"I want U2 to be a band that takes risks. I hate this idea of U2 as a nice safe band. . . . The rock rebel thing is very phony."
50 Things to Love About Bono on His 50th Birthday
May 10, 2010
While working on this essay last week, I had managed to list about 40 to 45 things to love about Bono when it occurred to me that I should get some input from the rest of the @U2 staff. I sent out an e-mail without sharing the list I'd already put together and invited the gang to make some suggestions for things I shouldn't forget to include.
Within a couple of hours, I had more than enough suggestions. Too many! That's a testament to who Bono is and what he stands for. It's also proof that this will be an easier essay to write when he turns 100 years old. But for now, Bono's only celebrating his 50th birthday.
So, in the same way that we honored Adam Clayton at 50 years old two months ago, we're proud to present 50 Things to Love About Bono on His 50th Birthday.
1. His voice.
2. "Chune" -- the way he says "tune."
3. His ultra-high platform shoes, or perhaps the insecurity they seem to represent.
4. The goofiness and neediness that prompted all those stage-climbing episodes in the early 1980s.
5. That he got the Pope to wear his shades.
6. His "F**k the revolution" rant from Rattle and Hum.
7. He still has 44 years until he looks like this.
8. He never actually looked like this.
9. His willingness to have real conversations with fans in one-on-one settings, and that he seems to actually relish those conversations.
10. His head.
11. His heart.
12. His faith.
13. The way he waves at himself like a goofy kid during "Where the Streets Have No Name" on the Zoo TV: Live From Sydney video.
14. The way he struggles to remember his own lyrics.
15. His recital of the John F. Deane poem, Driving to Midnight Mass.
16. His successful marriage.
17. He has a cool wife who'll interrupt a private walk with her man to take pictures of him with admiring fans.
18. The lyrics of "Running to Stand Still."
19. His willingness to stick his neck out about things that matter to him, even when he knows it makes an easy target for people to chop off.
20. He's the only rock star who might really, actually, seriously, be able to save the world.
21. The Fly. And MacPhisto, of course.
22. He does a pretty good Luciano Pavarotti impression.
23. The way he gets inside the songs when U2 performs live.
24. Great one-liners like "The latest and greatest in software, hardware and men's wear."
25. His never-ending ambition.
26. His never-ending loyalty to friends, forming a "band of brothers" not only with Edge, Adam and Larry, but also with pre-U2 friends like Gavin Friday and Guggi.
27. The hug he gives to Graceland Tour Guide Girl in Rattle and Hum while selling her on the idea of letting his friend, Larry, sit on Elvis' Harley.
28. His performance in the video for "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own."
30. He has a way with ladies (of the cloth).
31. My wife wants me to include his wink to the camera in the middle of Rattle and Hum. And his stare at the camera during the "One" music video -- the one where he's singing in the bar. She also mentioned something about a bubble bath photo. I assume you girls know what she's talking about?
33. Dude has mad hops.
34. The leg kick that opened up all the shows on the Zoo TV tour.
35. He has a strong sense of self, as evidenced by how he described himself to Michka Assayas a few years ago:
36. He's a pretty good writer, and I'm not talking about song lyrics with this one.
37. His commercial voiceover skills, especially on the recent ESPN/FIFA World Cup TV spot.
38. All the promises he makes from ... one album to the next.
40. "The leap" at Live Aid.
42. His performance in the video for "The Sweetest Thing."
43. Nobody, and I mean nobody looks better wearing a green guitar.
44. And who else can rock a silver suit from head to toe quite like he can?
46. That silly drumming he did on the Vertigo Tour.
47. The way he seems to be summoning the Spirit with that guttural bellowing that precedes "Streets" on the U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle video.
48. His sense of justice.
49. His tireless passion to do well by the world's poor and sick.
50. He's a hero to a lot of fans, but he knows who the real heroes are.
Happy birthday, Bono!
(c) @U2, 2010.