‘DRUMMER SEEKS MUSICIANS TO FORM BAND’ – Handwritten and posted on the Mount Temple Comprehensive School bulletin board by a 14-year-old boy in 1976. Three answered. They were the Larry Mullen Band. Then the Feedback, then The Hype. And finally U2.

Bono’s free-form and soulful vocals, The Edge’s use of delay, reverb and chiming effects, Larry Mullen Jr on drums and bassist Adam Clayton: U2 became the sound of postmodern pop-rock. In 1980, they released their first of thirteen albums: ‘Boy’. A fitting coming of age venture, they delivered a kind of optimism and youth that rejected the typical nihilism and debauchery associated with rock at the time. Spring 1987: ‘The Joshua Tree’ album and it’s release in March sparks immediate critical acclaim. The album, widely recognised as one of the best and fastest selling records of all time, has now been selected for preservation in the American National Recording Registry as ‘culturally and historically significant’. Such was U2’s ability to speak across borders; an Irish band’s perspective on America, now widely regarded as one of the best ‘American’ albums ever to be produced.

‘Thank you for letting us back into your lives’ cries Bono, July 8th 2017, 30 years after Joshua Tree at Twickenham Stadium. As the band plays, they are reminded of a long career of storied hits, mainstream success, and vital messages of social change. These images stand in parallel to their career – a true visual representation of the evolution of U2.

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