Having achieved continued success both commercially and artistically for more than two decades, U2 is arguably one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Their uninhibited socially-aware lyrics, combined with a distinct sound and talent put them in a category all their own. .
In Dublin, 1976, Larry Mullen posted a note in his high school searching for musicians to form a new band. Larry and his drums were joined by Adam Clayton on bass; Paul Hewson, later nicknamed "Bono" on vocals; and Dave Evans, later nicknamed "The Edge" on guitar. The foursome initially named themselves "Feedback", but quickly changed to "Hype". In March of 1978, they had their first big break at a talent show in Limerick, Ireland. Having just changed their name again, to U2, the band won the prize of around USD 750, and a chance to record their first demo. .
After teaming up with a manager, U2 released their first single, an Irish-only release called U2:3 that topped Irish charts in September 1979. Their first show out of Ireland came in December when they traveled to London. However, London did not host the loyal fan base that Ireland did, and gaining attention from both fans and critics was difficult. .
U2 signed a contract with Island Records in March 1980. The first album released from this contract was "Boy" in October of 1980. The lyrics touched on controversial topics such as faith, spirituality, and death-subjects that were not often approached by the other bands of this era. U2's first tour outside the UK, throughout Europe and the U.S. helped them broaden their fan base, and put "Boy" onto U.S. album charts. .
Their next album, called "October", sold relatively well but did not produce any hit singles. However 1983's release "War" changed all that. While most bands of that time were hampering out music on synthesizers and drums, U2 rebelled, featuring aggressive lyrics and music style. Bono addressed the tension in Northern Ireland with "Sunday, Bloody Sunday".