Charismatic U2 lead singer Bono (BAH'noh) was born Paul David Hewson (1960-) on this day in Dublin, Ireland. Known for a voice that is passionate, with depth and resonance, he once said, "I remember the day I found I could sing. I said, 'Oh, that's how you do it.'"
As a teenager, friends called him "Bono" after a hearing-aid store in North Dublin. With a drive to succeed, he started singing Beatles and Stones covers with his high school band "Feedback," which morphed to "The Hype" before settling with the name U2.
"We weren't a punk band. We were loud and aggressive, so people said, 'Yeah a punk band,' but we called ourselves U2 to take ourselves out of the usual category of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, even Led Zeppelin--so that people'd hear the name and say, 'What sort of a band would that be then?'"
In 1978, the band won a talent contest at a local pub, found a manager, and played local gigs. They recorded the EP U2:3 and enough Irish fans liked it. Boy (1980) followed, an LP Bono called "loud, glorious, and aggressive." The sound roared the middle ground between pop and metal rock. Critics loved it.
"You don't have to be specific to be political in a song, and sometimes it's better not to be," Bono said.
War (1983) marked their major U.S. breakthrough. The album included Sunday, Bloody Sunday, the blistering protest of the war in Northern Ireland, and Pride (in the Name of Love), a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
For years, the singer has been an outspoken advocate for debt cancellation to Third World countries and has led the fight against AIDS and world poverty. "Rock music can change things. I know that it changed our lives," Bono said.
Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Records, said of Bono, "He is a superior human being. Period. And he's always been like that... He gives credit when he rises, and he blames no one when he falls."
More ROCK Quotations | Song: With or Without You
Rise up and overcome.