24 February 2001
U2 Follow Oscars With Brits
U2 fly back from their triumphant appearance at this week's Grammy Awards to be honoured at The BRITS in London.
The band, who will be playing live at the annual showcase for the UK music industry, are set to receive a 'lifetime achievement' award at Monday's show.
Visit the Brits site at http://www.brits.co.uk/
and find the complete version of the following edited story on U2 and The Brits - along with archive shots of their previous appearances at the show. (The shot above is U2 at The Brits in 1993)
'When U2 topped the British singles chart last autumn with Beautiful Day - after a gap of three years - singer Bono summed up the band's satisfaction when he was reported saying "At first we didn't feel it was that important to get to the top of the charts - we're a rock band. But after such a long time away from the charts it's great to be back."
Although U2 never actually went away they did take three years to come up with their ninth studio album All That You Can't Leave Behind which, when it did finally appear, shot straight to the top of the UK album chart to become the band's ninth number one album. And, confirming their status as a global superforce, the album topped the charts in a further 31 countries!
Bono, guitarist Edge, drummer Larry Mullen and bassist Adam Clayton have been around as U2 for over 22 years and the line up that got together in answer to Mullen's ad on the bulletin board of Dublin's Mount Temple High School has remained unchanged from day one. And during two decades together they have racked up sales of over 100 million albums.
They have also topped the charts around the world, won awards in virtually every country where there's an award to win and been regular winners and supporters of the BRIT Awards. Their BRITS tally currently stands at five Best International Group Awards - including a hat-trick of wins between 1988 and 1990 - plus a 1993 award as Most Successful Live Band and Bono also chose the 1999 event to rally support for the Jubilee 2000 charity dedicated to writing off the Third World debt. Now they are set to become the first international artists to receive the coveted BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
U2's dedication to good causes - Amnesty International and Greenpeace to name just two - is well documented but it was Bono's commitment to Jubilee 2000 that delayed the making and release of the new album.
But when it finally arrived All That You Can't Leave Behind delivered 11 new tracks - featuring music written by U2 and lyrics by Bono, who combined with The Edge on three tracks, plus Salman Rushdie's words on The Ground Beneath Her Feet from the soundtrack to Win Wenders' movie The Million Dollar Hotel - produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno (responsible for The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree) and including the single Beautiful Day which not only kept Robbie and Kylie off the top spot in the UK but also hit number one in Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Spain and, not surprisingly, Ireland.
Since their 1997 album Pop - which topped the charts in an amazing 27 countries - U2 collected their finest works together for the Best of 1980-1990 album which became the fast selling album in the long and illustrious history of Island Records, who signed the band in April 1980 just weeks after they had topped five categories in a reader's poll by Irish rock magazine Hot Press.
A year late All That You Can't Leave Behind has restored U2 to their rightful place at the top of rock music's roll of honour. During their two decades together the band were aware of the need to keep on the move, never getting stuck in rock 'n' roll ruts.
Back at the end of the 1980s - after the success of Boy, October, War, The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree (15 million sold and still counting) - Bono told an Anglo-Irish radio audience, estimated at 500 million, that change was in the air. "This is just the end of something for U2. It's no big deal, it's just that we have to go away and dream it all up again."
They re-appeared in the 1990s with Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop before their first releases of the new millennium re-established them as genuine chart topping, pop stars. And Bono, talking to Daily Telegraph journalist, fellow Irishman and long-time friend Neil McCormick confirmed that there's nothing to compare with pop music. "I think pop music is the greatest. It's the most extraordinary thing. You read a book or see a film once, maybe twice, but you can keep coming back to songs for ever. They're like pieces out of people's lives."
Complete story and photos at http://www.brits.co.uk/