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You do not pick a fight with someone who for a living lives off hand-eye coordination. -- Bono, on Edge

U240: The Top 40 People Who Have Shaped U2's Career



According to an old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The same could be said of a rock band.

Since the very first meeting in Larry’s kitchen, the members of U2 have been inspired, encouraged, challenged, helped and nurtured by an extraordinary number of talented individuals. In reality, there have been hundreds, if not thousands (or even millions, if you count us fans) who have contributed to their success, so the task of whittling that group down to 40 was not an easy one.

In fact, I had to develop some criteria to keep it fair. My main rule was: no spouses or children on the list. It’s a given that all of the band members have received enormous love and support from their wives/partners/girlfriends and kids, so I kept them out of the conversation. If they were left in, they’d make up half the list! I also eliminated anyone who surfaced in the last decade or so because I felt that the list should represent people who have been around for a substantial portion of their career. And one big rule: At least one band member had to encounter the person in person to qualify. That’s why you won’t see Elvis, John Lennon or William Blake listed, though they’re undoubtedly part of the equation.

I also chose individuals who had lasting effects on U2’s world, whether it be through the music itself or another aspect of their image. People who were catalysts and made an impact that advanced or evolved the band. I hope I’ve done right by them all.

40. Bill Carter, Documentarian/Author

While U2 were preparing to play just another European date on their Zoo TV tour, documentary filmmaker Bill Carter was crossing from war-torn Bosnia to Verona, Italy “on a boat crowded with refugees and U2 fans.” When he arrived, he’d spend less than half an hour interviewing Bono and planting the seeds for what would become the Sarajevo satellite link-ups. During these moments, U2 would broadcast Sarajevans live during the middle of their show to send messages to loved ones — and the world — raw and unedited. Years later, the band would make good on a promise to play a show in Sarajevo on the PopMart tour. Carter would write his memoir of that time, Fools Rush In, and create the award-winning documentary Miss Sarajevo, for which Bono named and U2 wrote/performed the title song.

39. Cecilia Mullen Coffey, Founder of Sister Sister

In the (really) early days of U2, Larry and Adam used to reply to fan mail themselves. When they got too famous and the volume increased exponentially, Larry’s sister, Cecilia, stepped in and began a U2 fan mail reply service called Sister Sister. In a 1986 interview with Propaganda, she explained, “The letter is opened and read and then it’s answered, just an acknowledgement more than anything else … unless they ask specific questions.” What’s remarkable is that she answered all inquiries by hand, which was unlike any other fan club. She wanted the fans to know their letters had been personally acknowledged. For the millions across the world who received these responses, it validated the belief that the band truly did care, and built a brand of loyalty that is unmatched to this day.

38. Michael Cohl, Concert Promoter

Though his “more is more” philosophy may have ruffled some music industry feathers (and a non-compete dispute earned him a lawsuit when he left Live Nation in 2008), we never would have had giant lemons or Kmart tour launches if it weren’t for Michael Cohl. The New York Times credits him with “inventing the modern rock tour” and it was Bono himself who recruited him to save the troubled Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark in 2010. Love him or otherwise, his way of promoting concerts changed the way U2 thought about performing.

37. Carter Alan, Disc Jockey

On a hot and sticky August day in Boston, Carter Alan stopped by a local record store to check out the new inventory from across the Atlantic. The year was 1980. What he found was the single for “A Day Without Me,” and his first impression was a good one. In his book, U2: The Road To Pop, he remembered, “Compared to the primitive homemade quality found on many new bands’ singles, this recording delivered a solid high-fidelity knockout punch. The singer’s words slammed out earnestly, but without the snarling emotional affectations that many punk vocalists added in place of genuine angst.” He took it to his boss, who agreed it was great, and U2 got their first American radio airplay.

36. Jack Heaslip, Pastor

A guidance counselor at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, where U2 attended, Jack Heaslip was a positive influence in their spiritual growth. After he left Mt. Temple, he became an Anglican clergyman, which led to an eventual role as U2’s “traveling pastor.” He also shared in many life milestones for the band. He officiated at Bono and Ali’s wedding, baptized all of their children and buried Bono’s father, Bob. The band affectionately referred to them as their “North Star.” Heaslip sadly passed away last year, just a few months before the band took to the road for the Innocence + Experience tour.

35. Phil Joanou, Director

“Director Phil Joanou reveres the members of the Irish band to the point of unintentional hilarity,” was one way a journalist from the Philadelphia Inquirer described his work on Rattle And Hum back in 1988. She wasn't alone in her disdain. Whatever your opinion of the movie, Joanou arguably gave everyone the first real look at U2. Thankfully, time has been kind to the film’s legacy, and the director is still a friend and trusted associate of the band. In addition to their first feature film, he went on to direct videos for “One,” “If God Will Send His Angels,” “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own,” and others. 

34. Dave Fanning, Disc Jockey

It was on Dave Fanning’s radio show that U2 fans chose the band's first single, “Out of Control.” A bond was formed between U2 and the disc jockey, and since then, he’s had first dibs on releasing their singles. Over the years, the friendship has only grown stronger with the band throwing him surprise birthday parties and recording a special tribute when he received the prestigious Meteor Industry Award in 2004. Loyalty knows no bounds.

33. Ned O’Hanlon, Founder, Dreamchaser Productions/Solo Too

From the Achtung Baby era to U2360, Ned O’Hanlon was involved with every live concert video that U2 officially released. When our own Matt McGee interviewed him in 2003, he spoke about what it was like to work with the band: “They take huge interest and a great deal of care. It's like with any band, videos are kind of a necessary evil. In the main, I think they're regarded as major pains in the arse. But if you do have to do them, you may as well take them seriously, and I think that's the way they go at it.” For someone who started the company in his house and two months later had a monstrous assignment to capture the madness of Zoo TV, he did an amazing job.

32. Jim Henke, Journalist

In what can only be described as a prophetic headline, Rolling Stone writer James Henke announced the arrival of U2 to America with a 1981 piece titled U2: Here Comes The “Next Big Thing.” Watching them perform at a Greek restaurant in the U.K., he said, “Their highly original sound can best be described as pop music with brains. It’s accessible and melodic combining the dreamy, atmospheric qualities of a band like Television, with a hard rock edge not unlike The Who’s.” Back then, Rolling Stone was considered the authority in music journalism, so those who may question what difference a brief write-up could make should know the significance it carried. 

31. Chris Blackwell, Founder of Island Records

After seeing Bob Marley play his last London gig in June of 1980, Chris Blackwell headed to a pub not far away where a young Irish band was playing. Of his first time witnessing U2, he said, “Although the music wasn't particularly to my personal taste, I just loved the band. I believed in them. They had an aura, they had a passion. I just thought they were going to make it for sure." His instincts didn’t fail him, and the rest is music history.

30. Flood, Producer

Named for his “flood of ideas” and penchant for brewing tea in the studio (or spilling it, depending on who you ask), producer Flood has a long history of engineering U2’s sound. Perhaps most memorably, in Classic Albums: The Joshua Tree he tells the story of how he rescued “Where the Streets Have No Name” from certain death as Brian Eno was set to erase the tape of it. More notably, he snagged a Grammy for his work on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. When our own Scott Calhoun interviewed him in 2013, he had this to say about working with the band: “They're incredibly demanding, in the most inspirational, fantastic way. They're greedy. They want everything. And it makes you want to be a part of it.”

29. Frank Barselona, Talent Agent

It was Frank Barselona who took a meeting with Paul McGuinness in 1980 shortly after McGuinness’ father had passed away. He listened to a tape of U2 and — with a nudge from Chris Blackwell — signed on to represent the band. He recalled that the first time he saw them play live, he was worried that he’d made a mistake because the crowd was not excited as they entered the stage. In The U2 Reader: A Quarter Century of Commentary Criticism and Reviews he remembered: “It was the most incredible way to have seen U2 for the first time, because it wasn’t a pre-sold audience, it was an audience that was hostile, that they had to win and turn around. It was the most incredible thing, because with every song a little bit more of the audience would start listening and getting involved.” He remained a guiding light for the band until they parted ways in 1997. When Barselona passed away in 2012, McGuinness paid tribute to him, saying he gave him his “education in the business.”

28. Regine Moylett, Tour Publicist

Only in her 20s when she began working for U2, Dublin-native Regine Moylett was the girl who sold the now-infamous checkered pants to Bono when she owned the punk shop No Romance. Fun fact: Her shop was also the place where the very first U2 merchandise was sold (a series of four badges). After she left the store, she wrote for NME and then moved on to working press for Island Records, which is how she found her way to U2. There she orchestrated hundreds of press conferences and interviews at the height of their first wave of fame. Always taking the fans into consideration, Moylett didn’t limit U2’s interviews to major outlets — she hand-picked journalists and publications that would be of interest to U2’s core audience (us). Though most of her career has been devoted to U2 she has also worked with big acts like Sting and The Clash.

27. Mark Fisher, Architect/Designer

If you marveled at the spectacle that was the PopMart arch or the 360 Claw, you owe your wonder to their brainchild, Mark Fisher. Starting his rock ’n’ roll career with Pink Floyd in 1977, he didn’t stop creating imaginative set pieces for the next three decades. Upon his passing in 2013, Paul McGuinness raved, "He was an architect with an extraordinary imagination. He turned everyone's wild ideas into steel and lumber and canvas reality." His vision and his talents are surely missed.

26. Bob Hewson, Father of Bono

Though they had a famously strained relationship, it cannot be denied that Bono’s dad was a source of inspiration for his music. A “beautiful tenor” himself, Hewson was a member of the Rathmines and Rathgar Musical Society, which regularly performed at Dublin’s Gaeity theater. The band shot the video for “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” there in honor of him, and in Bono’s childhood home on Cedarwood Road. Bono expressed his gratitude for the inspiration in the song’s lyrics, “You’re the reason why the opera is in me.”

25. Marc Marot, General Manager, Island Records

Unlike many on this list, Marc Marot didn’t make the cut for doing “one great thing” for the band; he got here because of a number of things he did for the band. During his time at Island Records, he spearheaded the effort to hatch U2.com; he helped negotiate the band’s contracts in the `80s and `90s; he marketed the “new” U2 image in the `90s; and he introduced Bono to Jubilee 2000, which would lead him to become an international figure in humanitarian work. Talking to Matt McGee in 2006, Marot remembered the Achtung Baby launch. “It was a complicated and costly thing because you were converting a band that everybody thought they knew, they had under their belt. They understood who U2 were and what U2 did. And U2 decided to tear it all up and start again in a really, sort of post-European, ironic way -- which is what Achtung Baby was.” Marot left Island Records in 2000. He is now the chairman of Crown Talent and Media Group.

24. Bill Graham, Journalist, Music Journalist/Author

Though Bill Graham didn’t always agree with where U2 was going in the music industry, he deserves much of the credit for them being there in the first place. If not for him, they never would have met Paul McGuinness. He literally introduced them. In the years that follow, Graham was a trusted friend and fair critic, writing pieces for Hot Press as we’ll as authoring two books about the band, U2: In the Name of Love: a History and Complete Guide to the Music of U2. Sadly, he died in 1996 of a heart attack at the young age of 44. Adam Clayton remembered him fondly, “In many ways, Bill wasn't geographically located in Ireland; he lived in the world of music. His references came from all over the place. I think that was very important for us to be aware of. And his encouragement and love for the band very early on was quite remarkable.”

23. Jake Berry, Production Director

Since 2002, Jake Berry has been responsible for the production logistics and setup of each U2 tour. Prior to that he had a long-standing career with other notable acts such as The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner and Metallica. In a “DesigningU2360” YouTube interview in 2009, Berry spoke of his time on the 360 tour, “It’s always great to be part of something that’s bigger and hopefully better than anything you’ve ever done before …. U2 is a band that always push the limits of technology; push the limits of what people can do.” It shows!

22. Jerry Mele, Security Chief

For nearly a decade, the man in charge of keeping Bono, Edge, Adam and Larry safe was Jerry Mele. A veteran with a heart of gold, Mele was famous for revolutionizing the way concert security was handled. He believed in communicating with fans; not fighting with them. In 2008, he told Matt McGee, “I credit the music industry for helping me survive the aftermath of my deadly Vietnam special units experience. I used my special ops training to promote nonviolence instead of death and destruction, which has been my penance of sorts.” Unfortunately, Mele’s career was cut short in 1997 after he sustained a serious injury at a U2 show in Mexico. Until his passing earlier this year, he lived out his days in Arizona where he worked on a memoir and spent time with family. He will be greatly missed. 

21. Bob Geldof, Musician

It was Bob Geldof who organized Band-Aid in 1984, and the following summer, Live Aid to provide famine relief in Ethiopia. U2’s performance at Live Aid catapulted the band to levels of fame that they had not previously experienced and established them internationally as one of the most important bands of the 1980s. Without Geldof’s invitation, U2’s fame trajectory could have been quite different.

20. Jimmy Iovine, Founder of Interscope Records

A producing genius turned record label mogul who literally swept floors during his first studio job, Jimmy Iovine has names like John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen on his resume. Known for his snap decisions and inability to mince words, he began his long relationship with U2 when he produced Under A Blood Red Sky. In 2012, Bono told Rolling Stone, “Jimmy wants everything cut like a diamond that can be seen from a long distance. And he’s not subtle about how he tells you.” Of U2, Iovine noted, “They have been through everything and still want it more than most bands. They’re current, and they care.” Though Rattle And Hum was the last U2 record that he produced, he still maintains a friendship with the band members and acts as a sounding board when they’re shaping new material.

19. Sheila Roche, Managing Director, Principle Management

For 18 years, Sheila Roche was responsible for the day-to-day management of U2. She left the company in 2004, and soon thereafter became the Chief Creative & Communications Consultant for (RED). In addition, she’s been an adjunct professor at DePaul University, teaching Creative and Critical Thinking at the graduate level. When asked about her start in the business in an interview on fortyover40.com, she explained, “I asked for every job I got…I just asked and gave passionate reasons for why I wanted to do them. Paul McGuinness first turned me down for my job with U2 because I was a friend and they didn’t hire friends. I was naive and cocky enough to convince him he was making a mistake!”

18. Sam O’Sullivan, Chief Technician

In the late `70s, Sam O’Sullivan started his U2 career as a lighting designer. Since The Joshua Tree era, Larry has relied on him to care for the feeding and watering of his drums on each and every tour, but as the chief technician, O’Sullivan’s responsibilities don’t end there. He’s also in charge of the other technicians and the overall setup, which includes everything from testing earplugs to making sure speakers are functioning correctly. When asked by Music Radar in 2011 what advice he’d give to a new technician, O’Sullivan responded, “I would say listen and learn, and enjoy the moment.”

17. Joe O’Herlihy, Audio Director

Since 1978, Joe O’Herlihy has been responsible for bringing us the live sound experience of U2. In 2005, he described the extensive process to U2.com, explaining how he helps make the music concert-ready: “You are dealing with a blank canvas, trying to accommodate all the sonic values of what happened in the studio and at the same time accommodate the adrenalin-type sonic values that come into play in front of an audience. Bringing these two disciplines together is a tough task.” Never an easy job, but one over the years he has undoubtedly mastered. 

16. Stuart Morgan, Bass Technician

Dubbed “Sturopa” by the Zoo TV crew, Stuart Morgan holds the distinction of being the first (and presumably last) person to substitute for a band member for the duration of an entire U2 show. It happened in November of 1993 when Adam was struggling with a drinking problem. He was unable to go on stage in Sydney and the band couldn’t cancel the show because of a TV broadcast that needed to be blocked that night by producers. Aside from saving the day in this unprecedented circumstance, Morgan has enjoyed a long career tuning and polishing bass guitars for Adam. When not touring, he runs the Hillside Lodge in County Galway, Ireland.

15. Ellen Darst, U.S. Director, Principle Management

Recruited from Warner Brothers, Ellen Darst served as Anne-Louise Kelly’s American counterpart of operations. Of her time in the role, Paul McGuinness stated, “Ellen taught me so much about America in the early days. If you’re on the road with four or five guys and all that macho stuff that goes along with rock ’n’ roll, a very effective counterbalance is association with a lot of women. It seems like the right way to do things. There’s enough maleness in rock ’n’ roll without having it in the office as well.” Though she departed from Principle in 1993, Bono also thanked Darst, along with the other “beautiful, gorgeous women of Principle Manangement,” in his 2005 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction speech.

14. Joe Strummer, Co-Founder, The Clash

It’s hard to overlook the very band (and especially its leader) that Bono credits as being the catalyst for U2. After the band attended one of their shows in October of 1977, they were never the same. Bono remembered that night during an interview in 2003, “That idea comes from The Clash — that you could come out of the audience, get up on stage, grab the microphone, and if you had something to say, then you had a valid reason for being there. That idea changed my life: it’s the reason that U2 exists today.” 

13. Brian Eno, Producer

After completing their groundbreaking album War, U2 wanted to take their music to a new level. They called Brian Eno to see if he would produce their next record. He was concerned his style was too far from their sound to work. Bono expressed that they wanted their sound to be unrecognizable from what they had already done, so Eno hatched a plan to convince them to take him, along with co-producer Daniel Lanois, on board. If they ended up disliking what Eno did, they’d have Lanois to finish the task. Of course, they loved what he did, and after an intense month at Slane Castle, with time at Windmill Lane Studios following, The Unforgettable Fire was born. Eno, who Chris Blackwell thought was the wrong choice for producer, continued on to be one of the most influential contributors to U2’s sonic landscape over the years.

12. Daniel Lanois, Producer

Joining the team with Brian Eno as a producing partner, Lanois was virtually unknown to the band when he arrived. Thankfully, his grounded presence and phenomenal chemistry with the band made the magic they were looking for a reality. Like Eno, he stayed on to produce many other albums with the band. Last year, he spoke to Consequence of Sound about his history working with them. “We’re really dedicated to coming out with results. We put a lot of time into preparation, Eno and myself. I have my own sandbox and tools that I work with, and Eno has his. We might spend five days building our stations, our sounds, and this and that, so that in the heat of the moment with these guys, we can be musical contributors. We just play well together, simply put.” The perfect recipe for lasting success.

11. Joey Ramone, Lead Singer, The Ramones

The lead singer of one of the greatest punk bands in history made a profound mark on the lives of U2 in their youth. Similar to their experience seeing The Clash, It’s safe to say that U2 wouldn’t be who they are today without his inspiration. Long before “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)” had been dreamed up, Bono was singing his praises. In 2001, he explained this in his eulogy of him, “When I was standing in the State Cinema in Dublin in 1977 listening to Ramone sing and realizing that there was nothing else [that] mattered to him, pretty soon nothing else mattered to me.” Apparently the adoration was mutual. As Ramone passed away from a long battle with lymphoma, it was U2’s “In a Little While” that he last heard. "'Just as the song finished, Joey finished,'" his mother, Charlotte Lesher, told reporters. "'He's free now. He heard it and now he's gone.'"

10. Steve Averill, Art Director

Also in 1978, Adam Clayton began speaking to a fellow musician — Steve Averill of Radiators From Space — about logos and designs, because he worked in advertising. Soon enough, Averill was convincing the band to change their name from The Hype to U2 (he had a list of 10 options; that’s the one that stuck) and working on their logo. Since then, he’s been the main talent behind their iconic album covers and other graphic elements that show up on posters, swag, etc. About working with U2, Averill spoke to Hot Press in 2001, “They are all strong, confident personalities in their own right, and they each have an intuitive understanding of what they want. So as their art director, I do have to try to find a compromise that all four agree with. If you have strong views yourself, you have to explain them and defend them. But that's good, it challenges everybody.”

9. Dallas Schoo, Guitar Technician

For Kentucky native Dallas Schoo, having over 40 guitars to babysit each night during a U2 show is no big deal. In fact, it’s a dream come true. With the band since 1987 as Edge’s guitar tech, he still gets flattered when they ask for his opinion. He told Music Radar in 2009, “I still pinch myself when Edge or Bono ask me for ideas in the studio. I think to myself, Hey, you're the geniuses. You wrote the song, you play it — I'm just the hired hand here." He does admit that after working with The Edge for all of these years, they share a “shorthand” way of communicating. And you won’t find a more dedicated caretaker of gear. Schoo admits to sometimes purchasing a first-class seat on flights (right next to him) for Edge’s AC30 amp.

8. Dennis Sheehan, Tour Manager

When Dennis Sheehan first started working for U2, the band’s operation was so small he actually drove the tour bus himself. Of course, when their career blossomed (exploded), all of that changed — but he was up to the task. The Telegraph noted, “… he found himself at the head of an operation similar to a military campaign, requiring the coordination of set designers, fabrication companies, sound, lighting and video equipment suppliers, merchandising operations, and the provision of transport and accommodation for band members and their families and a support staff of some 30 people.” And he had it down to a science. Beloved amongst fans and friends, Sheehan was one-of-a-kind. At the time of his passing last year, Bono said, “We’ve lost a family member.” They did, indeed.

7. Anne-Louise Kelly, Production Manager, Dublin

You may have seen her referenced on some of the band’s Easter Eggs through the years (thank you messages from the band). Or heard how some called her “second in command” during her decades at Principle Management because of her impressive leadership. Once the personal assistant of Paul McGuinness, Kelly was quickly promoted to lead the Dublin office. During her reign, she also participated in a report commissioned by the Minister of the Arts, Heritage and Culture, on the state of the Irish Music Industry, titled: “Access All Areas: Irish Music, an International History.’ A behind-the-scenes star in her own right.

6. Gavin Friday, Friend/Collaborator

It was the late `70s in Dublin, Ireland. Bono and his best friend Guggi were at a party when they noticed an uninvited guest trying to steal something from the house. His name was Fionån Hanvey, but he would soon be Christened Gavin Friday (they forgave him for the theft attempt). A member of the Lypton Village group of creatives who lived in the area, Friday was a founding member of The Virgin Prunes and went on to have his own successful music career, contributing tracks to films like Moulin Rouge. In addition, he’s maintained a close friendship with the group and is consistently credited as a trusted collaborator. In the 2001 documentary New York Tumble, Bono remembered, “‘With Or Without You’ was going into the [trash] bin and he found it and structured the song as it is now.” Friday’s most recent work with the band can be seen in the extras for the U2 Innocence + Experience: Live In Paris DVD, where he provides a guide to their childhood street, Cedarwood Road.

5. Anton Corbijn, Photographer/Video Producer

From the iconic album shots of The Joshua Tree to the memorable drag sequences of the “One” video, Anton Corbijn has defined the very lens through which we see U2 through. Of their collaboration, REM’s Michael Stipe said this, “There is a connection between his eye and their collective brain, between their complete lack of fear and his brain. It is a stunning dance to watch, with a soundtrack to match.” The members of U2 famously asked Corbijn to “photograph them for the next 22 years” back in 1982. At the time, the Dutch artist laughed that he didn’t know if he had enough film. Thank goodness he did. 

4. Willie Williams, Creative Director/Tour Designer

Many who have been fans of the band for a while will remember the addictive, almost serial-like diary of Willie Williams as he traveled on the road with U2. Williams has been the man behind their tour designs since 1982, and his creativity has earned him countless industry awards and acclaim. His authenticity has kept him a trusted member of the U2 inner circle. Says Williams of his craft, “In our media-saturated online age, the experience of live performance has a special resonance and the energy-exchange between audience and performer can be uniquely powerful. I see my task as creating a situation in which this exchange can take place and when it succeeds, a show becomes a visceral and sensory experience for the viewer.” Mission accomplished.

3. Steve Lillywhite, Producer

As the first official U2 producer working on Boy, Lillywhite’s task was to take a young, unknown Irish band and develop their sound into something meaningful and marketable. Not only did he accomplish that, but he also stayed on to produce their next two albums. In fact, they trust him so much, they keep bringing him back. He’s been called in — at least to assist — on nearly everything they’ve recorded to date. When he spoke to Matt McGee in 2008, he addressed the challenge of “repeat business” when making a new record with the same group: “It's never about trying to copy what you did before. It's always about the art, about trying to make something that's timeless and being true to yourself. That's one thing I've really learned from the band.” Clearly, he was the right man for the job. 

2. Paul McGuinness, Manager

On a spring day in 1978 the four members of U2 — then known as The Hype — played a gig at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. Impressed by the performance, a gentleman in the audience took them to the Granary Pub next door following their show and offered unsolicited advice on how to manage the large sums of money he expected they’d soon make. His name was Paul McGuinness and for the next 35 years he would act as the band’s trusted manager. He’d be responsible for making sure the profits were divided evenly, and negotiated tour contracts and sponsorships that made them among the most successful artists in the history of modern music. In fact, he set the bar so high that Bruce Springsteen refers to his own manager, Jon Landau, as “the American Paul McGuinness.” When the longtime manager left in 2013, the band wrote, “His central lesson was that if you cared for your ‘art,’ you must also ‘take care of business’ as historically with rock and roll bands, the latter has undone the former.” Luckily, his students always listened.

1. Iris Rankin Hewson, Mother of Bono

Mrs. Hewson’s untimely passing in 1974 ignited a cataclysmic shift in her youngest son’s life. As U2 was forming, losing a mother was an unfortunate commonality between Bono and Larry Mullen Jr., but it only brought them closer together as friends. In 2014 Bono spoke of his mother’s death, crediting her with his life as an artist. “I owe Iris. Her absence, I filled with music.” Those sentiments are further explored in his tribute song to her, “Iris,” where he expresses, “The ache in my heart is so much a part of who I am.” He couldn’t have scripted a better life in which to pay her respect. 


(c) @U2/Kokkoris, 2016.