10 Major Accomplishments of Bono

Many historians and critics regard Bono a tremendous musical figure as important to music as say Albert Einstein was to physics. Throughout his record-breaking and award-laden musical career as the lead singer of the band U2, Bono has attained some very important feats in not just the music industry but in many other spheres of our society, most famously in human rights activism around the world.

Accomplishments of Bono


Bono accomplishments

Why is Bono so important? What are some of his major contributions to the world of rock music and music in general? Worldhistoryedu.com explores 10 remarkable achievements of Bono – the lead singer of Irish rock band U2.

Formed one of the most successful music bands of all time

Not only did Bono meet his future wife Alison Stewart at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin, Ireland, but he also met future U2 band mates David Evans (“The Edge”), Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton. Initially, the band, which formed around the mid-1970s, played covers of famous songs; however they soon got tired of doing that and began making their own songs.

The band that Bono and his school mates formed was at first called “Feedback”. Then the name was changed to “The Hype”. Following the departure of Dik Evans to Virgin Prunes, the young musicians went on to rename the band, calling it “U2”. And so Bono would go on to lead U2, helping them release hit song after hit song. At the helm of it all was Paul McGuinness, who served as U2’s manager from 1978 to 2013, when he was succeeded by Guy Oseary.

Bono and U2’s meteoric rise to fame came during the very memorable performance at Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985. Some examples of U2’s most successful albums are Achtung Baby (1991), Pop (1997), War (1983), The Joshua Tree (1987), and October (1981).

Did you know: Bono’s U2 band has sold over 156 million albums worldwide?

Impactful songs with social and political themes

Writing almost all the band’s songs, Bono is famed for his songwriting prowess. Due to his deep spirituality, Bono injected religious imagery into many of the songs he wrote. For example, songs on albums like October (1981) and The Joshua (1987) contain elements of religious imagery.

Bono also uses the songs he write for U2 as a means to convey social and political messages aimed at making the world a better place. This point was very evident in U2’s album War (1983) and Rattle and Hum (1988). The album War, which was released on February 28, 1983 and produced by Steve Lillywhite, is most famous for songs like “New Year’s Day” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday”.

Did you know: Bono was such an awful guitar player that his band mates suggested that he instead focuses on being the lead singer of U2?

Bono quotes

A plethora of music awards and international honors

As of 2021, Bono, along with U2, have been the recipient of 22 Grammy Awards. He and his music band have also bagged two Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song for their songs “The Hands That Built America” and “Ordinary Love” in 2003 and 2014 respectively.

For his unrelenting commitment to making the lives of millions of people better, the French government honored Bono with the Legion of Honor (Legion D’Honneur) – France’s highest order of merit – in 2003.

In 2007, Bono was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. The honor was bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II.

An inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Along with his U2 band mates, Bono was inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. The honor was in recognition of Bono’s and U2’s immense contribution to the world of music for over four decades.

Bono has attained lofty heights in the world of entertainment and human rights activism

Fight against human rights violations

There are very few countries in the world today that have not in one way or the other benefited from Bono’s philanthropic efforts and social activism. For example, the 1986 “Conspiracy of Hope” tour, which was organized by Amnesty International USA, gave Bono the opportunity to lend his support in fighting against human rights violations in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Those two central American countries were at the time burdened by political instability and internal strife. The tour, which saw Sting and Bryan Adams perform alongside Bono, raised awareness of the challenges those countries were facing.

Did you know: Owing to U2’s outspoken stance against terrorist attacks perpetuated by the Irish Republican Army (or the Provisional Irish Republican Army), the Irish paramilitary radical group wanted to kidnap Bono?

Activist for debt relief for developing countries

Bono has always been very passionate about causes that help the downtrodden and victims of violence and oppression in developing nations. Since the 1980s, he has set up a number of charity organizations – including RED and ONE Campaign – to tackle very difficult social and political problems in Africa.

For example, Bono was a member of the Drop the Debt campaign that met with numerous world leaders and financial organizations in the late 1990s. The campaign, which was under the Jubilee 2000 coalition, sought to secure international debt cancellation for many of the poorest African countries. Bono had the pleasure of working with diverse artistes and activists such as Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour, record producer Quincy Jones, and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Bono set up a charity organization called DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) in 2002 to attain this particular goal of his. The organization, which received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, called on many developed countries to offer not just economic aid to impoverished countries, but also political support in terms fair trade agreements.

Quotes by Bono of U2

Bono quotes

Extreme poverty and AIDS reduction in Africa

The lead singer of U2 Bono has engaged both the White House and the U.S. Congress, appealing for financial assistance for developing countries in Africa. Much of the aid that he appeals for is aimed at eradicating severe forms of poverty and reducing AIDS in Africa.

Bono and American activist and attorney Bobby Shriver established (RED), an organization that collaborates with global brands and multinationals to pool resources together in order to fight not just AIDS but other diseases like Malaria and Tuberculosis. Those firms that Bono’s RED has partnered with include Microsoft, Nike, Dell, Giorgio Armani, American Express, Apple, etc.

Bono’s the ONE Campaign and humanitarian relief efforts in Africa

Cofounded by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2004, the One Campaign is non-profit organization whose core goal is to wage war against extreme forms of poverty and preventable diseases around the globe. Also known as ONE, this NGO has delivered on many of the goals it set out in the decades that it has operated.

The One Campaign constantly collaborates with other humanitarian organizations – such as Oxfam, Keep a Child Alive, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – to bring long-lasting solutions to major problems facing many African countries.

Bono of U2

In spite of some criticism received from the aid community, Bono has extended a warm and friendly hand to some conservative global leaders. His passion for eradicating some of preventable diseases was so great that he sometimes had to do that in order to secure the necessary funding and political backing for his numerous noble causes. Image: Bono with George W. Bush in 2006; Bono with then-President of Brazil Lula da Silva in 2006; Bono with 44th US President Barack Obama in 2010

Other accomplishments of Bono

In 2008, the Rolling Stone magazine placed Bono at the 32nd spot of the greatest singers of all time.

Bono and fellow songwriter the Edge often appear in the top 100 greatest songwriters of all time.

In its 2005 issue, Time magazine named Bono as one of the Persons of the Year. He shared the honor with fellow philanthropists Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) bestowed upon Bono the Chairman’s Award in 2006.

In September 2007, Bono and his charity organization DATA were honored with a Philadelphia Liberty Medal.

The University of Pennsylvania honored him with a Doctor of Laws degree in 2004.

Bono: Fast Facts and Musical Style

Bono: facts and achievements

Birth Day and Place – May 10, 1960; Dublin, Ireland

Born – Paul David Hewson

Mother – Iris (née Rankin)

Father – Brendan Robert Hewson

Education – Mount Temple Comprehensive School, Clontarf, Dublin; St. Patricks’ grammar school; Glasnevin National School,

Spouse – Ali Stewart (married 1982)

Siblings – Norman

Children – Jordan, Memphis Eve, Elijah Bob, John Abraham

Music Genres – Rock, alternative rock, post-punk

Preferred instruments – guitar and harmonica

Notable Albums (with U2) – War (1983), The Joshua Tree (1987), October (1981)

Famous songs written (with U2): Almost all U2 songs, including “Gloria” (1981), “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983), “The Hands That Built America”, “With or Without You” (1987)

Most famous for – Lead singer for the Irish rock band U2; One of the most renowned human rights activists of the 21st century; Cofounder of ONE Campaign and RED

Height – 5’6” (168 cm)

Other names – Bono Vox

Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead vocalist and guitarist of the rock band Green Day, commenting on Bono’s musical style

Some facts and figures about Bono’s philanthropic efforts

Bono is highly regarded by many in the aid and philanthropic community. Throughout his musical career, he has used his influence and music to promote several noble causes around the globe. Thus he has collaborated with a myriad of influential people, ranging from fields in government, entertainment, the art, sport, to religion. Here’s a list of Bono’s philanthropic accomplishments, including the impact he has made with his numerous social justice activism.

Did you know: The National Journal rates Bono highly, placing him on top of the list of the most politically influential celebrity of all time?

His decision to use his music and reputation to advance social and political causes around the globe was born in the late 1970s. According to Bono, he took this decision after seeing a stage performance by the British comedy group Monty Python in 1979.

Also, his long-term commitment to alleviating extreme poverty and hunger in Africa was shaped by his 1985 trip to Ethiopia. The trip, which he made with his wife Ali Hewson, saw Bono spend two months living with folks in Ajibar, Ethiopia in order to fully make sense of their plight. The east African nation was by then battered by a massive famine.

Bono has collaborated with a number of artistes and activists from the British charity group Band Aid. In 1984, he partnered with Bob Geldof to release the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to support the organization’s honorable causes.

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