By Mollie Olsem

No one likes a know-it-all, but sometimes it pays off! When it comes to a band like U2, whipping out a fun fact or three will really please the crowd. Before your next trivia night or family dinner, equip yourself with these ten interesting things you may not have known about U2.

  • The track order of 1987’s Joshua Tree was personally chosen by singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl. MacColl was a close friend of the band and ranked them in order of which songs she liked best.

  • Their fourth studio album Unforgettable Fire was named after a series of paintings created by the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. The band visited the exhibit while on tour in Japan in 1983 and the album was released in 1984.

  • U2 got its start in 1978 when they won first place in a St. Patrick’s Day talent competition. The prize was just enough cash to record a demo. They made a three-song EP, played a few gigs and were eventually signed by Island Records in 1980.

  • The group was formed by drummer Larry Mullen Jr who put up a wanted ad at school. They were originally the Larry Mullen Band, but as Mullen Jr said that lasted about ten minutes. “Bono walked in and blew any chance I had of being in charge.”

  • “One Tree Hill” was written in memory of Greg Carroll, a New Zealander roadie and one of Bono’s best friends. The song was written after Carroll died in a motorcycle accident in Dublin in 1986. Bono was so emotional he recorded the vocals in one take and couldn’t try it again.

  • Bono is the only person to be nominated for a Grammy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Nobel Prize. He won 22 Grammy awards with U2 and a Globe for “The Hands That Built America” from the film Gangs of New York. His 2013 Oscar nomination for “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom lost to “Let It Go” from Frozen.

  • Bono’s name comes from latin Bono Vox, meaning good voice.

  • Bono and the Edge own the Clarence Hotel in Dublin. They purchased it in 1992 and refurbished it, reopening in 1996. A live version of “Beautiful Day” was recorded on the roof for the BBC’s Top of the Pops show.

  • In 1987, U2 was the fourth rock band to appear on the cover of Time magazine, following The Beatles, The Band and The Who

  • Back in 1981, a suitcase was stolen from the group at a Portland concert and returned to Bono in 2004. Inside the suitcase were the original notes and lyrics for the album October. It was found by a renter in Tacoma, Washington who discovered it in her attic.


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