Bono says he dislikes U2’s name and is “embarrassed” by most of their songs

“I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment"

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Bono has spoken of his dislike of U2’s name, most of their songs and his own singing voice.

During an appearance on the Awards Chatter podcast (via The Times), the frontman explained that he turns off the radio when the group’s tracks are played because he can’t listen to his vocals.

He also claimed that he had only learnt how to sing “recently”.


Bono – real name Paul Hewson – went on to admit that he “still” doesn’t like U2’s band name. “I really don’t. But I was late into some kind of dyslexia,” he said. “I didn’t realise that The Beatles was a bad pun either.

“In our head it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic – as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name.”

He continued: “Paul McGuinness, our first manager, did say, ‘Look, it’s a great name, it’s going to look good on a T-shirt, a letter and a number’.”

Explaining that most vocal performances “make me cringe a little bit”, Bono said that U2’s 2004 single “Vertigo” is “probably is the one I’m proudest of”. “It’s the way it connects with the crowd,” he added.

“I’ve been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I’ve been the colour of, as we say in Dublin, scarlet. I’m just so embarrassed.”


Although he believes “the band sound incredible”, the 61-year-old frontman said his voice is now “strained”.

Looking back to the ’80s, Bono went on to recall how the late Robert Palmer told U2 bassist Adam Clayton: “‘God, would you ever tell your singer to just take down the keys a little bit, he’d do himself a favour and he’d do us all a favour who have to listen to him.’

“But I was thinking out of my body. I wasn’t thinking about singing. I didn’t really think about changing keys. Did we ever change a key?”.

He added: “I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot and maybe that’s the place to be as an artist, you know right at the edge of your level of embarrassment.”

U2. CREDIT: Helena Christensen

Bono said that U2’s 1980 debut record Boy contained “very unique and original material” in terms of lyrics, as did some “other albums” that followed.

“But I don’t think I filled in the details,” he continued, “and I look back and I go ‘God’.”

You can listen to the conversation in full above.

Back in November, U2 guitarist The Edge revealed that the band were working on a new album. The update came shortly after the four-piece released the track “Your Song Saved My Life”, their first new material in two years.

U2’s most recent studio album, Songs Of Experience, came out back in 2017.

Originally published on NME

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