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 one of the two basses custom designed for Adam Clayton’s use during the PopMart tour, and Bono's American flag-lined jacket from U2's performance at the Superbowl XXXVI half-time show. Also included are two 1979 rejection letters from RSO and Arista records sent to U2 while the band was looking for a recording contract.