U2 formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. Within four years, they signed with Island Recordsand released their debut album Boy. By the mid-1980s, they became a top international act. They were more successful as live performers than they were at selling records, until their breakthrough 1987 album The Joshua Tree, which, according to Rolling Stone, elevated the band's stature "from heroes to superstars". Reacting to musical stagnation and late-1980s criticism of their earnest imageand musical direction, the group reinvented themselves with their 1991 hit album Achtung Baby and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour. U2 integrated dance, industrial, and alternative rock influences into their sound and performances, and embraced a more ironic and self-deprecating image. Similar experimentation continued for the remainder of the 1990s with mixed levels of success. U2 regained criticaland commercial favour after their 2000 record All That You Can't Leave Behind. On it and the group's subsequent releases, they adopted a more conventional sound while maintaining influences from their earlier musical explorations.
U2 have released 12 studio albums and are among the best-selling groups in popular music, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide. They have won 22 GrammyAwards, more than any other band. In 2005, U2 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". Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, the ONE/DATA campaigns,Product Red, and The Edge's Music Rising.
Formation and early years (1976–79)
The band formed in Dublin on 25 September 1976. Larry Mullen, Jr., then a 14-year-old student at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, posted a note on the school's notice board in search of musicians for a new band—six people responded. Setting up in his kitchen, Mullen was on drums, with Paul Hewson (Bono) on leadvocals; David Evans (The Edge) and his older brother Dik Evans on guitar; Adam Clayton, a friend of the Evans brothers on bass guitar; and initially Ivan McCormick and Peter Martin, two other friends of Mullen. Mullen later described it as "'The Larry Mullen Band' for about ten minutes, then Bono walked in and blew any chance I had of being in charge." Soon after, the group settled on the name"Feedback" because it was one of the few technical terms they knew. Martin did not return after the first practice, and McCormick left the group within a few weeks. Most of the group's initial material consisted of cover songs, which the band admitted was not their forté. Some of the earliest influences on the band were emerging punk rock acts, such as The Jam, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, andThe Sex Pistols. The popularity of punk rock convinced the group that musical proficiency was not a prerequisite to being successful.
In March 1977, the band changed their name to The Hype. Dik Evans, who was older and by this time at college, was becoming the odd man out. The rest of the band was leaning towards the idea of a four-piece ensemble and he was "phased out" in March 1978....