiProject (anyone may join), simply click here - and add {{user|username}}.

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Selected biography

Larry Mullen, Jr. at the Barnes & Noble store in Union Square, New York City, 26 September 2006
Laurence Joseph "Larry" Mullen, Jr. (born 31 October 1961) is an Irish musician and the drummer for the Irish rock band U2. One of the four original founders of U2, he would relate that he described the band as "'The Larry Mullen Band' for about ten minutes, then Bono walked in and blew any chance I had of being in charge."

He has worked on numerous side projects during his career, including a collaboration with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills of R.E.M. to form Automatic Baby in 1993 and working with bandmate Adam Clayton on the re-recording of the theme to Mission: Impossible, in 1996. He has been awarded, both as part of U2 and in his own right, 22 Grammy awards.

He attended the School of Music in Chatham Row to learn piano at the age of eight and then, began drumming in 1971, at the age of 9, under the instruction of Irish drummer Joe Bonnie. In the early days of U2, his contributions to the band were often limited to fills and drum rolls, but he became more involved in the writing of the songs later, particularly in conjunction with Adam Clayton, his partner in the rhythm section. He was placed at # 21 in Stylus Magazine's list of the 50 Greatest Rock Drummers. Although he occasionally plays keyboards and synthesiser in concerts, Mullen rarely sings during performances.


  • "I love being there, I love America, I love the feeling of the wide open spaces, I love the deserts, I love the mountain ranges, I even love the cities. So having fallen in love with America over the years that we've been there on tour, I then had to “deal with” America and the way it was affecting me, because America's having such an effect on the world at the moment. On this record I had to deal with it on a political level for the first time, if in a subtle way." —Bono, on the album's thematic inspirations, "The Joshua Tree", Propaganda 5 (January 1987)
  • "Don't believe them when they tell me there ain't no cure. / The Rich stay healthy, / the Sick stay poor" —"God Part II" (Bono), Rattle and Hum (1988)
  • "There's four evil motherfuckers in U2. I think we would've broken up years ago if there'd been any pansies in the band." —The Edge, looking back on Achtung Baby sessions (2002)
  • "Leave it behind / You've got to leave it behind: / All that you fashion / All that you make / All that you build / All that you break / All that you measure / All that you steal / All this you can leave behind / All that you reason / All that you sense / All that you speak / All you dress up / All that you scheme" —"Walk On" (Bono'), All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000)
  • "A paradigm shift we talk about a lot is going from silent to talkies, or from black and white to color. We think [U2 3D] is a key change with regards to both digital delivery and also 3D. We all see in 3D in real life and every technological advancement in film has always been about bringing you closer and immersing you into the story or the emotion of what you're watching." —John Modell, U2 3D producer and 3ality Digital co-founder, in Photocall-Interview U2 3D, Cannes Film Festival (19 May 2007)


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