U2’s Bono Says He’s ‘Embarrassed’ About His Voice on Some of the Band’s Early Songs

Written by on 22 January 2022

Bono and bandmate the Edge appeared on the Awards Chatter podcast on Monday (Jan. 17), as the band is generating Oscar buzz for “Your Song Saved My Life” off last year’s Sing 2 soundtrack.

Sure, U2 have won 22 Grammy awards from 46 nominations and are a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but lead singer Bono has a few things he would change.

One of which, surprisingly, is his voice on some of the band’s earlier tracks. Bono and bandmate the Edge appeared on the Awards Chatter podcast on Monday (Jan. 17), as the band is generating Oscar buzz for “Your Song Saved My Life” off last year’s Sing 2 soundtrack.

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“The band sound incredible. I just found the voice very strained and kind of not macho and my Irish macho was kind of strained by that,” he said. “A big discovery for me was listening to The Ramones and hearing the beautiful kind of sound of Joey Ramone and realizing I didn’t have to be that rock and roll singer. But I only became a singer recently. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet for some people’s ears, and I understand that.”

He even said he has felt embarrassed while listening to some of the songs. “I’ve been in a car when one of our songs has come on the radio, and I’ve been the colour of — as we say in Dublin — scarlet,” he explained. “I’m just embarrassed. And yeah, I mean, I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot. And maybe that’s the place to be as an artist is, you know, right at the edge of your level of pain for embarrassment, your level of embarrassment. And the lyrics as well. I feel that on Boy and other albums it was sketched out with very unique and original material. But I don’t think I filled in the details.”

That’s not the only bone he had to pick. Both Bono and the Edge agreed that they don’t love the band’s name. The Edge explained that the group was originally called The Hype, and felt the name was unoriginal, so they turned to fellow musician Steve Averill for suggestions.

“He came to us with a few suggestions, one of which was U2,” he said “And of the suggestions, it wasn’t that it jumped out to us as the name we were really looking for, but it was the one that we hated the least. And what we loved about it was that it was not obvious from the name what this band wound sound like or be about.”

While The Edge added that the band “didn’t really love it at first,” Bono shared that he still feels that way.

Why are Yes, King Crimson, Genesis and Deep Purple so underrated, compared to Led Zeppelin, despite being equally good, if not better, musicians?

“I still don’t,” he said. “I mean, I really don’t. But I was late into some kind of dyslexia, I didn’t realize that the Beatles was a bad pun either. We’d thought the implications of the letter and the number, in our head, it was like, the spy plane, it was a U-boat, it was futuristic. But then 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.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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