U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono (lead vocals and guitar), the Edge (guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums and percussion). U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group's musical pursuits, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal themes and sociopolitical concerns.
Since their inception, U2 have developed and maintained a distinctly recognisable sound, with emphasis on melodic instrumentals and expressive, larger-than-life vocals. This approach is rooted partly in the early influence of record producer Steve Lillywhite at a time when the band was not known for musical proficiency. The Edge has consistently used a rhythmic echo and a signature delay to craft his distinctive guitar work, coupled with an Irish-influenced drone played against his syncopated melodies that ultimately yields a well-defined ambient, chiming sound. Bono has nurtured his falsetto operatic voice and has exhibited a notable lyrical bent towards social, political, and personal subject matter while maintaining a grandiose scale in his songwriting. In addition, the Edge has described U2 as a fundamentally live band.
U2 have released 13 studio albums and are one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 170 million records worldwide. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and, in 2005, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone ranked U2 at number 22 in its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time".
Browse our unique collection of U2 photos and prints below
Early shot of U2 taken in Bayswater, London in the summer of 1979 for the Telegraph Sunday Magazine.
Bono & The Edge from U2 live onstage in Boston, Massachusetts in June 2001
Bono from U2 performing live on their Joshua Tree Tour in Rotterdam, Holland in July 1987
U2 photographed in the cab of their VW tour van with all the accumulated trash from their drive up the M1 from London
Limited edition of Morgan Howell's original painting of the cover of U2's 'I Will Follow' vinyl single
Bono photographed whilst on tour in America in 1992 in front of an old style circus poster that read 'The Greatest Show on Earth'
Bono and The Edge of U2 performing live in Cork, Ireland in February 1980
U2 perform live at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California in April 2001
U2 performing on the Pyramid Stage during pouring rain at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival
Bono captured by Kevin Westenberg during the video shoot for U2's single 'City of Blinding Lights' in Vancover in 2005
U2 (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen Jnr) on a beach in Cork, Ireland in February 1980
U2 on top of a hotel roof in Cork, Ireland on a cold February morning in 1980
Contact sheet images of U2 on the roof of the Country Club Hotel in Cork in August 1980