Bono: “I’m Just So Embarrassed” About Old U2 Songs

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

In a recent interview promoting the movie Sing 2, for which he wrote a couple of songs, Bono shed some honesty about his historic band and its past.

Speaking on the Awards Chatter podcast, Bono says he’s “embarrassed” by his band’s older catalog and that he hates his band’s name. He added that he only “recently” learned to sing.

“I really don’t” like the name, Bono said. “But I was late into some kind of dyslexia. I didn’t realize that The Beatles was a bad pun either.”

Bono added, “In our head, it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic—as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name.” However, he added, “Paul McGuinness, our first manager, did say, ‘Look, it’s a great name, it’s going to look good on a T-shirt, a letter and a number.’”

Nor does he like or want to talk about the band’s older catalog—which has to be a surprise to fans and even the band’s harshest critics.

“I’ve been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I’ve been the color of, as we say in Dublin, scarlet. I’m just so embarrassed,” Bono said. “The band sounds incredible,” but the issue comes down to his “Irish macho” voice, which to him always sounds “strained.”

“The one that I can listen to the most is [the song] ‘Miss Sarajevo’ with Luciano Pavarotti,” Bono said. “Genuine, most of the other ones make me cringe a little bit. Although ‘Vertigo’ probably is the one I’m proudest of. It’s the way it connects with the crowd.”

“The big discovery for me,” Bono went on, “was listening to The Ramones and hearing the beautiful kind of sound of Joey Ramone and realizing I didn’t have to be that rock and roll singer.”

He said, “I only became a singer like recently, maybe it hasn’t happened yet for some people’s ears and I understand that.”

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