‘Bono’s eyesight is deteriorating,’ says John Lennon’s son – News

Julian Lennon says the U2 singer’s eye condition is worsening


Julian Lennon, son of The Beatles’ John Lennon, has revealed that Bono’s eyesight is deteriorating.

The U2 frontman has admitted in the past that he requires his trademark sunglasses because he suffers from an eye condition which makes him over-sensitive to light, but now his friend Julian Lennon has confirmed the condition is worsening.

He told the Irish Daily Star: “Bono actually has a condition with his eyes. I don’t know the exact issue but the brightness of the sun hurts them and it’s a deteriorating issue.”

However, Lennon admitted that he thinks the ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ singer is lucky to suffer from a condition that can easily be made into a trademark style.

“It’s part of his image,” he said. “In some senses it was lucky but not really of course. Maybe it’s part of his process now and without the image he can’t be Bono.”

U2’s Bono recently called Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ the “most perfect song in the world”. The frontman made the claim in a new book by Alan Light, called The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, And The Unlikely Ascent Of ‘Hallelujah’.

© IPC MEDIA 1996-2013, All rights reserved

Bono and U2’s search for God – News

The Washington Times,

WASHINGTON, January 1, 2013 — Humans have praised God through many means throughout our history. Science has ventured tentatively into these waters, but God remains a mystery, and some would argue that this is the way that it is meant to be.

My views on this are well documented: I believe that science has a role to play in our spiritual development – as Jacob Bronkowski said, knowledge is our destiny, and science’s raison d’etre is surely to obtain that knowledge. Science and Religion don’t have to be in opposition, they are sides of the one coin, and ultimately, if we foster the advance of both of them, their description of that coin must converge.

But because it is the new year, and perhaps a time to eschew controversy in favor of community, let me talk about music. Except in the most puritanical religions, music has always been one way that we have agreed we could seek to commune with God, and share our experience of that seeking. Gospel and hymns are the traditional forms of praise, but pop music is also gathering its own rich tradition.

To the surprise of many, U2, arguably the world’s most popular rock band, is not afraid to release songs which have a spiritual emphasis. They wear their Christianity on their sleeves if you know where to look.

I have included some excerpts below from two of their earlier songs which are particularly clear in their message.

They touch on our need for God, and their popularity seems to suggest that they have a universal appeal, irrespective of your own particular religious belief.

Released in 1981, Gloria is one of U2’s very first singles. Not to be confused with Thems’ (with Van Morrison at the helm) ode to carnal love of the same name, U2’s Gloria is a barely disguised hymn to God. Here is an excerpt from it:

“I try to sing this song

I, I try to stand up

But I can’t find my feet

I try, I try to speak up

But only in you

I’m complete

Gloria, Gloria

Oh Lord, loosen my lips

I try to sing this song

I, I try to get in

But I can’t find the door

The door is open

You’re standing there

You let me in”

A superficial glance at the lyrics could confuse it with a love song. Perhaps Bono is simply singing to a girl named Gloria? Undoubtedly that meaning exists in the song, but the real meaning is revealed by the chorus “Gloria in te Domine / Gloria exultate” translates to “Glory in you, Lord / Glory, exalt” which is a reference to Psalm 30:2. The song also contains references to Colossians 2:9-10 (“Only in You I’m complete”) and James 5:7-9 (“The door is open / You’re standing there”).

Similar feelings are expressed in the song 40, from their 1983 album, War. The song is called 40 after Psalm 40. Indeed the chorus is loosely based on the first two verses of Psalm 40:3, which reads “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…”

In it, Bono refers to an inability to “find my feet”, to “stand up” or to “speak up”, which is an acknowledgement of our fallen state and a cry for help to God:

“I waited patiently for the Lord

He inclined and heard my cry

He brought me up out of the pit

Out of the miry clay

I will sing, sing a new song

How long to sing this song?

He set my feet upon a rock

And made my footsteps firm

Many will see

Many will see and fear”

Again U2 are making it clear how important it is to defer to the Lord – it is only “He” that will bring humanity “up out of the pit” or out of the darkness, and out into the light. It is only in God that we can find a firm foundation in our lives.

The question of “How long to sing this song” is one we are probably all asking ourselves here at the beginning of the new year. Ever since Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden humanity has stumbled in the darkness, trying to one day find our way home; and it seems that the further we have come, the more lost we have become – and so it would be easy to lose heart.

Today humanity is facing greater challenges than it ever has in its history, and it can seem overwhelming. ‘How long?’ asks Bono. Who can truly say? All we can do is have faith, and just put one foot in front of the other for a bit longer – and if we do that we will yet come out the other side.

My only caveat is that with the strength of our faith we continue forward rather than retreat – though retreat might seem like the safer way to get home. Though going forward seems fraught with uncertainty and danger, it is only in going forward that as a species we will fulfill the potential that God has given us. As a community, as a people, as a species, let us not hide our light under a bushel.

Surely a wonderful future awaits us if we but hold the course – a beautiful day no less. Happy new year!

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Bono busks again on Grafton Street Dublin, Christmas 2012 – News

Glen Hansard along for the song on a night of nights

It has become an annual ritual, the great Bono busk in Grafton Street on Christmas Eve. This year the U2 front man was accompanied by Glen Hansard of “Once” fame and singer Lisa Hannigan.

It looks like a few thousand revellers who had gathered all day to see the great man joined them and Grafton Street was a throng of happy faces.

Bono did not disappoint, belting out ‘Desire’ among others. The fans joined in and it was another Bono night to remember.

Here’s footage of Bono and Glen Hansard busking on Grafton Street:

© Copyright 2012 IrishCentral LLC. All rights reserved.

Bono’s Beautiful Daughter Quietly Stuns In NYC Appearance – News


By Wendy Geller, Stop The Presses!

U2 frontman Bono may be one of the world’s highest-profile musicians, but you wouldn’t know it from the low profile his family tends to take. Case in point: The rocker’s 21-year-old daughter, Eve Hewson, who’s been building an acting career in an understated, non-splashy fashion. Not too many people are familiar with Hewson’s stunning looks–have you seen her before?

The beautiful blue-eyed brunette–the second-oldest of Bono and wife Ali Hewson’s four children–stunned onlookers in New York at a screening of her new film, This Must Be The Place, which co-stars Sean Penn and Frances McDormand.

The movie competed at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and will go into limited release domestically on November 2. Hewson plays the teenaged Mary, a friend to Penn’s portrayal of an aging Dublin rock star seeking revenge for his father’s torment at the hands of a Nazi guard.

The Irish-born Hewson, who lives in Brooklyn, made her feature-length acting debut in the 2008 drama The 27 Club. She also features prominently in Irish band the Script’s music video “For The First Time.”

Copyright © 2012 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

U2’s Bono and wife Ali bonded with Matthew McConaughey in Ibiza – News


by Irish Central

Bono and his wife Ali usually spend their summer vacays in the south of France, but this year they’ve also added Ibiza to their itinerary. While there they met up with Matthew McConaughey and his pregnant wife Camila, as you can see from our picture, with Bono taking plenty of protection from the scorching sun with his hat and black shirt.

Here’s no surprise – Simon Cowell would love to have Bono appear on his reality singing competition The X Factor. Bosses at American Idol and all the other shows feel the same.

“Bono is one of the top choices each year when shake-ups on these shows come around. He has repeatedly shrugged off talk of appearing as a judge as he hasn’t the time and it’s not really up his street at the moment,” a source told The Irish Sun.


“As far as producers are concerned, who better in the world to judge you than someone considered a kind of God of the music world?”

© Copyright 2012 IrishCentral LLC. All rights reserved.

U2 bass player’s housekeeper gets 7 years for stealing $3.6 million – News


Fox News/AP

A former household aide to U2 bassist Adam Clayton received a seven-year prison sentence Friday after an Irish jury unanimously found her guilty of embezzling more than $3.6 million from the musician.

Carol Hawkins, 48, offered no response to the sentence as prison guards led her out of Dublin Criminal Court.

Hawkins had been free on bail after being found guilty last week of 181 counts of writing checks from Clayton’s bank account for her own use from 2004 to 2008. Records showed she used the money to buy designer clothing, 22 thoroughbred horses, a car, university education for her two children and first-class flights.

Judge Patrick McCartan said in his ruling that Hawkins deserved a severe sentence because she had demonstrated no remorse, falsely tried to pin blame for her grandiose spending on the often-absent Clayton, and could attempt similar offenses again if not jailed.

“Nothing, frankly, could explain away the scale of this dishonesty other than the greed in pursuit of a lavish lifestyle that was no responsibility of Mr. Clayton’s,” the judge said.

Dismissing her claims that she hadn’t understood that what she was doing was wrong, the judge said, “These were crimes rooted in greed and nothing else. Whether she was a fool or clever person really matters very little.”

McCartan also ordered Hawkins to surrender the profits from a sale of a New York City apartment to Clayton to help reimburse him for his losses. The potential amount wasn’t specified in court. Her defense attorney, Ken Fogarty, said she didn’t have money hidden away overseas and would do all she could to repay the $3.6 million.

Clayton, 52, wasn’t present in court to see his longtime domestic assistant sent to prison.

During the trial, Hawkins had claimed that Clayton either authorized her expenditures or that she had paid him back by using her own money to pay his bills.

But Clayton testified he’d known nothing about Hawkins’ four-year spending spree and had given her access to his bank accounts purely so she could pay bills related to his Georgian mansion, Danesmoate, in south Dublin.

During the three-week trial, a Dublin travel agent testified that Hawkins booked one flight for her husband to Miami that cost euro19,285.08 ($24,420) and another for herself to London and Cincinnati, Ohio, that cost euro16,139.66 ($20,438).

Clayton testified he was stunned to discover that Hawkins spent euro434,000 ($550,000) on acquiring 22 racehorses, saying he had no interest in horses or gambling.

Clayton said he first met Hawkins in 1992 when she and her husband were managing a Caribbean island hotel. He said he recruited her to keep the fridge full, pay household bills and look after the place while he was traveling. He paid her a euro48,000 ($61,000) annual salary and let Hawkins and her then-husband live in the house rent-free.

Hawkins worked for him for nearly 17 years, initially as a maid and cook, until he discovered her spending spree in 2008.

© 2012 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

New photo exhibition puts a baby face on Bono and U2, documents gritty origins in 1970s Dublin – News

CORRECTION Ireland People U2.JPEG-0a355.jpg

By Associated Press

DUBLIN — In the beginning there was Bono. And what a baby face he had.

Photographs documenting the gritty beginnings of U2 in the smoky pubs and clubs of 1970s Dublin are being unveiled Thursday at an exhibition in the band’s home city. Much of the exhibition by photographer Patrick Brocklebank has never been seen before.

Brocklebank’s black-and-white images capture the teenage Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen in 1978 and 1979 gigs, their vibrant hairdos and fashion missteps, and their clowning around in impromptu shoots and scruffy nighttime hangouts.

At the time, fellow teenager Brocklebank recalls he thought U2 might just be the one local act to reach the big time — not because they sounded better than their rivals, but because they were harder-working.

“I actually preferred a few of the other Dublin bands at the time, the Virgin Prunes and the Blades,” Brocklebank said. “But the U2 people really stood out because they were organized. They knew what they wanted to achieve, even then.

“And of course Bono was never meek or mild. He was the ideal frontman,” he said. “Sometimes in the pub after a gig, you would hear Bono before you saw him. He always had a forceful personality that set him apart from the crowd.”

U2 manager Paul McGuinness is launching the exhibition Thursday night at The Little Museum of Dublin, a townhouse whose walls are filled, floor to ceiling, with eclectic memorabilia of Ireland’s turbulent 20th century. The 32-photo show will be on display through Sept. 2, and Brocklebank also is selling original prints of 10 images through the museum’s Web site.

Brocklebank was shooting for the Irish music magazine Hot Press in 1978 when he attended several of U2’s first Dublin gigs and became their occasional roadie. His first photo on Sept. 9, 1978, is of a muscle-shirted Bono, mike in hand, performing as the opening act for English punk rockers The Stranglers in front of a foul crowd of hard-core punks. U2 was paid 50 Irish pounds (about $80) for the gig.

The Stranglers’ pre-set equipment took up most of the stage, leaving U2 only one claustrophobic corner. Brocklebank recalled that fans, reflecting the punk crudities of the day, spat and tossed lit cigarettes at them throughout their set. Afterward, he said, Bono confronted The Stranglers in their dressing room about the shoddy treatment.

Barely a week later, Brocklebank took an iconic photo of U2 after another gig: the four boys posing backstage, two with fake guns in hand. Later that night, he took the first known photo of the band with their brand-new manager, McGuinness, over pints at Dublin’s long-closed Granary Bar.

The band’s humble beginnings take pride of place in that photo. Mullen, the drummer who founded the band by posting a recruitment ad on his high school’s bulletin board, can be seen holding up U2’s first award: First place in a talent competition in Limerick the previous St. Patrick’s Day, grand prize 500 Irish pounds — sufficient finance for the band to cut its first demo tape.

Brocklebank also shot publicity photos in February 1979 before U2’s first tour of Britain. A sequence of 12 images shows the band donning a range of poses — messing with fire extinguishers, pretending to be interviewed on TV, climbing atop air vents — inside the corridors and classrooms of Trinity College Dublin.

Formed in 1976, the band first performed under the name Feedback, then The Hype, before settling on U2 in March 1978. Since 1980 the band has recorded 12 albums, sold more than 150 million records, won 22 Grammys and become one of the highest-grossing live acts in history.


If You Go…

LITTLE MUSEUM OF DUBLIN: 15 St. Stephen’s Green, near Dawson Street, http://www.littlemuseum.ie/ . Open daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Exhibit of early photos of U2 through Sept. 2. Adults, 5 euros (about $6.50), children under 10, free (children under 16 free on weekends).

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

U2 singer Bono: Hope springs eternal in Jerusalem – News


By Jennifer Lipman, The Jewish Chronicle

The U2 frontman Bono described Jerusalem as a “great city” in a note left at his hotel after a visit to Israel earlier this month.

The Irish singer was spotted at a Jaffa restaurant last week, but was in the country on a private visit and did not perform.

However, he did leave an artistic legacy, writing a short poem in the guest book of the historic King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

The poem, published on gossip website Buzz Feed, noted that “in Jerusalem, hope springs eternal”.

Bono wrote: “Hope is like a faithful dog, sometimes she runs ahead of me to check the future, to sniff it out and then I call to her: Hope, Hope, come here, and she comes to me.

“I pet her, she eats out of my hand and sometimes she stays behind, near some other hope maybe to sniff out whatever was.

“Then I call her my Despair. I call out to her. Here, my little Despair, come here and she comes and snuggles up, and again I call her Hope.”

He signed his comment by thanking the hotel for giving him a “great room” in a “great city”.

© 2012 The Jewish Chronicle Limited

In the name of love: Symphony orchestra to show off versatility with U2 covers – News


Written by Kendra Meinert, Green Bay Press-Gazette

In a perfect world, The Edge would surprise everyone and sit in on Saturday’s “An Evening of Irish Rock” at the Weidner Center.

But since not even a whole lot of St. Patty’s Day luck is likely to make that happen, Jeans ‘n Classics is betting on something they have that Bono doesn’t to pull off a retrospective of U2’s biggest hits: the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra.

The symphonic rock outfit out of Canada will bring a five-piece band and two singers to the stage to join the local orchestra in celebrating the legacy of Irish music — from Thin Lizzy to Van Morrison to an entire set of U2’s music arranged by Jeans ‘n Classic founder and guitarist Peter Brennan.

“If you think of U2 and the massive amount of guitar sound and overdubs and effects and treatments that go on, I learned years ago when we did (Led) Zeppelin or Queen that orchestras just eat that up,” said the London-born Brennan. “The symphonic wall of sound is a wonderful thing to have interpret some of the rock walls of sound, particularly with the way they came out of the studio.

“The U2 stuff just has enough of a hint of the Celtic nature to it, in terms of some of the rhythms in particular, that you can really get a little bit carried away and go a little bit more Celtic. The percussion section has a wonderful time.”

While the mosaic of U2’s music was a gift for Brennan to work within, tackling U2 isn’t for sissies – especially The Edge’s legendary guitar work.

“He’s just one guitar player doing so many parts and trying to create so much sound. … All of that delay and effect and repetition that goes on. My job was to try to capture that orchestrally speaking. You’ve got some very busy string work and upper woodwind work sometimes to try and recreate what had been a studio effect.”

Jeans ‘n Classics, which has 30 rotating musicians who fan out to play with symphonies in shows that feature the music of Michael Jackson, Elton John, Prince and a host of others, will bring two guitarists for the Green Bay concert. But Brennan jokes that “ideally, it takes about 15” to equal The Edge.

“But we’ve got the whole orchestra, so between the orchestra and two guitar players and the keyboard player, we manage to pull it off.”

This is the second time Jeans ‘n Classics has joined forces with GBSO. Last year, they performed The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” in its entirety to rave reviews.

“Based on the reaction we got from our audience in attendance, we decided it was a no-brainer to re-engage them for this season,” said Michael Stefiuk, GBSO executive director. “It allows us to showcase the symphony in a completely different light, showing that we’re really a versatile instrument.”

While a concert with “Vertigo” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” might not necessarily appeal to classical music purists, Stefiuk says “our intention is to appeal to audiences who might not otherwise think of attending an orchestra concert.”

And then, of course, hook them.

Brennan has seen not only a much greater acceptance of symphony and rock pairings, but also a hunger for it, since he launched Jeans ‘n Classics in 1996. In those early days, both orchestra and band found sharing the same stage intimidating.

“Here you are in front of a big ensemble and they’re all looking at you like you’ve got two heads,” he said. “There are people who spent their entire lives wanting to perfect Mozart. ‘What’s all this Rolling Stones? I don’t want to do this.”’

But as time has gone on, musicians and audiences have embraced bringing together two musical worlds, no matter how unlikely they might seem on paper.

“I think audiences that come and appreciate what we do have been let down a little bit by pop music in the last 20 years. It hasn’t spoken to them the way you may say it had in the ’80s or the ’70s or going way back into the ’60s. So that always helps, because they’re getting a classic pop or classic rock fix,” Brennan said.

“But also the people who make up the orchestras now are a different animal than when we first started. You have people who grew up on pop music who also happen to really, really embrace classical music. They seem to be as much at home playing Beethoven and Stravinsky as they are doing a recording session playing John Williams … and now we’re going to play Led Zeppelin.”

There’s really no rock music that an orchestra can’t play, Brennan said. It’s just a matter of “learning to dance together.” He and his fellow musicians often come up with new shows while killing time in airports, such as “It Came From the Jersey Shore,” featuring the music of New Jersey luminaries Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Frankie Valli. Another with Earth, Wind & Fire, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago is “a brass player’s dream.” One of his current favorites is “Space Odyssey: The Symphonic Journey” with The Moody Blues, Electric Light Orchestra, Procol Harum and Peter Gabriel.

“It’s a bit of dark horse, and yet when we do perform it, the orchestras just go nuts for it as do the crowds, because it’s a showpiece for the orchestra,” he said.

It’s a tricky balancing act taking beloved pop and rock music and striking the right tone when composing the arrangements for a symphony.

“(These) songs spoke volumes to people, so I have to be very, very respectful of the artists we’re covering and not butcher their material or disguise it or make it Muzak-y. Keep all those things that made it work for people,” he said. “The flip of that being, these people are now coming out to hear their orchestra with us perform that music, so I very much want to make the orchestra front and center with the action. It’s always that really, really nice balance. There’s moments in the U2 show where that orchestra is just screaming. Its wonderful.”

Brennan hopes diehard U2 fans whose curiosity gets the better of them come away from the concert impressed.

“I hope they appreciate what we try to do musically, to have U2 music take on that different face. But at the same time, I hope we haven’t disappointed them by not being honest or true to their band. I hope they come away going, ‘Yeah, I really dug it.’ Because it isn’t a Muzak treatment. There is a rock band on stage. Listen to those fiddles go! Listen to how high those French horns go in ‘With or Without You.”’

Copyright © 2012 www.greenbaypressgazette.com. All rights reserved.