7 Things We Learned About Bono From His 'Rolling Stone' Interview

December 28, 2017
Bono of U2

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U2 frontman Bono recently spoke with Rolling Stone, and it’s an interview of epic proportions. The lengthy piece reveals much about the singer, covering the band’s latest album, Songs of Experience, as well as life (and near-death experiences), activism, love, the band, and the music industry of today.

The story was fascinating, to say the least. Here are seven things we learned about Bono from reading it:


7. He’s shocked that Bruce Springsteen’s 2007 song “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” isn’t well-known by fans. He calls it the “most insightful song about aging.”

6. He’ll know Songs of Experience is successful when its songs become famous. And he’ll know a song is famous if, when played live, fans know it and stay for it rather than using that performance as a bathroom break. Which ones does he think will be most famous? “You’re the Best Thing About Me” and “Get Out of Your Own Way” were the ones he rattled off right away. But then he said it could be “Love is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way.” Or “Red Flag Day.” Or “Summer of Love.” Or “The Showman.” So it could be any song, really.

5. His son Elijah claims that a “rock & roll revolution” is on the horizon. It seemed like Bono agreed with him, saying rock “will return.” But he did say that he thinks music has gotten “very girly” and that hip-hop provides the only outlet in music for young men to release anger. So there’s that.

 4. His favorite Songs of Experience lyric came from the mouth of producer Jimmy Iovine. One time Bono playfully asked Jimmy if he was feeling insecure, and Iovine responded saying he had the right amount of low self-esteem to get him where he needed to be. The line can be found in the second verse of “The Showman.”

3. Bob Dylan taught him that in the most serious of times, humor is essential. And so Bono channeled his inner Dylan when writing the "Landlady" line about being unable to relate to starving poets because he had someone to pay the rent for him when he was broke. The humor and ability to remain humble make it a less-intense love song to his wife, Ali.

2. Paul McCartney inspired U2 to get into formal songwriting. When Bono and The Edge asked Paul how he and the band came up with all those Beatles chords, Paul explained that they had to do “posh” weddings if they wanted to get good gigs, so they learned Gershwin and the like. Bono and Edge took note and have since tried to be more formal about their songwriting.

1. He had a near-death experience during the recording of Songs of Experience, but he refused to talk about it aside from referring to it cryptically as an “extinction event.” (It sounds like it was a health scare, but we can’t say for sure.)

You can read the full, 10,000-word piece here.