- 03 Nov 20
Christy Dignam shares his reflections on U2's legacy, as part of our 'Voices on U2' series.
When I was about 17 I saw U2 and the Virgin Prunes in a local school, St. Brigid’s. During the set, Bono announced, “Our next song is a Boomtown Rats song!” The crowd cheered as the Rats were huge then. So Bono goes, “You cheer when we play a U2 song, we’re not going to play the Rats song!” I thought, “This ducker is in Finglas, he has balls!” and I’ve followed them ever since.
Musically they’re one of the most important bands for 30 odd years, although they – inadvertently – made it difficult for bands in Ireland, as record companies were looking for the ‘new U2’, so we couldn’t use any musical parts that they used for fear of being U2 part 2!
I’ve listened to Boy recently and in its rawness and naivety you can hear the emergence of something new and special.
I’ve always said the hardest thing in a band is keeping the members from killing each other and U2 have done it at the top for four decades with no scandal. That’s why they’re special – you can see the love for each other.
A band writes for its audience and U2 do that with grace and aplomb. Everything they do they do with class – and like Bowie before them, they’ve changed with the times. That’s why they’re still around touring as one of the biggest grossing bands in the world. I hope I don’t sound like a fanboy, but for an Irish band to achieve what they’ve achieved makes me proud!
With two anniversaries rolled into one, 2020 is an important moment for U2 – marking 40 years since their extraordinary debut album Boy, and 20 years since their marvellously resonant All That You Can’t Leave Behind. To celebrate, we released the Hot Press U2: 80-00-20 Special – out now!