Who is Bono?Bono was born Paul Hewson on 10 May 1960 in Dublin.
In 1976 Bono got together with fellow Mount Temple school pupils, drummer Larry Mullen Jnr, bassist Adam Clayton and guitarist Dave Evans (aka The Edge) to form a band Feedback to Hype, which would later become U2.
There are differing versions of how Bono came by his nickname. For example, this BBC profile of Bono, states: "Taking on vocal duties, Hewson adopted the nickname Bono Vox, supposedly from the Latin for "good voice", whereas The Telegraph claims: "Bono (the name was borrowed from a Dublin hearing aid store)".
Of course, the two accounts are not mutually exclusive.
The band, now U2, was signed by Island Records and in 1980 released Boy, possibly their debut album although the Hello magazine profile of U2 refers to "their UK debut LP 11 O'Clock Tick Tock failed to strike a chord, the album Boy, released later in the same year thrust the band onto the international stage."
The U2 official site has an excellent list of their albums with details of the tracks plus audio, video and lyrics.
Amongst the albums listed are huge hits like War, which includes Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Joshua Tree, which was the fastest-selling album in history, topping both the US and UK charts.
Inspired by the success of Live Aid, organised by fellow Irish musician Bob Geldof, Bono became an increasingly active humanitarian campaigner.
In 1999 he joined the Jubilee 2000 movement. The Guardian recounted:
Ann Pettifor, who headed the Jubilee 2000 campaign, knew a publicity coup when she saw one. "I flew to Dublin to talk him through it," she says. "I explained Sabbath economics - the idea that every seven days you stop consumption and exploitation, and every 49 years you write off debts and free slaves. It was the opposite of globalisation, and Bono got very excited."
Meanwhile U2's hits continued with albums All That You Can't Leave Behind in 2000 and How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb in 2004.
Also in 2004 at the Labour Party conference, Bono praised the UK government's plans to fight HIV/Aids in Africa but said, as reported by the BBC:
Bono and his wife, Alison (nee Stewart) have four children.
In December 18, 2005 Time awarded their prestigious person of the year award to Bono along with Melinda and Bill Gates.
The plaudits continued and in December 2006 Bono was being awarded an honorary knighthood by the Queen for his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work.
Bono cannot use the title 'Sir' but is officially a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).
When the honour was conferred in March 2007, the BBC reported Tony Blair as writing:
"I'll leave it to others far more knowledgeable than me to talk about U2's music - all I'll say is that, along with millions of others right across the world, I'm a huge fan."
In 2014, he helped set up the ONE organisation to fight poverty and disease in Africa, and the following year he launched the Poverty is Sexist Campaign.
In May 2018, the BBC reported on a dispute regarding the name of Bono's third child Eli Heson's band Inhaler.
Back to Top