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Thursday, 28 February, 2002, 06:51 GMT
Pride: The rise and rise of U2
U2
U2: A 25-year career for what started as a covers band
BBC News Online's Alex Webb charts the successes of Irish rock band U2.

U2's Grammy nominations in April 2002 capped a year in which the band has cemented its position as a music institution.

The omens were good, as Beautiful Day - which won last year's Grammys for record and song of the year - also appeared on the band's latest album All That You Can't Leave Behind.

Now the group have picked up a fresh stack of nominations, including record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and the rock album nod.

U2 began their musical career at school in Dublin back in 1977, playing Rolling Stones and Beach Boys cover versions in an outfit named Feedback.

The quartet then changed their name to the Hype before finally settling on U2 in 1978.

Powerful

Fronted by singer Bono - with Larry Mullen, one of two group members actually born in Ireland - they came under the wing of manager Paul McGuinness and were signed to CBS Ireland, producing their debut EP in 1979.

U2
U2: Carved a niche with their stadium sound
Their first album, Boy, received critical approbation, which was reinforced by the powerful live shows that U2 were undertaking throughout the UK and Ireland.

The next album, October, made it into the top 20 in the UK.

War followed soon afterwards and contained New Year's Day, their first UK top 10 hit in February 1983 - and the album also contained a U2 classic, Sunday Bloody Sunday.

U2 had found a niche with impassioned, anthemic rock songs which inspired a devoted fan base and also translated well to stadiums and big tours.

Idealists

The Unforgettable Fire, produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, revealed a new maturity and contained Pride (In The Name Of Love), another exemplary rock anthem.

The band's reputation as idealists was underlined by their appearance at Live Aid, and their commitment to causes like Amnesty International.

1987's The Joshua Tree confirmed U2's standing as one of the most popular groups in the world, topping both the US and UK charts. The album has continued to be a favourite of critics and fans ever since.

Rattle and Hum was the follow-up and contained the hits Desire, When Love Comes To Town, Angel of Harlem and All I Want Is You.

Finding a follow-up was a challenge, but 1991's Achtung Baby managed to make the grade by stripping down the band's sound to something tougher and more elemental.

Soundtrack

Critics may have been less than generous with Zooropa and the dance-orientated Pop, but the band remain one of the most popular stadium attractions of the modern rock era.

In March 2000, the Bono-scripted movie The Million Dollar Hotel was released, with a soundtrack including the new U2 track The Ground Beneath Her Feet, featuring lyrics by novelist Salman Rushdie.

The song was also featured on All That You Can't Leave Behind, an album which saw something of a return to the epic rock sound they championed in the late 80s - a move which has been richly rewarded by the Grammys.



Winners in focus

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