Even after decades of accolades, sold out tours and multi-platinum albums — Bono is still self-conscious about U2‘s early days. Vulture.com reported the legendary frontman appeared on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Podcast and revealed that in the beginning, neither he nor The Edge were particularly keen on the band’s name.
In 1978, following brief stints as both Feedback and the Hype, the band’s buddy and fellow musician, Steve Averill, came up with the now beloved and iconic name. Bono remembered, “He came to us with a few suggestions, one of which was U2. And of the suggestions, it wasn’t that it jumped out at us as the name we were really looking for, but it was the one that we hated the least. And what we loved about it was that it was not obvious from the name what this band would sound like or be about.”
He went on to laugh as he recalled, “I was late into some kind of dyslexia, I didn’t realize that the Beatles was a bad pun either. If we’d thought the implication of the letter and the number, in our head, it was like, the spy plane, it was a U-boat, it was futuristic. But then, as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no, I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name.”
Bono also admitted the sound of his voice during the group’s early days still makes him cringe: “The band sound incredible, though I just found the voice very strained and kind of not macho, and my Irish macho was kind of strained by that. . . I’ve been in a car when one of our songs has come on the radio, and I’ve been the color of — as we say in Dublin — scarlet. I’m just embarrassed. And yeah, I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot. And maybe that’s the place to be as an artist is, right at the edge of your level of pain, for embarrassment, your level of embarrassment. And the lyrics as well. I feel that on Boy and other albums, it was sketched out, very unique and original material. But I don’t think I filled in the details.”
- Back in 2019 U2 issued a limited edition 12-inch vinyl release celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band’s first release, titled Three.
- The 1979 single features the tracks “Out Of Control,” “Stories For Boys,” and “Boy-Girl” and was newly-remastered and pressed on 180-gram black vinyl.
- “Out Of Control” and “Stories For Boys” were re-recorded for U2’s debut album, Boy, which was released on October 20th, 1980.
CHECK IT OUT: U2 — then known as The Hype — on March 17th, 1978 performing “Street Mission” live on the Irish TV show, Youngline: