[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/u2-somerville.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:U2. From left to right: Larry Mullen Jr., Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton.]]

->''"Ooh, I've got no shame, oh no, oh no..."''
-->--"Windows in the Skies"

'''U2''' are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists of Paul Hewson aka Bono on lead vocals, David Evans aka The Edge on guitar, Adam Clayton on bass and Laurence Joseph "Larry" Mullen, Jr. on drums.The band formed in 1976 under the name "Feedback" when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. It soon changed its name to "The Hype." In 1978, when David's older brother Dik left the band, they decided to change their name again; Mullen's friend Steve Averill of The Radiators gave them six suggestions of names, and they settled on "U2" because it was the name they least disliked.

By the mid-1980s, the band had become a top international act, noted for their anthemic sound, Bono's impassioned vocals, and The Edge's textural guitar playing. U2 started as one of the early pioneers of PostPunk and their albums ''Boy'' and ''War'' were largely college radio hits. Their success as a live act was greater than their success at selling records until their 1987 album ''The Joshua Tree'' increased the band's stature "from heroes to superstars," according to Rolling Stone. U2 responded to the dance and alternative rock revolutions, the backlash against their earnest image and their own sense of musical stagnation by reinventing themselves with their 1991 album ''Achtung Baby'' and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour. They carried on with their experimental, heavily electronic and satirical AlternativeRock sound for the rest of the 1990s. Starting in the 2000s, U2 pursued a more traditional sound that retained the influence of their previous musical explorations before combining ''that'' with the experimental spirit of the '90s on one of their most recent albums, ''No Line On The Horizon.''

U2 have sold more than 140 million albums worldwide and have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band. In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone magazine listed U2 at #22 in its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time. Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and social justice causes, including Amnesty International, the ONE Campaign, Music Rising and Bono's DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) campaign.

Looking beyond the current discography, Bono said at the surprise launch for ''Songs of Innocence'' that U2 have made a few albums since 2009, and this is just the first one to be released, and a few hours later announced that their next album ''Songs of Experience'' should be out soon. Oh, and Bono and Edge worked on the soundtrack to ''Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark''. Suffice it to say, for a band that's been going for nearly forty years, they don't show any signs of slowing down soon.

----
!!Principal Members (Founding members in '''bold''', current members in ''italic''):

* '''''Adam Clayton''''' - bass, keyboard, guitar, backing and lead vocals
* '''''David Evans (The Edge)''''' - guitar, backing and lead vocals, piano, bass, keyboard, synthesizer
* '''''Paul Hewson (Bono)''''' - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, synthesizer, piano, keyboard, dulcimer
* '''''Larry Mullen Jr.''''' - drums, percussion, vocals

----
!!Studio Discography:

* 1979 - ''Three''
* 1980 - ''Boy''
* 1981 - ''October''
* 1983 - ''War''
* 1984 - ''The Unforgettable Fire''
* 1985 - ''Wide Awake In America''
* 1987 - ''The Joshua Tree''
* 1988 - ''Rattle And Hum''
* 1991 - ''Achtung Baby''
* 1993 - ''Zooropa''
* 1997 - ''Pop''
* 2000 - ''All That You Can't Leave Behind''
* 2002 - ''7''
* 2004 - ''How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb''
* 2009 - ''No Line On The Horizon''
* 2014 - ''Songs Of Innocence''

----
!!Live Discography:

* 1983 - ''Under A Blood Red Sky''
* 1997 - ''Please: PopHeart Live EP''
* 2000 - ''Hasta La Vista Baby! U2 Live From Mexico City''
* 2003 - ''Exclusive''
* 2004 - ''Live From Under The Brooklyn Bridge''
* 2005 - ''U2.COMmunication''
* 2006 - ''Zoo TV Live''
* 2007 - ''U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle, Ireland''
* 2007 - ''Live From Paris''
* 2010 - ''Wide Awake In Europe''
* 2012 - ''U22''
* 2012 - ''From The Ground Up: Edge's Picks From U2360°''

----
!!U2 provide examples of:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Band Members: ]]

* AdamWesting: Bono wholeheartedly acknowledges his reputation for being egotistical, and aside from repeatedly lampshading it, appeared in the mock charity video at the end of ''{{Bruno}}'' as a slight self-parody of his real self.
* AerithAndBob: Bono and The Edge vs. Larry and Adam.
* TheAlcoholic: Adam turned to excessive drinking in the latter stages of the Zoo TV Tour to cope with the disintegration of his relationship, and infamously missed the Sydney concert on 26 November 1993 because he suffered from an alcoholic blackout, being replaced with bass technician Stuart Morgan. The embarrassment of missing the concert prompted him to clean up and he has remained sober since.
* CoolShades: Bono alternates between those and [[MakingASpectacleOfYourself Scandalous Shades]].
** Although, Bono does suffer from photophobia, which is extreme sensitivity to lights.
* DeadpanSnarker: Larry and Adam. But especially Larry.
* DigitalPiracyIsEvil: Played straight after their manager, Paul [=McGuiness=], declared war to illegal downloaders. Also, Bono made stances against digital piracy and illegal downloaders, specially after the leaking of ''No Line on the Horizon''.
** NewMediaAreEvil: Speaking of piracy, Bono asked governments to police Internet for copyright infringement. Ladies and gentlemen, the man who declared "We shall continue to abuse our position and fuck up the mainstream!" when ''Zooropa'' won the 1994 Grammy for Best Alternative Album.
** Worth noting that The Edge does not seem to care as much, as he has admitted to downloading bootlegs of their shows. He also defended Music/{{Negativland}} when Island Records sued them for copyright infringement for their ''U2'' EP, and stated that U2 were left out of the loop and the lawsuit was entirely the record company's decision.
** Subverted when ''Songs of Innocence'' was release completely for free on [=iTunes=].
* EightiesHair: Bono used to have a giant mullet. Nowadays, he prefers not to talk about it.
** In one interview on Irish TV he addressed detractors who took the mickey out of some of their more ... over the top elements, particularly their political statements. He claimed the only thing they had ever done he felt was ill advised, and that he looked back on with regret, in their entire career was The Mullet (yes, you could hear the capitals) and gave full permission for people to endlessly take the piss out of him for it.
* {{Garfunkel}}: Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. They get a lot of love in the U2 ''fandom'', though.
** Lampshaded by Larry [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIrPDV05SXU on]] DavidLetterman.
--> "Even my parents ask me: 'Are you Adam or Larry?'"
** It's not that hard to tell them apart, though: Adam has whitening hair, while Larry doesn't.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Bono and The Edge, so very much.
* HighSchoolSweetHearts: Bono married his high school sweetheart, Ali. Larry Mullen is also still with his high school sweet heart, Ann.
* LongRunnerLineUp: Type 1, no less (they never changed members since the 70s!).
* NiceHat: The Edge! [[http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pyfWoS2EpR8/TD6CsDQMgDI/AAAAAAAAD6I/3lH5o_DhZkg/s1600/Bono-hat-glasses.jpg Bono]] [[http://thefigurehead.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/bono.jpg as]] [[http://images.icanhascheezburger.com/completestore/2009/3/5/128807435564298917.jpg well]] [[http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a212/obiwandoodle/u2%20bono%20bw/BonoHatWayfarers.jpg sometimes.]]
* TheQuietOne: Adam is generally way more introverted than the other members, and he likes it that way. So quiet that he didn't announce that he had a son until a year after the kid was born.
* SelfDeprecation: Ego is sometimes firmly rooted in humility, and it shows.
* SinisterShades: The Fly's giant opaque goggle-shades.
* StageNames: Bono and The Edge's real names are Paul Hewson and David Evans, respectively.
* TrueCompanions: "We'd been campaigning for Dr. King - for his birthday to be a national holiday. And in Arizona, they're saying no. We've been campaigning very, very hard for Dr. King. Some people don't like it. Some people get very annoyed. Some people want to kill the singer. Some people are taken very seriously by the FBI, and they tell the singer he shouldn't play the gig, because tonight, his life is at risk, and he must not go onstage. The singer laughs. You know, of course we're playing the gig, of course we go onstage. And I'm standing there, singing "Pride in the Name of Love," and I've got to the third verse, and I close my eyes, and I know I'm excited about meeting my maker, but maybe not tonight. I don't really want to meet my maker tonight. I close my eyes, and when I look up, I see Adam Clayton standing in front of me, holding his bass like only Adam Clayton can hold his bass. And you know, there's people in this room who tell you they'd take a bullet for you, but Adam Clayton would've taken a bullet for me - and I guess that's what it's like to be in a truly great rock and roll band."--Bono, [[http://rockhall.com/inductees/u2/ in his acceptance speech upon being inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005]].
* VitriolicBestBuds: Bono and Larry. While sometimes they do genuinely disagree, most of it is humorous.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music & Performances: ]]

* ThreeDMovie: ''U2 3D'', released in 2008.
* AdaptationDistillation: The version of "[[CutSong Mercy]]" played in the Zurich 360 performance had parts of the intro and the chorus changed, causing the song to be somewhat more fast-paced and considerably better.
* AlbumTitleDrop
** ''Rattle and Hum'' is an odd example, as it's an AlbumTitleDrop from a lyric in "Bullet The Blue Sky", a song from ''The Joshua Tree''... but is on ''Rattle and Hum'' too, as a live track.
** ''All That You Can't Leave Behind'': A lyric from "Walk On".
** ''How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'': Adapted from the bonus track "Fast Cars", the exact line being "They're in the desert to dismantle an atomic bomb".
** ''War'': While the album's title is fitting, the word is only mentioned in a line in "The Refugee" (the plural form, "wars," is heard in "New Year's Day").
** ''Boy'': Another fitting title, having to do with growing up. The singular is heard in "I Will Follow," "Twilight" and "The Electric Co", while the plural is heard in "Out of Control" and "Stories for Boys" (natch).
* AlternativeDance: Starting on ''Achtung Baby'' and continuing through ''Zooropa'' and ''Pop'', and on the occasional song from later records as well.
* AlternativeRock: Arguably one of the genre's key bands. Their PostPunk albums in the 80s are arguable examples of the genre (depending on whether or not one considers PostPunk to be part of AlternativeRock), but they embraced it fully on ''Achtung Baby''.
* BrokenRecord: the line "Baby, baby, baby... baby, baby, baby... baby, baby, baby, light my way" from "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)". Even more, the line is repeated numerous times. Bono deliberately did this as he had never previously written a song with "baby" in the lyrics and opted to take RefugeInAudacity, to the point that the album's engineer Mark "Flood" Ellis noticed the other band members wondering if it could be actually pulled off while he was preparing the final mix.
* {{Camp}}: The entire Pop Mart tour is this, pretty much, culminating in the video for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wMYRU7Lalk Discothèque]].
** Similarly, but on a different level of campness - Sontag-y camp to "Discothèque"'s, well, ''kitsch'' - Bono's Mr. Macphisto persona is pretty much [[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons the tragically ludicrous; the ludicrously tragic]] in a nutshell. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTsVfZeHL4s Seriously, that suit, that accent, the entire premise!]]
** May I remind you that [[http://www.atu2.com/daltons/biography.html the Dalton Brothers]] play both kinds of music: Country ''and'' Western!
* CantLiveWithThemCantLiveWithoutThem: "With or Without You".
* ConceptAlbum:
** ''How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb''
** ''No Line On The Horizon'' could also count as a partial examples, as a few of the songs were written from the viewpoints of fictional characters. Notably, "Moment of Surrender" and "Unknown Caller" are from the viewpoint of a heroin addict.
*** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_%28film%29 Linear - essentially music from the NLOTH album on shuffle (or rather vice versa, as the movie is telling a story.)]]
** ''Achtung Baby'' can be interpreted as the conceptual journey of a man from a fight with his wife to a wild night on the town, through to the morning, as detailed in the book "U2: At the End of the World".
** ''The Joshua Tree'' is a concept album about the good and bad sides of the USA.
* ContinuityNod: The kid from ''Boy'' also appears in the covers of ''War'' and ''The Best of 1980-1990''.
* CutSong: Tons, most notably a song called "Mercy" cut from the ''How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'' sessions. Hasn't stopped it from becoming (in)famous throughout the fandom when a low-quality version leaked, however. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QS6tiSVILXQ And now they're playing it live!]]
** One such live performance received an official release on the limited edition vinyl ''Wide Awake in Europe'' in 2010.
* DanBrowned: The lyrics of "Pride (In The Name of Love)" put MLK's assassination in the "early morning". MLK was shot at 6:01 p.m.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Achtung Baby'', ''Zooropa'', and ''Pop''. The band themselves described ''Achtung'' as "the sound of four men chopping down ''The Joshua Tree''".
** "Bullet the Blue Sky" is significantly darker than the rest of ''The Joshua Tree'', and is one of their darkest songs in general.
* DownerEnding: ''Very'' common on U2 albums, with ''Achtung'' 's "Love Is Blindness" being probably the best-known example. ''No Line On The Horizon's'' "Cedars Of Lebanon" continues the trend.
** "Grace" and "Yahweh" on ''ATYCLB'' and ''HTDAAB'' were more like {{BittersweetEnding}}s, though.
** "Mothers of The Disappeared" from ''The Joshua Tree'', and "Wake Up Dead Man" from ''Pop''.
* EpicInstrumentalOpener: A new song called "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfnYpc-gVFI&feature=related Return of the Stingray Guitar]]", used to open the U2 360° Tour [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome in suitably epic fashion]] several times in 2010 and 2011.
** From ''The Joshua Tree'', we have the album opener, "Where the Streets Have No Name", while ''No Line on the Horizon'' boasts "Magnificent", which while might not have the same distinction, is just as epic.
** The extended intro of "Zoo Station" on ''Achtung Baby'' counts in a different way: Adam stated that the entire purpose of the song was to cause listeners' first reaction to be that either their stereo was broken, or that they had accidentally purchased something that wasn't the new U2 album.
** The title song from "Zooropa'' has a haunting piano-based intro, played over jumbled noise not unlike too many [=TVs=] playing at once.
* EpicRocking: While not particularly common amongst U2's output, the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHnXOSxka1Q twelve-minute-long version of "Bad" played at Live Aid]] needs to be mentioned here.
** In the studio, they have a handful of songs over six minutes long, including the aforementioned "Bad". The only song they've recorded that's over seven minutes long is "Moment of Surrender" (7:24) off of ''No Line on the Horizon''. Fittingly, this song was used as the set closer during the subsequent tour.
* FakeBand: U2 has performed and released music under a number of pseudonyms, most notably as Passengers and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dalton_Brothers_(band) The Dalton Brothers.]]
** And [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C--MI0VkNuA here's a video]] of them opening for U2. If you've ever wondered what Bono would sound like with a Southern accent...well, wonder no more.
* {{Fanservice}}: The inner sleeve of ''Achtung Baby'' includes an image of Adam naked. (His genitals were censored in certain markets, sometimes with a clover.)
* GodIsLoveSongs: ''October'' is a whole album full of these. "Until The End Of The World", "Salome" and "MOFO" also count.
* GratuitousSpanish: C'mon, you ''know'' the one.
--> Unos, dos, tres, catorce!
* GriefSong: "Tomorrow", from the ''October'' album, was written about Bono's mother's funeral. It's become something of a [[SugarWiki/NeedsMoreLove forgotten classic]] these days.
-->There's a black car parked
-->At the side of the road
-->Don't go to the door

-->I'm going outside, mother
-->I'm going out there

-->Won't you be back tomorrow?
-->Won't you be back tomorrow?
-->Will you be back tomorrow?
** The lyrics to "I Will Follow," from the earlier ''Boy'', were also written by Bono in tribute to his mother, though the song itself is an aversion of this trope.
** "Kite", from 2000's ''All That You Can't Leave Behind'', was originally written about Bono accepting his own mortality and the fact that, one day, his daughters would no longer need him. It became a Grief Song after his father passed away in 2001, while the Elevation Tour was still running. He altered a line in the song to make his tribute clear: "The last of the rock stars" became "The last of the opera stars", referencing his father's love of the genre.
** His father got a straight example on ''How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb'' with "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own", which contrasts with the self-sufficiency Bono espoused for his own children in "Kite".
* HiddenDepths: There are actually quite a lot of literary references in their songs.
* HypocrisyNod: From "God Part 2":
-->''I don't believe in excess''\\
''Success is to give''\\
''I don't believe in riches''\\
''But you should see where I live.''
* HypocriticalHumour: One of the commands in "Numb" is "Don't rhyme."
* ICantDoThisByMyself: "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own".
* IconicOutfit: Bono's CoolShades. Insert [[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann Gurren Lagann]] joke here. Also, Edge and his hat(s).
* IntercourseWithYou: "But my heart is where it's always been, my head is somewhere in between"...
** "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" from ''Pop'' is a full-on slow jam, with lyrics ranking among U2's most sultry.
* LighterAndSofter: ''All That You Can't Leave Behind'' sees the band changing from [[DarkerAndEdgier dark, edgy]] Sarcastic-Pop to being genuinely poppy with melancholic, yet positive, tunes like "Beautiful Day".
* ListSong: "Numb" from ''Zooropa''.
* LargeHam: Bono, often. Taken UpToEleven in some of the larger concerts...and [[SerialEscalation up to twelve]]'' on Popmart, which was basically a [[WorldOfHam Stadium Of Ham]].
* LoudnessWar: ''How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'' was guilty of this.
** To an extent, so was ''No Line on the Horizon''.
* LyricalDissonance: "Mofo", for example, staples together an awesome techno track which sounds like it belongs in ''Film/TheMatrix'' with dark lyrics about Bono's dead mother.
* ManOfWealthAndTaste: [=MacPhisto=], a "persona" used by Bono on the Zoo TV tour. He's basically Satan as an aging Vegas crooner.
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: Their PostPunk records in the 80s tended to stay in the 3-4 range, with a few excursions down to a 1 or 2 (''Running To Stand Still'', for example) and a few that reach 5. The excursions on both sides become more common on their later albums, which have songs that can be anywhere from 1 to (arguably) 6.
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: U2 in TheNineties were futuristic funky-techno-dance-Madchester-industrial-alternative-electronic-pop-rock. And it was awesome.
* NewSoundAlbum: Practically their entire career revolves around this.
** It's been intentionally invoked at least twice; ''Achtung Baby'' was recorded with the intention of sounding completely different than ''The Joshua Tree'' and ''All That You Can't Leave Behind'' (and the stripped-down tour that followed it) was meant to be the polar opposite of ''Pop'', bringing back the optimistic, hopeful atmosphere and The Edge's patented soaring guitar work, after having spent a decade writing sarcastic, genre-bending electronic rock where The Edge deliberately distanced himself from his sound and used heavier distortion. (Essentially, you can say that ''All That You Can't Leave Behind'' is [[{{Pun}} more pop]] than ''Pop''.)
* NonAppearingTitle: Definitely applies to a minority of their songs, but there is at least one on every album save ''Achtung Baby'' (which is ironically a non-appearing ''album'' title) and ''All That You Can't Leave Behind''.
** Notably, ''The Unforgettable Fire'' is almost ''entirely'' comprised of these, with "Pride (In the Name of Love)" being the only exception. This was because the lyrics were often heavily improvised in the studio or written on the spot.
* NotChristianRock: Bono does incorporate some themes into his songs, but more of the peace, happiness, and brotherhood kind.
** Christian themes were more explicit in their early albums (Bono, the Edge and Larry all became friends while members of an evangelical students' group in Dublin). Bono continues to be a Christian to this day and in the early 2000's, he visited many churches to address the congregations as part of his campaign for African debt relief. He has consistently spoken of "Christian musicians" in 1st person plural, so they somewhat blur the line.
* OdeToSobriety: "Bad" and "Running To Stand Still" are type 2 lashouts at heroin.
* OminousLatinChanting: This one's [[InvertedTrope inverted]] on "Gloria", where the climactic point in the song features joyous Latin chanting. And it is '''awesome.'''
* PissTakeRap: "Numb".
** Bono closed "Moment of Surrender" with one of these on the 360° Tour.
** "Bullet the Blue Sky"'s last verse, at least up to a point.
* PostPunk: Their early albums such as ''Boy'', ''October'', and ''War'' are this. Later followed by a (partial) genre shift to roots rock on ''The Joshua Tree'', before switching again to AlternativeRock[=/=]AlternativeDance on ''Achtung Baby''.
* PrecisionFStrike: "Wake Up Dead Man" from the ''Pop'' album, and the only mention of the F word in all of their studio recordings.
-->Jesus
-->Jesus help me
-->I'm alone in this world
-->And a '''fucked''' up world it is too
** "Mofo" had one too, but it's barely audible - the song's vocals are rendered [[TheUnintelligible unintelligible]] by the loud techno-rock.
** There's also Bono's infamous "fuck the revolution" speech, delivered during a live performance of Sunday Bloody Sunday at a gig following the IRA bombing of a Remembrance Day parade in Enniskillen.
* ProtestSong: While they're not exactly ''protest'' songs, per se, U2 traditionally puts one pro-peace song in each of their albums. Examples include "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" on ''The Unforgettable Fire'', "Van Diemen's Land" (more like a "traditional" protest song than a few of the others) and "God, Part 2" on ''Rattle and Hum'', "Peace on Earth" (natch) on ''All That You Can't Leave Behind'', "Love And Peace Or Else" (again, natch) on ''How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb'', and, most recently, "Stand Up Comedy" on ''No Line On The Horizon.''
** "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" on ''War'', "Please" on ''Pop''.
** Pretty much all the songs on ''War'' count, really. It was probably titled that way for a reason...
** "Bullet the Blue Sky" and "Mothers of the Disappeared" from ''The Joshua Tree'' are protest songs against the USA's backing of right-wing dictatorships in South America during TheEighties, the former being inspired by the civil war in El Salvador (Bono actually instructed The Edge to "put El Salvador through the amplifier" for the guitar solo) and the latter by the "disappearances" committed by AugustoPinochet in {{Chile}} and the NationalReorganisationProcess in {{Argentina}}.
** From the same album, "Red Hill Mining Town" is an indirect protest song, examining the personal difficulties and collapsed relationships of a mining town in the midst of the UK's 1984-1985 mining strike.
* ReverseCerebusSyndrome: In the wake of ''Rattle and Hum'''s disastrous critical reception, the band dropped the earnest, serious image they'd developed like a hot potato and spent TheNineties reminding people that they had a sense of humor and a working knowledge of satire and irony. Bono did once note that their more RuleOfCool image was meant to distract people from their still-present heavy subject matter:
-->'''Bono''', in 1992: "It's a con, in a way. We call it ''Achtung Baby'', grinning up our sleeves in all the photography. But it's probably the heaviest record we've ever made..."
* RockMeAsmodeus: [=MacPhisto=]. Not as heavy metal-influenced as most appearances of the trope, but definitely an example.
* SentencedToDownUnder: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJYj82ToDXs "Van Diemen's Land,"]] named after the old name for Tasmania, is about the Irish freedom fighters who were transported, and specifically dedicated to the poet and Irish Republican Brotherhood member John Boyle O'Reilly.
* SerialEscalation: After the Zoo TV tour, you wouldn't think that they could go any more over the top, right? Wrong! They came up with Popmart, which was... well... just [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo2t23MiCW8 take a look.]] And they went past ''that'' with their most recent tour, U2 360°, which went over the top of Popmart - literally. As in, the Popmart stage could ''fit under'' the stage for 360°.
* ShoutOut:
** ''Achtung Baby'' is a reference to a line in ''Film/TheProducers'', which engineer Joe O'Herlihy had frequently said while recording. Bono admitted later that the title was chosen on purpose to play up the band's new, more humorous image, stating that "the press would have killed us if we'd called it anything else" and that other working titles like ''Man'' (a CallBack to their debut ''Boy''), ''69'' (obvious), ''Zoo Station'' (the Berlin Zoologischer Garten railway station, which lent its name to the song "Zoo Station" and coincidentally served the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U2_(Berlin) U2 underground line]]), ''Adam'' (a reference to the fact that the inner sleeve includes an image of Adam naked), ''Fear of Women'' (a reference to the darker lyrics) and ''Cruise Down Main Street'' (a reference to the then-ongoing Gulf War), were rejected because they would've been seen as "another pretentious, Big Statement from U2".
** At almost every live show, the band embeds "snippets" into some of their songs - short lyrical or melodic {{Shout Out}}s to other songs. These can be anything from references to Beatles songs to callbacks to more obscure songs in U2's own discography.
** When Bono's run over at the end of the video for "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me", he's reading ''TheScrewtapeLetters''.
*** Live performances of Hold Me Thrill Me (a song off of the Batman Forever soundtrack) on the 360 tour have Bono menacingly asking during the song's intro, "[[Film/TheDarkKnight Why So Serious]]?"
** Not to mention the numerous allusions to Creator/WilliamButlerYeats that the lads chuck into their songs and performances rather frequently. Article on the subject [[http://www.atu2.com/news/connections/yeats/ here]].
** The "sad astronaut" face on the cover of ''Zooropa'' was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooropa apparently]] meant to represent a hoax story about a Soviet cosmonaut who had been left floating in orbit for weeks after [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp the USSR collapsed]], and the back cover includes images of Lenin, Mussolini and Nicolae Ceaușescu.
* SomethingSomethingLeonardBernstein: U2 fans have never managed to agree on what Bono's mumbling at the start of "Last Night on Earth".
* StepUpToTheMicrophone: Beyond his usual backing vocal duties, The Edge has sung lead vocals on "Van Diemen's Land" (from ''Rattle and Hum''), "Numb" (from ''Zooropa'') and "Corpse (These Chains Are Way Too Long)" (from the Passengers album), the first two verses of "Seconds" (from ''War''), and shares lead vocals with Bono on the verses of "Discothèque" (from ''Pop''). Adam Clayton sang lead vocals on "Endless Deep", the B-side to "Sunday Bloody Sunday", and also performed a {{Spoken Word|In Music}} verse on "Your Blue Room" (from the Passengers album), making Larry the only U2 member to never have done lead vocals, although he does sing the occasional backing vocals.
* TakeThat: A classic one at the beginning of ''Rattle and Hum''. Bono introduces U2's cover of "Helter Skelter" by shouting at the audience, "This is a song UsefulNotes/CharlesManson stole from Music/TheBeatles. We're stealing it back!"
* TitleTrack: ''October'', ''Zooropa'', ''No Line on the Horizon'' and ''The Unforgettable Fire'', the only times they've had an actual title track, as opposed to an AlbumTitleDrop.
* WideEyedIdealist: Just look at the opening section up there.
* WithOrWithoutYou: Guess which one of their songs provides an example. Go ahead, guess.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music Videos ]]

* AnimatedMusicVideo: "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" and "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight".
* TheCameo: American football color commentator John Madden in the US video for "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of".
** Creator/WilliamSBurroughs in the video for "Last Night on Earth", which became his last filmed performance as he died only a month after the video was filmed. The video itself ends with a closeup of his eyes.
* ConceptVideo: Quite a few.
* ADayInTheLimelight: The video for "Electrical Storm" is partially an example for Larry. We were [[{{Squee}} delighted]] with this decision.
* {{Fanservice}}: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0adFYuNuns video]] for "Electrical Storm". [[ShirtlessScene Shirtless]] Larry Mullen? Check. Samantha Morton as a hot mermaid? Check.
** If you're into crossdressing, the video for "One" features all four band members dressed as women at one point or another.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: The video for "The Sweetest Thing" is basically one long continuous string of these.
* InactionVideo: "Numb".
* TheOner: "The Sweetest Thing".
* PerformanceVideo: Most of them, many of the nineties ones mixed with SurrealMusicVideo.
* RooftopConcert:
** The band's MusicVideo for "Where The Streets Have No Name" sees the band draw a large crowd on the streets of Los Angeles while performing live on a rooftop. Meanwhile, the LAPD aims to shut them down.
*** Actually, the LAPD did shut them down, and the band stopped the moment the LAPD made it very clear that they didn't have a choice. The video, however, is very carefully edited to make it look like the band defied the police and only began playing ''after'' being told to shut down.
** "All Because of You" is a variant, filmed atop a moving flat bed truck.
* SurrealMusicVideo: Most of their nineties videos have this and PerformanceVideo: "Even Better Than the Real Thing", "The Fly", "Mysterious Ways", "Numb", "Lemon", "Staring at the Sun", "Last Night on Earth", "Please", and so on.
* VideoFullOfFilmClips: "Elevation", remixed for the ''Film/LaraCroftTombRaider'' film, "The Hands That Built America", written for ''GangsOfNewYork'', and "Hold Me, Thrill Me", which is on the soundtrack of ''Film/BatmanForever''.

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