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September 24th, 2005

Question @ 06:54 pm

I may be incredibly dense, but can anybody tell me the meaning, if there is any, behind U2's name? Does it stand for something or does it just sound cool?
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Date:September 24th, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC)
I heard they named themselves after the U2 bombers.
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Date:September 24th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
Here's something I wrote on it a while back. Should provide some insight:

As legend has it, it was
Larry who posted an ad on a bulletin board at Mount Temple high
school, announcing that he was looking to start a band. And to this
day he maintains that, for one lunch hour at least, they were "The
Larry Mullen Band."

Later came "Feedback" – after the only thing that was signature about
the bands sound at the time – and then, "The Hype." And then one of
the many people who were friends with the band and still are today,
Steve Averill (then known as Steve Rapid), suggested "U2," after a
high-flying military airplane was shot down over Soviet airspace at
the height of the Cold War.

"They weren't completely happy with it – Bono in particular," Averill
recalled to an audience, which included myself, at the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland in 2003. "…but they went down to [a
competition in] Limerick, and they won. So they were saddled with the
name…But it worked. And now you can't imagine them being called
anything but 'U2.'"

The U-2 spy plane was the most sophisticated military aircraft of its
time. It flew at up to 70,000 feet in the air and up to 440 mph. But
in contrast to the image of fear-inflicting power that those numbers
project, its famous pilot, Francis Gary Powers, said that inside the
cockpit it was very quiet and peaceful.

…He said it made him feel closer to God.

Anyone who's looked out the window of an airplane knows that it wasn't
the might of the U.S. military at the height of the Cold War that
Powers was referring to, but the majesty of Creation that could be
seen, flying at the highest height and speed ever achieved by man.

Anyone who has ever been to a U2 concert, has experienced a similar
feeling, and we suspect that it also comes from a similar place. The
band themselves certainly won't take credit for it.

(Skipping a bunch of rambling)

...[The members of U2] appear
to be acutely aware that the very nature of the thing that they have
created, is dependent upon acknowledging the existence of something
greater than themselves. And somehow, at every show, the message
conveyed from the band to its audience, is, "It's not just about us;
it's about you, too." And in turn, the message conveyed between the
thousands of people packed tightly together, is: "It's not just about
them, or me, or you – it's about us."

(And now, I am going to include the rest of it to the end...cuz I love it hehe)

U2 is a culture.

When I was in high school, I remember having an argument with a friend
of mine about Christian music. I hated Christian pop, I thought it
was awful – purely from a musical standpoint. And she was naming
bands that "used" to be worship bands, like Sixpence None the
Richer…and U2.

Used to be??? I thought. When were they ever? Where was the change?
Or maybe they had been all along, and I'd just never noticed.

Bono has said that, in his mind, ALL music is praise. Whether it is
praise for one's Maker, for the opposite sex, one's self, or an idea.
I sometimes wonder if perhaps music is a gift from that Maker, in
sympathy for our human condition. Jeff Buckley said once, when
talking about grace, that "even the pain of existence, which ties you
to being human, should receive an Amen – or a hallelujah."

That idea is just brilliant. Forgive me for this bit of blasphemy I
am about to commit – but that idea sort of makes me want a t-shirt or
something that says, "Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all ye bands!"
(bastardization of Isaiah 16:10) or "Let us make a joyful noise to
the 'ROCK!!' of our salvation." (bastardization of Psalms 95:1)

U2 – its music and its members – lives that idea. U2 is an idea. A
BIG idea. A brilliant light. U2 is a way. U2 is a living, breathing
organism, a culture, a phenomenon. U2 is a feeling that makes you
lift your eyes to the sky and wonder where it came from, and it is a
marching to that place. U2 is a noise. It is a great shout from the
chest of an Irishman, it is the banging the dustbin lids and the
ringing of the bells, and the beating of the heart. U2 is the bang
and the clatter and the rattle and hum.

U2 is a joyful noise.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 25th, 2005 12:31 am (UTC)
That's really beautiful. I posted an article in my journal, which is also about U2 and also beautiful. You should read it. Everyone should read it.
[User Picture Icon]
Date:September 26th, 2005 12:51 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. I love your icon! hehee God, that is so awesome. And you know what? I've seen 9 shows this year and I never tire of that moment in the show. Bono kicks ass.
Date:September 25th, 2005 12:57 pm (UTC)

Oh I truly love your way of explaining the phenomenon of U2, especially the last paragraph.

*nods and agrees*
Date:September 24th, 2005 11:10 pm (UTC)
Actually, the U2 was a spy plane, but not initially where the reference comes from. What I have always heard was their name came from an Irish tax form.
Date:September 24th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
I could however, be wrong. ;o)
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Date:September 24th, 2005 11:50 pm (UTC)
I don't know if that's true, but you might be getting them confused with UB40 who were named after an unemployment benefit form...
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Date:September 24th, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC)

Here's what the (unofficial) FAQ has to say about the origin of the band's name.

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