U2 started as the “Larry Mullen Band” in the band’s humble beginnings back in 1976. A fourteen year old Larry Mullen Jr. posted a notice on his secondary school’s (Mount Temple Comprehensive School) notice board seeking musicians for a new band. Started off as a band of seven which included Dik Evans (Edge’s Brother) and 2 friends of Mullen- Peter Martin and Ivan McCormick. It soon became clear to other band members that Bono(Paul Hewson) didn’t really know how to play guitar or could sing great, but the other band members decided to stick with him because of the obvious energy he brought. Martin and McCormick left a few weeks later and U2 then called themselves “Feedback”, mainly playing covers with an obvious influence of Post Punk Rock. In 1978, “The Hype” became the band’s newest name and Dik Evans left the band on good terms with the band favouring a 4 piece set. With Larry Mullen Jr. on drums, Adam Clayton on Bass, Bono (Paul Hewson) on vocals and The Edge (Dave Evans) on guitar, U2 was officially born.
In 1978 on Saint Patrick’s Day, U2 won a talent show in Limerick, Ireland, playing original material winning Â£500 and a chance to record a demo. Hot Press journalist Bill Graham introduced Paul McGuiness to the band and was asked and agreed to be the band’s manager. The EP “Three” was released soon thereafter which was an Ireland-only release, shooting up the charts on the strength of “Out of Control”. They released the single “Another Day”, through the CBS label, but again it was an Ireland-only release.
U2 performed for the first time out of Ireland in 1979, in which they performed in London, but they failed to make any sort of impact. U2 received their first big breakthrough in 1980 after being signed up by Island Records on a four record deal. Their debut album “Boy” soon was released and featured the single “I Will Follow”. While the critical view was that U2 was still raw, they showed enormous upside and their energy and passion were obvious in the overriding theme of adolescent angst. Their follow up album, “October” was released the following year, which focused more on spirituality. Bono and The Edge actually left the band temporally to join a religious sect called the ‘Shalom Fellowship’ and for a short time U2 ceased to exist. October did not sell well and received mixed reviews, but managed to showcase bono’s song writing abilities. U2’s energetic live performances during European tours gave them the reputation of being a great live band. Soon after in 1983, U2 released their breakthrough album, ‘War.’
“New Year’s Day”, was the first single from ‘War’ and became U2’s first top 10 hit, reaching number 10 on the UK singles chart. “War” was released soon after, which received wide acclaimed and critical applaud, becoming an instant success reaching number 1 in the UK, and selling out shows in both Europe and America. ‘War’ was rated by Rolling Stone 4.5 out of 5 and would go on to be listed as number 221 of 500 of the greatest albums of all time. ‘War’ was U2’s first overtly political album, diverting from the spiritual themes of “October”. The anthemic, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” became a crowd favourite was subsequently performed at Live Aid in 1985.
To read the rest of U2’s early discography click on U2 History To read U2 album reviews visit our U2 Album Review website
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