May 10 ~  Change the World Into the Heart: Stories Behind Every U2 Song

"As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both." ~ Bono


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.'"

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 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 to fight AIDS and poverty.

"Rock music can change things. I know that it changed our lives," Bono said.

Described as the last of the rock idealists, Bono has a sense of loyalty and humanity for rock music. His 1994 Grammy speech praising Frank Sinatra and 1999 induction of Bruce Springsteen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are memorable classics.

"My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them," he once explained.

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

Have fun as you change the world.