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U2 are embarrassing and have a shit name, says Bono

By | Published on Wednesday 19 January 2022


U2 are embarrassing and have a shit name. Not my words, people. Not this time, anyway. These are the words of U2 frontman Bono Vox. In fact, he says he finds his band’s music so grating that he turns the radio off if any of it comes on.

The band’s name, of course, is shared with an American spy plane. Although the band apparently just picked it off a list of possible names provided to them by a friend, rather than them giving it a huge amount of thought.

“I still don’t [like the name]”, Bono tells The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast. “I really don’t. But I was late into some kind of dyslexia. I didn’t realise that The Beatles was a bad pun either. In our head it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic – 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”.

“Paul McGuinness, our first manager, did say, ‘Look, it’s a great name, it’s going to look good on a t-shirt, a letter and a number’”, he adds. And he probably wasn’t wrong. After a while a name just becomes a noise anyway, doesn’t it? I mean, no one ever really thinks that much about how Take That are called Take That anymore, do they?

Speaking of things that are just noises, Bono says what really puts him off his band’s music is his own voice. He thinks “the band sound incredible” but feels that he “only became a singer recently”.

“The one [song] that I can listen to the most is ’Miss Sarajevo’ **with Luciano Pavarotti”, he says. “Genuinely, most of the other ones make me cringe a little bit. Although ’Vertigo’ **probably is the one I’m proudest of. It’s the way it connects with the crowd”.

But, he also admits, “I’ve been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I’ve been the colour of, as we say in Dublin, scarlet. I’m just so embarrassed”.

“I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot”, he adds. “Maybe that’s the place to be as an artist, you know, right at the edge of your level of embarrassment”.