Bono on music, activism and faith

In additional than 4 a long time as U2’s frontman, Bono has been main one of many world’s largest rock bands the world over’s largest phases. However this stage (should you can name it that), within the schoolyard at Mount Temple Complete in North Dublin, can be their first.

Mounting the stage with “CBS Night Information” anchor Norah O’Donnell, Bono recalled, “Yeah, I imply, most individuals had been wanting the opposite approach, if they’d ears. However wow, did it really feel good to be right here!”

U2 frontman Bono, with CBS Information’ Norah O’Donnell, on the North Dublin college stage the place he and his bandmates first carried out. 

CBS Information

It was 1978. The boys who weren’t fairly but on their approach to superstardom – Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton – had been known as The Hype. The identify did not stick, however Bono already had the imprecise sense they could stay as much as it. 

O’Donnell requested, “Do you keep in mind that feeling of being on stage right here?”

“I keep in mind this sense of, ‘I can do that,'” he stated. “It is the factor. It is while you discover the factor.”

Born Paul David Hewson, he was dubbed Bono by his childhood greatest pal, and he discovered “the factor” early on.

Early days for The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Bono and Adam Clayton.

Patrick Brocklebank/U2

It wasn’t apparent, even to his highschool music instructor. “I keep in mind one second the place he says, ‘I will get you individuals who can play an instrument to put in writing a bit of music,'” Bono stated.

“However you did not know play an instrument?”

“No, so I used to be in a distinct a part of the category. However I keep in mind that feeling, you already know, as a result of I knew I might do that. I do know I do not know play an instrument, sir! However I’ve these melodies in my head, and I’ve phrases and I’ve issues I need to say.” 

U2 shaped after 14-year-old Larry Mullen Jr. posted an advert on a college bulletin board: “Drummer seeks musicians to type band.” 


“How casually our future arrives,” Bono writes in his new memoir, “Give up: 40 Songs, One Story,” revealed this Tuesday by Knopf.

The thought of how the band began was “preposterous,” he stated, “however there was magic, you already know, that is all we had. And naturally, there was a desperation to make one thing of our lives.”

“In these early days of the band, did any of you’ve got an concept of superstardom?” 

“That will be me!” he laughed. “It is so embarrassing! Making an attempt to interrupt it down generally once I have a look at the absurdity of my life …. We personal some sort of feeling. We personal our personal tone. So, there’s one thing there.”

With that tone – that singular sound – U2 rose to the peak of success – the one band in historical past with #1 albums on the Billboard 200 in 4 consecutive a long time, beginning within the Nineteen Eighties with “The Joshua Tree.”

U2 performs “I Nonetheless Have not Discovered What I am Trying For” from “The Joshua Tree”:

U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Official Music Video) by

They’ve offered an estimated 170 million albums and received 22 Grammys – greater than every other band.

It was a great distance from Cedarwood Street, the place Bono grew up. Whereas we visited with the household that lives in his childhood dwelling (“It is by no means our place, it is at all times, ‘Was that Bono’s home?'” laughed Mrs. Ryan), a crowd gathered exterior to see the native boy who made good.

Bono pays a go to to his outdated neighborhood, at Cedarwood Street in Dublin. 

CBS Information

As a part of our tour of Bono’s Dublin, we stopped for a pint at Finnegan’s of Dalkey for a uncommon interview with Bono’s spouse of 40 years, Ali Hewson.

O’Donnell requested, “So, you name him Bono? Not Paul?”

“Just about – I name him quite a bit issues!” Ali laughed.

“And Paul isn’t one among them!” Bono added.

Bono and his spouse, Ali Hewson.

CBS Information

They began relationship the identical week U2 turned a band, and he or she’s impressed a few of their largest hits.

Blue-eyed boy meets a brown-eyed woman
Oh oh oh, the sweetest factor
You possibly can sew it up, however you continue to see the tear
Oh oh oh, the sweetest factor
Child’s bought blue skies up forward
And on this I am a rain cloud
Oh it is a stormy sort of love
Oh oh oh, the sweetest factor

When requested what she thought studying “Give up,” Ali replied, “I used to be very nervous about what was going to go in that e book. However I believe he is an unimaginable author. It simply appears to be something he turns his hand to, he can do, which could be very annoying more often than not!”

O’Donnell requested, “Which one among you first noticed what U2 may turn out to be?”

“I do not assume both of us actually noticed it,” Ali stated. “I imply, there was an enormous quantity of confidence while you’re a young person, I suppose.” 

“Entrance is one other phrase for that,” Bono stated. “Frontman. Yeah. In all probability extra entrance than substance … and religion.”

Religion not solely in himself, and never solely his band.

“You speak about religion quite a bit; are you non secular?” O’Donnell requested.

“I do not know. I am like a stray canine. I’m going to a Catholic church. I might be in a synagogue. If someone stated proper now right here, ‘Would you give your life to Jesus?’ I might be, ‘Me!’ And I am not a kind of that turns over the image of the pope earlier than they do something funky. I take God with me wherever I am going. And so, God has seen me in a little bit of a state, I am certain.”

Singer and activist Bono.

CBS Information

Early on, U2’s involvement in a Christian group led to questioning whether or not they might be a band and be believers. Bono stated, “What goal can music – what is the goal? The world is, you already know, in flames. What are we doing right here? At that second Edge began work on a music known as ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday.’ And that is what unlocked it for him. And that sort of unlocked it for us, as a result of we realized that our songs can communicate right into a scenario and maybe be helpful.”

And the battle’s simply begun
There’s many misplaced, however inform me who has received?
The trenches dug inside our hearts
And moms, kids, brothers, sisters torn aside
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
How lengthy, how lengthy should we sing this music?
How lengthy? How lengthy?

Sunday Bloody Sunday by
U2 – Topic on

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” was a condemnation of the bloodshed in Eire on the time. And, Bono stated, though it was examined, they did not lose their religion. “It isn’t like, ‘Oh, we have grown up out of that, that was a bit mad.’ It was a bit mad. However truly, the scriptures, the sacred texts are nonetheless essential to me and essential to the band.”

Which could clarify his a long time’ lengthy combat in opposition to poverty, his conferences with popes and presidents, lobbying heads of state around the globe, a lot of it by means of the work of his group, One. “Our motivation could be very a lot justice,” he stated. “We cancelled $130 billion price of debt. An additional 54 million kids went to highschool. That is an enormous factor in my life. Significantly with combating AIDS, that, for me, exterior of my household, our music, is the factor that I am most pleased with in my life, whilst a tiny half, a catalyst.”

Whether or not it is music, or politics or activism, for Bono the frontman it comes right down to the identical factor: “In something, I used to be at all times on the lookout for the highest line melody.”

“Describe what you imply while you say high line melodies?” requested O’Donnell.

“It is the factor within the room that rises above the noise and the chatter,” he stated. “That is my job. I am a songwriter. I am on the lookout for the clear thought in most issues that I do. However the very best tales win. The perfect melodies are those that you simply hear across the nook and also you go, ‘What’s that?’ Prime line melody.”

O’Donnell stated, “I imply, we bought to finish there, I imply that – “

“For f***’s sake.” 

“For f***’s sake. That is so good. Do not use me saying that!”

“Get this girl a drink!” Bono laughed.

READ AN EXCERPT: “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story” by Bono

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Story produced by Mikaela Bufano. Editor: Steven Tyler. 

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