Who Is Bono?
Bono is an Irish musician who joined the band U2 while he was still in high school. THe band's sixth album The Joshua Tree, made them international stars. Bono has used his celebrity to call attention to global problems, including world poverty and AIDS. Bono was named a "Person of the Year" by TIME magazine in 2005, and Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary knight in 2007.
Born Paul David Hewson on May 10, 1960, in Dublin, Ireland, Bono is the son of a Roman Catholic postal worker and a Protestant mother—who died when he was just 14. He joined the band U2 in October 1976, when he was in high school and was dubbed "Bono Vox" (good voice). He was made frontman for the Irish rock band though his singing at the time was less compelling than his stage presence.
Success With U2- 'Joshua Tree'
U2 began touring almost immediately and released its first album, Boy, in 1980. In 1987, they released the Grammy-winning The Joshua Tree, their sixth album and the one that catapulted the band—and its outspoken frontman—to stardom. Subsequent albums secured U2's reputation for range and innovation, including 1991's industrial-sounding Achtung Baby, 1993's funkier-edged Zooropa and the techno-influenced Pop (1997).
U2 has returned to its modern rock roots with 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Creating simple but powerful music, the group scored with such tracks as the soaring "Beautiful Day," which won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of Year. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004) also fared well, both commercially and critically. Its two leading singles, "Vertigo" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," made strong showings on the charts and won several Grammys.
In March 2009, the band released No Line on the Horizon, which reached the top of the American pop charts. It featured such popular songs as "Get On Your Boots" and "Magnificent." To support the album, Bono and the rest of the group toured extensively.
Music for Activism
Throughout U2's career, Bono has written most of the band's lyrics, often focusing on untraditional themes like politics and religion. In fact, social activism has always been close to the singer's heart, and he has used his music to raise consciousness with performances at Band Aid, Live 8 and Net Aid, among others.
In 2006, U2 joined forces with the punk-influenced band Green Day to record a cover of the Skids' "The Saints Are Coming" to benefit the rebuilding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The next year, Bono and the rest of U2 contributed the title track to Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.
Starting the Organization One
Outside of music, Bono has used his celebrity to generate awareness about many global problems. Over the years, he has met with world leaders and many U.S. politicians to discuss such issues as debt relief for developing countries, world poverty and AIDS. Bono has also lobbied tirelessly on behalf of many causes, including two he helped create: DATA and One. DATA, which stands for Debt AIDS Trade Africa, is dedicated to fighting AIDS and ending poverty in Africa. Started in 2004, One is a nonpartisan campaign to "Make Poverty History" and is supported by more than 100 nonprofit organizations as well as millions of individuals, including celebrities like Ben Affleck, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt.
In 2005, Bono and his wife Ali Hewson established EDUN, a socially responsible clothing line. While it is a for-profit enterprise, its mission is to foster "sustainable employment in developing areas of the world, particularly Africa," according to its website. Bono was named a "Person of the Year" by TIME magazine for his charitable work that same year, along with Bill and Melinda Gates. Across the Atlantic, Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary knight of the British Empire in 2007.
Composer, Producer for 'Spider-Man'
Bono eventually turned his sights towards Broadway. Along with U2 bandmate The Edge, he worked on music and lyrics while serving as producer for the live theatrical show, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which opened in 2011. The musical, originally directed by Julie Taymor, had a tumultuous road to its opening, with Bono and Taymor falling out and later becoming embroiled in legal battles over copyright infringement and contractual stipulations.
'Songs of Innocence' Release with Apple
In early 2013, Bono announced that he and his band were working on another album tentatively called 10 Reasons to Exist, which was later released in the fall of 2014 as Songs of Innocence.
In collaboration with Apple, the band released Songs of Innocence for free on iTunes and streaming services iTunes Radio, and what was at the time, Beats Music. But the album's release came with controversy; many customers were unhappy that it was automatically downloaded into their music libraries without their consent, while some musicians were concerned that giving an album away for free sent the wrong message.
Despite the criticism and receiving mixed reviews, the album got a nod from Rolling Stone as the best album of 2014. It was also nominated for Best Rock Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
Wife and Children
Bono and his wife, Ali, have been married since 1982. They have two daughters, Jordan and Memphis Eve, and two sons, Elijah and John Abraham.
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