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Then & Now

2009 No Line On The Horizon

U2's current album comes five years after its last--due to various factors, including a scrapped start in 2006 and then a prolific burst of writing carrying it past its original planned 2008 release. In the works for summer 2009 is a worldwide tour. The band also sat down with Yahoo! for a three-part interview, talking about what it's like to play music in the biggest rock 'n' roll band in the world.

See Part 2 and Part 3 of our U2 interview, too.  


2004 How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

The band maintains a traditional rock sound on its 11th release, with Bono going so far as to say it is their "first rock album." Singles "Vertigo" and "All Because Of You" helped the record gain both critical and fan approval.


2000 All That You Can't Leave Behind

u2's 10th studio album is notable for its return to a more traditional sound, after several releases exploring alternative and dance vibes. The band netted seven Grammy Awards for the album and its singles. "Beautiful Day" remains a fan favorite.


1997 Pop

Still continuing in a dance-friendly vein, U2 rushed to complete this album to precede its already-booked Popmart Tour. Critical reaction was mixed but the record acheived platinum sales.

1993 Zooropa

This album was recorded during a brief break in U2's Zoo TV Tour, an elaborate multimedia experience devoted to exploring the influences of pop culture. Released during the peak of music's "grunge" period, Zooropa's focus on European influences and alt/dance sound made it an aural standout that year.


1991 Achtung Baby

The band delves into electronic, dance, industrial, and other varied influences here. This reach into new territory propelled U2 further from its '80s image. Yet another collection of singles are spawned: "One," "Even Better Than The Real Thing," "Mysterious Ways," and more.


1988 Rattle & Hum

U2 recorded this mix of live performances and new songs following the Joshua Tree Tour. As a companion piece to the album, the band made a rockumentary film of the same title, released in theaters that same year. The record featured a Beatles cover and guest appearances by Bob Dylan and B.B. King, as well as the catchy lead single "Desire."

1987 The Joshua Tree

U2's fifth album, exploring various musical styles and political topics, catapulted the group into superstardom. Another handful of classic singles come from this record: "With Or Without You," "I still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and "Where The Streets Have No Name."

1984 The Unforgettable Fire

This Brian Eno-produced record featured a shift in direction for the band--more atmospheric and ambient. It featured the hit "Pride," a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1985, U2 performs a memorable set at the historic Live Aid concert in London, and Rolling Stone names them "Band of the '80s."

1982 War

Lackluster sales of October motivated U2 to focus on improvement. The resulting album, War, became the band's first commercial success, including classic hits "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "New Year's Day."

1981 October

The band's second album features an emphasis on religious and spiritual themes, with "Gloria" and "Tomorrow" being standouts. 

1980 Boy

Island Records signs U2 to their roster, and Boy is released in October. The album features the band's first UK hit, "I Will Follow." 

1978 First Recordings

The band wins an Irish talent contest, resulting in a cash prize plus funding to record a demo. In 1979, the band releases an Ireland-only EP, Three, which charts locally. They also recruit their first manager--who will remain with them through their entire career.

1976 U2 is formed in Dublin, Ireland

Teenaged drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. advertises on his school bulletin board for musicians interested in starting a new band. He receives interest from a handful of schoolmates, including Adam Clayton, Paul Hewson (known by family and friends as "Bono"), and Dave Evans (later to be called "The Edge). The group shifts lineups and changes its name several times, finally settling on the aforementioned quartet and the name "U2."

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