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One of the most iconic rock stars the world has ever known was born as Paul David Hewson in 1960. Although he was known as Bono Vox (a Latin phrase meaning ‘good voice’) since his teens, there was hardly anything to suggest that this boy from a Dublin’s Northside suburb would dominate the rock scene for decades and become an influential humanitarian and political figure by his thirties.

Early days - Adam Clayton, The Edge, Bono and Larry Mulen Jr. in the Wake of the U2's Career

Early days: Adam Clayton, The Edge, Bono and Larry Mullen Jr. in the wake of the U2’s success

The Early Years

U2 started off as one of the hundreds of bands of the late 1970s. Sometime in 1976, Bono, David Evans (The Edge), his brother Dick and Adam Clayton saw and responded to an ad posted by their fellow student Larry Mullen Jr. in the Mount Temple Comprehensive School. Larry wanted to form a rock band and the five young men soon started jamming together and although they were ‘pretty bad’ according to the Edge, they had chemistry, energy and honesty that made them a popular local act.

After their playing improved and they became more self-confident about their own songwriting, they managed to record the first album, the 1980’s ‘Boy’. Representing what the band had been doing for the previous two to three years, ‘Boy’ is an amazing document of the post-punk energy and style and still an impressive and cardiac album.

The Joshua Tree

U2 continued the string of artistically and commercially successful albums throughout the first part of the 1980s – ‘October’, ‘War’, ‘Under the Blood Red Sky’ were all great, but it was not until the 1987 ”The Joshua Tree’ that they became the real rock stars.

The massive success of ‘The Joshua Tree’ opened all doors to U2 and established them as the top rock band, and this provided Bono with the opportunity to share his philanthropic ideas and make his voice be heard by everyone, including the people who can truly make a change in the world.

Bono and Barack Obama in 2010

Bono and the US President Barack Obama in 2010

Activism and Religious Tolerance

Bono is often seen together with powerful political and religious leaders, from Pope John Paul II to Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In addition to various fund raising activities for the poverty-stricken regions of the world, Bono’s humanitarian work also has religious aspects. His peace activism is also reflected in the message he has been citing in the recent years, stating that Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all Abrahamic religions coming from the same roots and that this should be the reason for mutual understanding and respect instead of hatred.

Bono is  featured on the cover of  the ‘Vertigo 2005 U2 Live From Chicago’ DVD wearing a blindfold with the logo of the Coexist foundation, featuring a cross, the Star of David and a crescent as symbols of the three Abrahamic religions.

Bono still writes almost all lyrics for U2 and they mostly deal with social and political themes – the rebellious tone of punk and post-punk of the 1970s never ceased in the Good Voice of rock.