Arguably the world's most popular band, U2 put together explosive concert performances that are the stuff of legend. Originally a post-punk band, U2 - and their sound - found a magical combination of creative sound, socially conscious lyrics and performance charisma that sold more than 170 million records worldwide, collected 22 Grammy awards and sparked the highest-grossing concert tour in history.
U2 is still made up of four of its founding members: charismatic lead singer Bono, guitarist "The Edge," Adam Clayton on bass guitar, and Larry Mullen Jr. on drums and percussion. The four of them formed the band - first known as Feedback, then shortly after as Hype — in 1976 after a teenage Mullen posted an ad on the bulletin board of their school. Biographies often note that the four didn't have a lot of technical proficiency at the time, but that arguably worked in their favor, as they developed creative workarounds that evolved into a rich tapestry of creativity. In 1978 the band changed their name to U2, and by 1980 they signed to Island Records and released their debut album Boy. In 1983 they released their first No. 1 album on the UK charts, War, and made a name for themselves as socially conscious artists.
Fans lucky enough to score U2 tickets for the band's 1985 Live Aid performance witnessed history in the making; it was this performance that introduced U2 to the world as a dynamite live act, fronted by Bono's limitless charisma and energy. In the same year, Rolling Stone named U2 the "Band of the '80s." But it was really their critical and commercial smash hit 1987 album, Joshua Tree, that catapulted them to true international prominence. That stardom never waned as the band reinvented itself through the years, although never straying too far from its theme-rock roots. Electronic music, alt rock and multimedia are just a few of the influences that they've incorporated into their studio albums and stage act over the years, and their live shows put that dynamic range on full display.
U2 reached their first career milestone when they won a talent contest in Limerick, Ireland, which included an opportunity to record a demo tape. Although the tape didn't see much success, they used the momentum to continue building their fan base across Ireland — and that did lead to their signing with Island Records, which quickly brought them to worldwide fame. In 2005 — the first year they were eligible — U2 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Similar to U2
Fans of the spectacular U2 tour experience may also enjoy London-based Coldplay, which echoes the Irish band's anthem-based rock, top-selling concerts and philanthropic concerns. Or for the best in anthem rock from the US, it's hard to beat "The Boss," Bruce Springsteen.