Arriving at the outset of the eighties, the Irish group U2 brought passion and commitment back to rock and roll. The four band members – vocalist Bono (born Paul Hewson), guitarist the Edge (Dave Evans), bass player Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. – formed the group at Mount Temple School in Dublin in 1976. Originally called Feedback, then the Hype, U2 developed a local following playing in clubs. In 1978, they won a battle of the bands that eventually led to their first recording, an EP called U2-3. In 1999, Bono shifted his focus from music into social politics. He became a fixture on the front pages of newspapers, as he made his way around the globe and met with world leaders. By the end of 2002, the escalating AIDS crisis in Africa had become Bono’s major focus. Meanwhile, in 2004, U2 released How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which contained some of Bono’s most personal lyrics. Twenty-five years after U2 formed at a Dublin high school, the group has remained together with the same lineup, an almost unheard-of feat in the music world. They are also the biggest rock group in the world that continues to tour frequently. U2 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
The exhibit includes Bono’s first guitar and one of the 13 “The Goal Is Soul” guitars built for Bono to use onstage and to donate to various charities. He played this guitar during the Elevation tour and at the Super Bowl XXXVI half-time show. Also included in the exhibit is one of the two basses custom designed for Adam Clayton’s use during the PopMart tour. The exhibit features the first U2 shirt, which U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. silk-screened in his high school art class, as well as the U2 “Lemon” uniforms that were worn in the song’s video and onstage during the Australian leg of the Zooropa tour.