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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Copyright 2013 U2 France /

David Gray, Bono’s Sunglasses and Me

Neil McCormick is running a gig for the small charity Moxafrica – that’s if he doesn’t have a nervous breakdown first.

Neil McCormick wearing Bono's sunglasses in 2003
Neil McCormick wearing Bono’s sunglasses in 2003 Photo: Martin Pope

By Neil McCormick

On Wednesday March 6, I am presenting a charity concert at the Islington Assembly Hall in London, featuring David Gray, The Magic Numbers, Gabriella Cilmi, David Ford, Bo Bruce and a few other musical friends and associates. Please buy a ticket and prevent an out-of-depth rock critic’s nervous breakdown.

I was not cut out for the life of a promoter. Indeed, I’m not sure anyone is. I was in bands for long enough in my younger years to know how fretful staging a gig can be, involving a huge advance effort in getting musicians, equipment and venue ready, with no guarantee that anyone will turn up and make it worthwhile. “Why do you think all promoters look permanently stressed?” a band manager sympathetically said to me, before adding, “You’re looking a bit peeky yourself, mate.”

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Copyright 2013 U2 France /

And that’s where It All Began

36 years ago, on September 25th 1976, all four U2 members gathered together for the first time – some of them even met at that time. In order to celebrate what is certainly the most important day in the band history, let’s have Larry tell us how it all started.

Adam, Larry, Bono et The Edge in the late 70s.

Posted by Florian (Thank you for the transcript)

authors : U2 and Neil McCormick

«So I put the now legendary notice up. I think the wording went something like: “drummer seeks musicians to form band.” I just thought of it as a bit of fun, it was never anything else. No big ideas, no expectations, really.

After the notice went up, people asked if I knew “Yer man Paul Hewson, he plays guitar.”, I said I didn’t but it tourned out everybody knew who he was and what he did and who he was going out with, so it didn”t take long for me to discover who I was going to have to deal with.

Edge and Dick (TN : The Edge’s brother) were basically like one person, they were into inventing things and they played a yellow guitar that they had made together, so it took a while to work out which of them would be in the band.

I knew of Adam, he used to wear a long sheepskin Afghan coat, he had tinted glasses and he smoked. Some people were saying to me : “You know that weirdo in the Afghan coat? He has a bass.” It didn’t matter if he could play it. Adam was in.

So on Saturday 25 September 1976, this odd group of people convened in my kitchen in Artane. And that’s where it started.»

Copyright 2012 U2 France /

These lines are taken from the book “U2 by U2” (page 27). In order to read the rest of the story, go to your local book store!