Bono: Talented Do-Gooder or Narcissistic Jag-Off?

Bono: Talented Do-Gooder or Narcissistic Jag-Off?
Pro Bono and Con Bono debate the Polarizing Performer
BY PAUL GLEASON AND COURTNEY LAVENDER

The bigger the fame, the bigger the myth.

Whenever a celebrity achieves a level of out-of-this-world fame, that moment in time will invariably be followed by a counter-attack from media, from fans, and from the goddess Popular Culture herself. Almost no superstar who chooses to remain in the public eye can escape the double-barreled salvos of jealousy and nastiness that invariably come flying when one stands at The Peak of Fame.

Often the pendulum swings – from glorification to the garbage heap; from the cinders back to charmed deification; then back to the bargain bins and to the meme of the week. But once in awhile we find a celebrity who remains beloved and belittled – at the very same time. That, friends, is Bono.

bono hewson both sides now feature

There is probably no one in rock music quite as polarizing as Bono. Axl Rose and Courtney Love are already self-parodies – too comical and artistically played-out to be taken seriously, while Michael Jackson’s legacy was spared both the sordid and the silly by his untimely death. Justin Bieber’s got a Capuchin monkey and a few paparazzi hi-jinks to his credit, but he’s still a little unseasoned (or under-talented?) to rise to the celebra-level of Paul David Hewson.

Decade after decade, Bono remains heroic to many, while nauseating to others. What just is it about this guy that gets people so worked up – both so positively and so negatively? Is he the second-coming of Mother Teresa or just a materialistic phony-baloney? Is any of this fair? Better yet, is any of this even real?

We take time out from our usual ground-breaking Both Sides Now topics (Socialism, General Petraeus, grafitti, Rush Limbaugh, intellectual piracy, free speech, hate speech, Jews and Mel Gibson, face-piercing, women golfers, the Patriot Act, and genderless babies) to have a light-hearted look at one of rock and roll’s favorite side-shows: Bono.

For this task we’ve assigned two writers – Paul Gleason and Courtney Lavender – who absolutely love Bono and U2, but can understand why some people just… don’t.

We call this Both Sides Now… Pro Bono and Con Bono!

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HOT PRESS MEETS U2′S ADAM CLAYTON

In a rare interview, U2′s Adam Clayton discuses why battling his own demons has inspired him to help young people with mental health issues – and talks about the upcoming U2 album…


by Stuart Clark

Heads don’t so much turn as spin Exorcist-style 360º as Adam Clayton walks into the Four Seasons Hotel. The Ballsbridge five-star is used to superstar guests – Metallica, Bon Jovi, Slash, Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz among them – but in terms of being recognised and revered in their hometown, U2 are in a different stratosphere to anyone else. Something that, as we’ll discuss later, brings with it its own set of pressures.

The last time we spotted Mr. C at Christmas, he had a near Afro, but today the hair is almost back to regulation U2 bassist length.

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Le message de Bono aux Assises du Développement

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Bono, Joe Cocker and … Herbert Grönemeyer

Singer, songwriter and actor Herbert Grönemeyer is huge in Germany. Will he conquer Britain, asks Neil McCormick .


‘There’s always more to Herbert’s songs than you first hear,’ says Bono, who duets with Herbert Grönemeyer on ‘I Walk’

By Neil McCormick

Herbert Grönemeyer is Germany’s biggest music star. No sniggering at the back. In our Anglo-American culture, Germany occupies its own niche in pop’s deepest circle of hell, where you will find such rare German exports as Boney M, Nena, Milli Vanilli and the cartoonish techno outfit Scooter.

But Grönemeyer is a singer-songwriter of the highest order, a deep lyricist and richly melodic composer with a gruff, grown-up voice and vigorous stage presence, whose thoughtful songs deal with the real stuff of life. At 56, he regularly sells out stadiums, commanding his devoted audience with a lot of energy and humour, and interspersing his own, often darkly intense songs with brash, soulful cover versions. He’s been making albums since 1979, outsold Michael Jackson’s Thriller in Germany in 1984, and made the biggest-selling German album of all time, Mensch, in 2002.

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Music helped save me and U2 bandmates from depression, says Clayton

by LAURA BUTLER

Bassist Adam Clayton has told of how U2 saved him and his bandmates from depression.

Clayton told the Irish Independent that he has experienced the ‘black dog’ creeping in at stages throughout his life, but coped by concentrating on his work and seeking help.

“There’s a lot of it in our industry and it’s covered up with drugs and alcohol. There’s such a high incidence of young musicians who commit suicide or inadvertently die through accidents of some kind,” said the 52-year-old.

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War Child 20: the best of


To celebrate our 20th Anniversary we’ve released an album with Parlophone Records that brings together some of the best tracks from our five albums – including the legendary ‘HELP’ one from 1995 , which raised £1.5million. Subsequent releases have featured the hottest names in music and raised not only funds, but profile, for our vital work.

War Child 20: The Best Of will be released as a digital album only on 18 February.

With all proceeds of the sale coming directly to War Child, the album tracks have been selected to show the diversity and quality of all the artists who have supported us for the last two decades.

To further commemorate our 20th anniversary, long time supporters Muse are giving away a free track to fans. Over six minutes long, the track starts with Muse’s take on the classic ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ before turning into an explosive version of ‘Time Is Running Out’.

Download it here from Wednesday February 13th.

The Tracklist

1. Come Together: Smokin’ Mojo Filters (McCartney, Weller, Gallagher)

2. Lucky: Radiohead

3. Fade Away: Oasis

4. Mourning Air: Portishead

5. Fake The Aroma: Massive Attack

6. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head: Manic Street Preachers

7. Shipbuilding: Suede

8. Miss Sarajevo: Passengers (U2 and Pavarotti)

9. House Of The Rising Sun: Muse

10. Ghost Town: The Prodigy

11. Calico Skies: Paul McCartney

12. Everyone Says Hi (Metro Mix): David Bowie

13. Vietnam: New Order

14. How You See The World No.2: Coldplay

15. Hong Kong: Gorillaz

16. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Keane

17. Transmission: Hot Chip

18. Leopard-Skin-Pill-Box-Hat: Beck

19. Straight To Hell: Lily Allen (ft. Mick Jones)

20. Running To Stand Still: Elbow

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