Ten Reasons To Celebrate Adam Clayton

13 Mar 202049

Ten Reasons To Celebrate Adam Clayton
Poet and playwright, Gary Jermyn has known U2 since schooldays. Who better than an old friend to pay tribute as the firstborn of the band arrives at a milestone birthday.

Apart from 'being one of the great bass guitarists of all time' Gary came up with another ten reasons to celebrate Adam Clayton.

Add your own birthday greetings and memories in the comments below.

Adam was born in Chinnor, Oxfordshire on 13 March 1960, the same day as Ukrainian poet Yuri Andrukhovych was born in Ivano-Frankivsk. Yuri co-founded the famous Bu-Ba-Bu poetic group which translates as 'burlesque, side-show, buffoonery'. Adam too loves a wee bit of Bu-Ba-Bu. For example, he knows how to make a snow angel.
When our kids were small, Adam invited us to lunch at his home in Rathfarnham at the foothills of the Dublin mountains. It was winter and it had been snowing, which is not something that happens often in Ireland. We went for a walk in the woods and when we came to a clearing, Adam lay on his back in the snow. The kids thought he was mad. Then he started moving his arms up and down, and his legs from side to side. The kids thought he was madder. "I'm a snow angel" he shouted and suddenly they realized what he had become. Then they all lay in the snow and turned themselves into snow angels!

We were on holidays with our two kids in Venice and it was New Year's Day. All was quiet. My wife & I had been up early trying to entertain the kids, climbing bell-towers and counting bridges. Adam paid us a visit and bought the kids hot chocolate and Prada runners. He offered to give us a break. He took the kids for a walk through the narrow alleyways between the canals. As they headed off, I caught a glimpse of them chatting away,  about what I don't know. Then I saw my 5 year-old son Charlie reach out his hand, and Adam taking hold of it. That movement of one small hand reaching out for the other is forever etched in my memory, and always makes me smile.

Adam told me a long time ago that its important to look out for friends who live on their own. He explained that they are more vulnerable; they need more looking out for than people who live with a partner or a family. He's really good at checking in with friends and I know how much they appreciate that.

Who doesn't ? But I remember in those early U2 days when U2 were playing Wembley Arena for the first time, with The Waterboys as support, we met at the Millennium Hotel in Sloane Street and the band had organized a bus to bring family and friends out to the gig. It was my first time to travel to a gig in such style, in a bus with a TV! I sat beside Adam's granny and she spent a lot of the journey telling me how proud she was of all her grand-children. But she was particularly proud of Adam that night!

A few years ago when U2 were playing the O2 in London, Adam dodged the notorious London city centre traffic by taking the Tube to his own gig, and he wasn't hassled at all. Another time, we were at a birthday party near Wexford Town and we stayed in a B&B on the edge of town with notions of grandeur. At breakfast the next morning, the waitress asked me for my autograph. I asked who she thought I was. "You're Adam Clayton from U2" she replied. I turned to the staircase, Adam was descending in a leopard print bathrobe and blue suede slippers. "This is the man you seek" I said, and the waitress was thrilled as Adam gave her his autograph.

Apart from one photograph of Adam wearing a chamberpot on his head after an early show in the Project Arts Centre, with the Virgin Prunes in support, he always comports himself in a very stylish manner. He scrubs up well, when he wears a suit he can look like a Tory politician, and he has a great taste on stage in t-shirts and leather jackets, frequently channeling Paul Simonon of The Clash. After a gig, he has a beautiful skyblue Kimono in which to relax and meet wellwishers. He is always "on trend" which is in no small way due to the help and guidance of his stylist Sharon Blankson! And of course, occasionally he wears nothing at all - even on the cover of an album.

Not only has he a beautiful speaking voice, but he speaks with beautiful and inspiring clarity. Examples of this: Just listen to Adam speaking the last verse of "Your Blue Room" on Passengers; his interview with Ryan Tubridy on RTÉ Radio to launch the thirtieth anniversary tour of The Joshua Tree in early 2017; or the honesty of his speech later that year when he talked about his recovery from addiction, at a MusiCares MAP Fund concert in New York. 

At that MusicCares concert, Adam was honoured with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award. He thanked Edge, Bono and Larry, his band colleagues in U2, Pete Townsend from The Who and Eric Clapton, who he said was always there on the end of the phone for him, to help him through this difficult time in his life. But Adam too learnt from the help he received, and passed it on. A simple case in point: I have a young musician friend who has struggled over the years with alcohol addiction. It's really hard for musicians because there's so much gigging is in pubs and clubs, at night, surrounded by temptation. I asked Adam would he mind calling my pal and having a chat with him. Adam was brilliant, called him up, shared his experiences, difficult as they were, and provided great support. He was, like Eric Clapton had been for him, always at the end of a phone.

"The Birth of Venus" is a renaissance painting by Sandro Botticelli which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery.  It depicts the goddess Venus (as naked as Adam Clayton on the Achtung Baby album cover) on a scallop shell being blown ashore by the wind-god Zephyr. Five hundred years later Andy Warhol did a series of screenprints inspired by Botticelli's Venus in which he turned Venus into a Hollywood Starlet. Adam has a version of this in his house. Both Adam and Mariana share a passion for contemporary art.

It was the novelist Henry James who said "Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." In my experience, Adam is kindness personified. I am lucky to know him.

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Happy 60 Adam
If it wasn’t for Adam Clayton and his Bass lines, I wouldn’t have been here at all. That bass playing caught my ear from the beginning when I first heard U2. And I’ve always followed that bass rythm with my right hand when being to a concert with U2. Congrats to you Mr. Clayton
Happy birthday, Adam!
Loved reading this! I love you even more now. Thank you, Mr. Clayton, for all the great music that has so enriched my life so much. Your calm, subtle coolness really helps ground the band! I remember having close up seats (that I NEVER sat in while y'all were on stage) at Hampton Roads for the Achtung Baby tour. I could see so clearly the sweat & the smirk on your face. I loved watching you! Look forward to more years of traveling up & down the east coast of the US to see you & the boys. Hope to some day see y'all in Chicago & LA. If I dream big, then in Dublin! Wow! What a trip that would be!! (Literally! LOL!)
Happy Birthday
Rock on Adam!!! Happy Birthday Mate.
Happy Birthday Adam!
A gentleman with a rock soul... what a special combination! Happy Birthday Silver Fox, thank you for 60 years of great music... that rhythm which goes straight under your skin!
Great article
Thank you so much for this piece. I'm a bit late to say Happy Birthday, but having only just seen this I had to say something as it's such a good commentary on Adam. Obviously you know Adam very well Gary, but what you say is so well thought out and complimentary. Each member of U2 is equally important and it can be easy to forget the bass player or drummer sometimes in lesser bands, but not this one, as Adam has proved himself to be one of the greatest bassists in the world in THE GREATEST BAND in the world. I don't know you and sadly have never met you, but you seem to be a lovely person and I wish you a continued happy and long life, hopefully making more wonderful music for us all. We love you and U2 for all the joy that you give to so many.
Thank you Gary
Thanks for writing this celebration of Adam Clayton.
Grigorios Petridis
Happy birthday to the creator of the most classy elegant and “to the point” bass melodies that create the base and heartbeat of the most beautiful music pieces in my life... Adam you are indeed one of the most meaningful bassists ever... Keep offering joy to us... but mostly to yourself!
Long live U2!
Happy birthday, Adam! There are many reasons why you are important in my life despite distances and not knowing each other. The reasons are as many songs as there are in U2's discography, plus the concerts, interviews and smiles. I simple fan who is so grateful we exist in the same space and time giving me the opportunity of assisting to your concerts (2 so far, but you know, the best!), or at least to follow you through U2.com. Happy birthday to an incredible, artistic, talented human.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Clayton!
His advocacy on addiction helped save the life of a family member, and we're forever grateful for his kindness. Keep rockin' Adam! Happy 60th and here's to many more!
Love you Adam! Happy Birthday to the bassist in the world
He is a Lord human being!
I remember an unexpected meeting in front of the arena in Turin, where one of the concerts would have been held diring I+E in 2015, together with his fellow Larry. Before entering the arena, Adam approached the fans to leave some autographs and take some selfies. To my surprise I took what I had in my backpack to get his autograph. Adam arrives and gives me a nice autograph on the plastic bag that contained the CD, on which I would have liked to have his autograph! When I realized that, I asked him to redo the autograph on the CD. Adam with a smile and patience has redone the autograph on my cd to my enormous satisfaction! A true gentle man respectful of fans. ‘Una bella persona’!
Happy birthday
Bonjour Adam, Joyeux anniversaire !!! Quand tu veux pour arroser ca à la maison !
Woah you're 60!
Happy Birthday Adam!
Thank you for continuing to record and tour the globe for us. Best wishes for the best of health and happiness to you and your family! Big love, Ronnie 269
My Poem for Adam
It's interesting that this article is published on the U2 website the same day I share my Poem for Adam on the Zootopia fan page. Some of the content in my poem refers to the same content discussed in this article. Therefore I hope more of you will read it because I had fun with the riming.
Happy birthday Adam!
Dear Adam, happy 60th birthday! Together with the rest of the band you are enriching my life and my music experience for 40 years already. It is hard to explain how much it meant and still means to me. Thank you for that, my friend! Alberto from Zagreb/Croatia
La elegancia en estado puro
Each of you has his own character. You had to be the the U2's gentleman. Happy birhtday Adam. I hope you will be keeping us happy by sharing your music .
Thnk you Adam
Happy birthday man!
These and many more!
Happy Birthday Soul Man! Thank u for sharing your talent. your struggles, your kindness and soul with us! After being a fan for over 30 years it was wonderful to watch your kindness to my daughter on Expetience.She treasures the signed CD. I wish you the most incredible day and can't wait to see u again my brother. God bless u and your beautiful family and keep u all safe.
Happy Birthday and thanks for the rescue
In Charlotte on the Vertigo Tour I had the good fortune to be down front against the stage on Adam's side. Directly behind me was a very tall and sturdy woman (I'm 5' 4") who had several inches on me. She was a bit drunk and was screaming at Adam that she wanted to touch him (or at least his guitar) and was flinging herself on us to reach him. She was relentless and I think he figured out we needed a rescue from this situation, so he leaned over with his bass and a slight smile and let her touch the end of the guitar. We screamed "Thank you!" She chilled out (her life apparently complete) and the show went on. Thanks to Adam for the rescue. Happy Birthday!
Happy 60th Birthday Lad!.
Dear Adam... Happy birthday, have a nice day the gentleman of the best band, my best wishes mate!
Happy birthday
Adam We miss you so much ! Love from Brazil Thank you for always give us your attention.
Happy Birthday
Dear Adam Hope you had a great day . Would love if our paths crossed someday , be great to see your rug collection. Time has gone by so quickly , I thank you and the rest of the Gang for been such a big part of my life. Take Care . Lots Of love . Maurice in Norway.
Feliz Cumpleaños Adam!! HappyBirthday!!
Buenos días!, Adam Clayton, desde Santander, al norte de España, pero soy de Granada, que está al sur en la región de Andalucía. Mi nombre es Antonio Sánchez, y llevo la Vicepresidencia del Club de Fans U2 Madrid desde el pasado 14 de junio de 2019 en que se fundó. Espero que hayas pasado un buen Día de Cumpleaños en familia y amig@s, y que cumplas muchos más. Felices 60!!!!
I sadly have not seen any of them. But I have seen many photos and videos and read and heard a lot about all and some things I can see for myself. I myself see that he truly is THE WORLD'S VERY BEST BASS GUITAR PLAYER IN THE WORLD! Adam can take his playing very SERIOUSLY and can ALSO have a BEAUTIFUL SMILE and a REALLY GOOD laugh. And I am SURE he loves some FUN with BONO the SHOWMAN too. That really shows is smile really comes out and even a laugh. ADAM is a very special man very kind and loving I don't think he would be mad at anyone. And I think he loves to have nothing on TO!
Happy 60th Birthday!!
What an awesome milestone for such a MAJESTIC Man. I wish you all the very best. Birthday Blessings. The world is such a better place with people like yourself, always giving, caring and a soul full of great music. My Son was named after you...I wanted him to be named after someone great.
Happy birthday Adam... you are a true gentleman.... your smile is beautiful and shows the person you are... thank you for always taking the time to say hello... love
Feliz cumple
Happy b-day I wish you the best today and always!!
All the best, Adam
Hope you've had a wonderful birthday milestone....and all the best for many many more. You were so kind to me the few times I ran into you in Dublin. Always appreciated that. HUGS!
The BIG 60
Happy Birthday Adam!!! It's not so bad. I've been 60 for a while now, and I haven't accomplished anything remotely close to what you have in your life. May the years to come prove as fruitful!! Looking forward to new U2 music in the future. Thanks for all the great music you have contributed to. Bad! Elevation! Love that Bass.
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