With Bono’s soulful, grandiose cry, The Edge’s intricately textured guitar parts, and the steady propulsion of bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr., U2’s sound is instantly recognizable and much-imitated. Inspired equally by the Ramones’ punk thrust and Bob Dylan’s insightful punditry, the four Irishmen went from Dublin dives to the Top Forty by applying Brian Eno’s ambient concepts to three-chord transcendence. They went on to influence the global political agenda while continually tweaking their sound.

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Photo by Anton Corbijn

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