Bono, front-man for the band U2. What? You say you don’t know who either one is? Well then, what crater on the moon have you been living in for the last 30 years? Bono, as well as U2 have practically been household names since the mid to late eighties. Arguably the most influential band of the last 3 decades, Bono, as the charismatic lead of the band is both a musical icon and a strong political and social activist. Rarely, has a celebrity of Bono’s status been able to maintain a healthy balance between the world of music and the political arena as successfully as he has done. This superstar is not just talk. As co-founder of the humanitarian organizations, DATA and ONE, along with other numerous charities and programs, Bono has more than proven his resolve to help the needy and less-fortunate. 

Paul David Hewson was born May 10, 1960 to Brendan Robert Hewson and Iris Elizabeth Rankin in the suburb of Ballymun in Dublin, Ireland. He was their second child. Interestingly enough, the Hewson’s had a mixed marriage. Bobby Hewson, (as he was known to all), was a catholic, while Iris, was a protestant. In Ireland, that’s as mixed as you can get. The two groups have never gotten along, going back to the 17th century. Paul Davids’ early childhood was uneventful and ordinary, until he began school, which began at the ‘Inkwell’, a Protestant school. Then onto St. Patrick’s Cathedral choir school, where he was dismissed for throwing dog feces at his Spanish teacher. Bono would later describe his time at the two schools as ‘unhappy, until he was asked to leave’. Paul David would find happiness, however, when, in 1972, he began attending Mt. Temple, Ireland’s first comprehensive and non-denominational high school. Young Paul settled in comfortably to his new situation. While he was no honor student, he did have a flair for art and history and was finally happy. Tragedy was about to strike however. In 1974, while attending her fathers’ funeral, Paul’s mother collapsed and died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage. Paul, now 14 years-old, was devastated. Now it was his home-life that would be a source of problems for him, since he and his father never ‘got on well with one another’, Bono would later say.

Shortly after his mom’s passing, Paul would receive his first nickname, Steinhegvanhuysenolegbangbangbang. Yes, it’s for real. I couldn’t make that one up.It would change later to BonoVox of O’Connell St. after a hearing-aid store, then to Bono Vox, which is cockeyed Latin for ‘good voice’. Finally, it was shortened to Bono, and it stuck. From what I’ve read, Bono was quite the ladies man. He entertained the company of several young ladies. Then, in 1976, he met Alison Stewart, who he would later marry in 1982. They would have four children and remain together to this day. Let’s see, rockstar marries high school sweetheart and 30 years later still happily married? That alone is worth writing about!

In late ’76, 16 year-old Bono had been leaning towards interest in acting, when he read a notice on his school’s bulletin board. Local boy and schoolmate, Larry Mullen was inviting musicians over to his home for band auditions. Besides Bono, several boys showed up at Larry’s house, including 15 year-old guitarist David Evans, (later to be known as the ‘Edge’), and bassist Adam Clayton, (who. at the time could not play bass), came together for the first time. A couple members came and went along with a couple of name changes for the band. First, they we’re ‘Feedback’, then, ‘the hype’, and finally settling on U2, with the final member lineup being, Bono on lead vocals, Edge on guitar, Adam Clayton on bass, and Larry Mullen on drums. This was U2.

Right away it was evident that Bono, as a live performer, had something unique and special. With his energy and his ability to project his emotions onto the crowd, he was able to form a strong bond with audiences. This made the band very popular and soon they had a local following that was growing rapidly. In 1978, the band won a talent contest in Limerick, Ireland. The prize was 500 pounds. Soon after that, they got themselves management in the form of Dublin businessman, Paul McGuiness. With his help, U2signed a record deal with Island records and released their first studio album, ‘Boy’ in 1980.It was received well at home and in the U.K.. In ’81 the band released album no. 2, ‘October’. Again, it did well in Ireland and Britain. Now America was waiting for the young band. In 1983, U2’s 3rd album, ‘War’, was released in the states.

Thanks to MTV’s heavy running of videos for two songs off the album, ‘Sunday, Bloody, Sunday’ and ‘New Years Day’, the band got plenty of exposure. The buzz about the lads from Ireland was mostly positive, however, the aggressive, drum thumping lyrics of some of the songs raised eyebrows of a few critics and listeners. Bono stepped up immediately to explain the songs were in no way praising war or violence in any way, just the opposite, the songs were anti-war all the way. The band’s front-man even draped himself in a large white, flag during live performances’ to send the point home. Soon it was a no-issue. Later, album number 5, ‘the Unforgettable Fire’, would be not only a critical success, but a commercial one as well for Bono and U2. The song ‘Pride’ was a breakout chart hit and live shows were drawing numerous fans, as U2 was maturing and fine-tuning their already talented act. Bono of course, was as entertaining and charismatic as always. In 1987, the boys from Dublin grew up in a big way with the release of  ‘Joshua Tree’.  The album would be their most heralded to date thus far. Bono had reached the height of his popularity at the close of the ’80’s. He had surpassed the role of rockstar to become something of a cultural hero. His humanitarian work outside U2 endeared him to many. His trueness and staying power to these causes has made him a champion to thousands of people. Throughout the ’90’s this was the case to the point he has since almost become more famous for his causes than the music has created……almost. At the onset of the new century, Bono rallied many fellow celebs to various causes. He and his wife, Ali has started a World Humanitarian Organization for countries like Ethiopia.

Bono, the kid from Dublin, Ireland, Bono, the gifted live performer, Bono, the rockstar, Bono, the husband and father, and Bono, the political and social activist. He’s all that, plus more. In an industry that has done it’s share in corrupting good people, Bono has remained immune and a positive, steady force in popular music and the world’s pressing issues like hunger, war, and famine. He’s a good lad, that one.

Source by Jim Serf