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U2 formed in 1976 when Larry Mullen Jr., the band's future drummer, posted a note on his school bulletin board. Forty-seven years, seventy singles, and fourteen studio albums later, U2 has become one of the most successful rock bands of all time, still producing music and touring the world with the same line-up since the 1970s.

This book guides the reader through U2's every release, from their first album Boy (1980) to their latest single "Atomic City" (2023), and examines the band's rise to success, documenting awards and chart positions. Further, by drawing on a host of interviews with band members and collaborating musicians, U2: Song by Song explores the inspiration behind each track, the impact they had on fans and wider society at the time of release, and their legacy today.


Easter, 2021. A year into the pandemic, I got an email asking if I would be interested in writing a book about U2's songs as part of the Song by Song series at Fonthill. The project would look at every song in their career, roughly sorted by album. Other artists covered in the series included Madonna, Rush, Abba, and others. The full collection of titles can be found on FontHill's site.

The book covers everything from Boy to the release of "Atomic City", U2's last single in 2023. I finished writing as Bono appeared on TV at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Christmas Eve. And as he performed "Running to Stand Still" I wrote the last entry in the book. I had saved my favourite song for last. Yes, you guessed it, "Running to Stand Still." It was the right song to finish on. (In August 2023 I was able to make a few tweaks due to delays in publishing, allowing "Atomic City" to be added.)

I spent hours going through old interviews with the band and finding old interviews I didn't know existed resulting in listening to hundreds of hours of hearing U2 speak. I got to speak to a few of the people who were there beside the band over the years. I had a lot of help from other fans as well. The time you took to listen and offer advice as I bounced ideas around was invaluable.

It's a little sketch of each song. There's a full discography of solo projects at the back as well to cover off the non-U2 stuff as well. Want to know Taylor Swift's favourite U2 song? What song did Elbow play as a young band when they were first learning to play? Who called "One" the greatest song ever? And for those who are familiar with U2Songs.com, you'll see the influence of the discography as we look at the different versions of songs and where to find them, the awards that each song have taken home, a look at the videos that accompanied the songs, the single artwork, live performances and more. And there's photos throughout of items from my collection, as well as some of my favourite photos I've taken of the band over the years.

The book is out now in the UK, published in the UK, and sold worldwide. Copies should start shipping in North America in early April. #SongBySong

(C) 2024. Book published by Fonthill Media as part of the Song by Song series.