Bono — Paul David Hewson famously known as Bono was born in the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin on 10 May 1960. He was raised in Glasnevin with his brother, Norman Robert Hewson (who is eight years older than Bono), by their mother Iris, a Church of Ireland Anglican, and their father Brendan Robert “Bob” Hewson, a Roman Catholic. His parents initially agreed that the first child would be raised Anglican and the second Catholic. Although Bono was the second child, he also attended Church of Ireland services with his mother and brother. As a child Paul David Hewson was a Intelligent, outspoken and thoughtful boy whose early experiences did much to shape his later life as one of the most important figures in Irish history.
Bono grew up in the Northside suburb of Glasnevin. His home was a typical three-room house, with the smallest room his bedroom. He went to the local primary Glasnevin National School. Bono was 14 when his mother died on 10 September 1974 after suffering a cerebral aneurysm at her father’s funeral.
Bono attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School, a multi denominational school in Clontarf. During his childhood and adolescence, Bono and his friends were part of a surrealist street gang called “Lypton Village”. Bono met one of his closest friends, Guggi, real name Derek Rowan, in Lypton Village. The gang had a ritual of nickname-giving. Bono had several names: first, he was “Steinvic von Huyseman”, then just “Huyseman”, followed by “Houseman”, “Bon Murray”, “Bono Vox of O’Connell Street”, and finally just “Bono”.
”Bono Vox” is an alteration of Bonavox, a Latin phrase which translates to “good voice.” He was nicknamed “Bono Vox” by his friend Gavin Friday. Initially, Bono disliked the name. However, when he learned it means “good voice”, he accepted it. Hewson has been known as “Bono” since the late seventies. Although he uses Bono as his stage name, close family and friends also refer to him as Bono, including his wife and fellow band members.
Bono is married to Alison Hewson. Their relationship began in 1975 and the couple were married on 21 August 1982 in a Church of Ireland (Anglican). The couple have four children: daughters Jordan and Memphis Eve and sons Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q and John Abraham. Bono lives in Killiney in south County Dublin with his family and shares a villa in Èze in the Alpes-Maritimes in the south of France with The Edge. Bono is almost never seen in public without sunglasses. In 2002, he was listed as one of the 100 Greatest Britons in a poll conducted among the general public, despite the fact that he is Irish.
On 25 September 1976, Bono, David Evans (“The Edge”), his brother Dik, and Adam Clayton responded to an advertisement on a bulletin board at Mount Temple posted by fellow student Larry Mullen Jr. to form a rock band. The band had occasional jam sessions in which they did covers of other bands. Tired of long guitar solos and hard rock, Bono wanted to play Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys songs. Unfortunately the band could not play covers very well, so they started writing their own songs. The band went by the name “Feedback” for a few months, before changing to “The Hype”. After Dik Evans left the group to join another local band, the Virgin Prunes, the remaining four officially changed the name from “The Hype” to “U2”. Initially Bono sang, played guitar, and wrote the band’s songs.
Bono writes the lyrics for almost all U2 songs, which are often rich in social and political themes. His lyrics frequently allude to a religious connection or meaning, During the band’s early years, Bono was known for his rebellious tone which turned to political anger and rage. U2’s sound and focus dramatically changed with their 1991 album, Achtung Baby. Bono’s lyrics became more personal, inspired by experiences related to the private lives of the members of the band. Right from the beginning of his time with U2, Bono cultivated a reputation for being able to connect physically and emotionally with fans to an astonishing degree during the band’s performances. The most well-known example of Bono’s on-stage theatrics was during Live Aid in 1985, when mid-way through “Bad” he leapt off the stage and over a security barricade to the floor of the stadium, pulling a girl from the crowd to dance with her. These exploits have sealed Bono’s reputation as one of the all-time great performers, as well as U2’s reputation as a band with a heartfelt and profound love for its audience.
But his on-stage antics were not always received positively. At the end of the ‘80s, Bono had become something akin to a Messiah figure, with his often politically-charged, on-stage sermonizing causing U2 to suffer a considerable amount of ridicule from detractors, who accused them of earnestness, pomposity and egotism. Their decision to relocate to Berlin in order to re-tool their sound and image produced some startling changes in Bono’s public persona.
In 1992, Bono bought and hired people to refurbish Dublin’s two-star 70-bedroom Clarence Hotel with The Edge, and converted it into a five-star 49-bedroom hotel. The Edge and Bono have recorded several songs together, exclusive of the band. They have also been working on penning the score for the 2011 rock musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Bono has long been involved in a variety of causes outside of U2. His work as an activist, due largely to his Christian beliefs, began in earnest when, inspired by Live Aid, he traveled to Ethiopia to work in a feeding camp with his wife Ali and the charity World Vision. Bono also went to Central America in 1985 to see the damage wrought by US-backed operations in Nicaragua and El Salvador, after which he and U2 toured as part of the Amnesty International benefit tour, A Conspiracy of Hope.
Bono has become one of the world’s best-known philanthropic performers. In the 1990s, he campaigned with Greenpeace against the nuclear power plant Sellafield in the north of England, and drew attention to the conflict raging in Bosnia by collaborating with the US journalist Bill Carter during the Zoo TV tour to create the award-winning documentary, Miss Sarajevo. Bono has rallied numerous actors, artists and campaigners to the cause of ending Third World debt in his role as spokesman for the Jubilee 2000 project. U2 also performed in the Band Aid and Live Aid projects, organised by Bob Geldof. In 1984, Bono sang on the Band Aid single “Do They Know it’s Christmas?/Feed the World” (a role that was reprised on the 2004 Band Aid 20 single of the same name). Geldof and Bono later collaborated to organise the 2005 Live 8 project, where U2 also performed.
The organisation DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) was established in 2002 by Bono and Bobby Shriver, along with activists from the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt Campaign. DATA aims to eradicate poverty and HIV/AIDS in Africa. DATA encourages Americans to contact senators and other legislators and elected officials to voice their opinions.
In early 2005, Bono, his wife Ali Hewson, and New York-based Irish fashion designer Rogan Gregory launched the socially conscious line EDUN in an attempt to shift the focus in Africa from aid to trade. EDUN’s goal is to use factories in Africa, South America, and India that provide fair wages to workers and practice good business ethics to create a business model that will encourage investment in developing nations.
In 2004, he was awarded the Pablo Neruda International Presidential Medal of Honour from the Government of Chile. Time Magazine named Bono one of the “100 Most Influential People” in its May 2004 special issue, and again in the 2006 Time 100 special issue. In 2005, Time named Bono a Person of the Year along with Bill and Melinda Gates. Also in 2005, he received the Portuguese Order of Liberty for his humanitarian work. That year Bono was also among the first three recipients of the TED Prize, which grants each winner “A wish to change the world”. Bono made three wishes,the first two related to the ONE campaign and the third that every hospital, health clinic and school in Ethiopia should be connected to the Internet. In 2007, Bono was named in the UK’s New Years Honours List as an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was formally granted knighthood on 29 March 2007 in a ceremony at the residence of British Ambassador David Reddaway in Dublin, Ireland.
Bono also received the NAACP Image Award’s Chairman’s Award in 2007. On 24 May 2007, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia announced that Bono would receive the Philadelphia Liberty Medal on 27 September 2007 for his work to end world poverty and hunger. Bono donated the $100,000 prize to the organisation. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala accepted the award for the Washington-based Debt AIDS Trade Africa. In 2005 he recorded a version of Don’t Give Up with Alicia Keys, with proceeds going to Keep a Child Alive. In November 2007, Bono was honoured by NBC Nightly News as someone “making a difference” in the world. On 11 December 2008, Bono was given the annual Man of Peace prize, awarded by several Nobel Peace Prize laureates in Paris, France.
Product Red is another initiative begun by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Bobby Shriver has been announced as the CEO of Product Red, whilst Bono is currently an active public spokesperson for the brand. Product Red is a brand that is licensed to partner companies, such as American Express, Apple, Converse, Motorola, Microsoft, Dell, The Gap, and Giorgio Armani. Each company creates a product with the Product Red logo and a percentage of the profits from the sale of these labelled products will go to the Global Fund.