Cheekiness for All the Right Reasons

Cheekiness for All the Right Reasons

Cheekiness for All the Right Reasons

Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen, Jr., Adam Clayton, Paul McGuiness, Neil McCormick, U2 By U2, (HarperCollins Publishers, 2006) approx. 350 pages, photography and rock history, $39.95 U.S./$50.00 Canada (also available in the U.K., price unknown)

An unsolicited, formal review of a U2 book? How cheeky can one get! I hope in this instance to be forgiven. I couldn’t resist.

The book is bulky. It is as much a book of photography as it is the narrative of a 30 year long (and counting) career, so everything about it is big. As big as the band itself. It is coffee-table sized and approximately 350 pages. In other words, this is a lot to handle. Add to that the fact that the pages are all of the glossy sort more suited to the photography than to the text and page background and text color change from one page to the next and you have a book that is physically a real challenge to read. I can assure you; it is well worth it.

The photographs alone are enough. Ranging from familiar iconic shots by Anton Corbijn to never-before-seen family and personal photos, it is true eye candy.

Alongside (and sometimes on top of) these are first person accounts of a long and glorious career. Aided by the comfortably informal interviewing skills of Neil McCormick, the members of U2 and their beloved manager tell their own stories in a conversational, flow-of-thought style as if we were chatting with them in their respective living rooms or enjoying a friendly, relaxed roundtable discussion with them. The tales are as varied as the photographs: personal histories, dramatic moments, the nuts and bolts of songwriting and the music business, touching tragedies, flashes of genius, and often embarrassing stupidity. Some are merely anecdotal, but they are never uninteresting.

If you are a music lover (or a lover of photography), this book is a must-have and must-read. U2 are not just the biggest band in the world today. They are the third most important in music history- behind Elvis Presley and the Beatles, in that order. And this is the book that tells all- to such an extent that it has been lovingly dubbed “the U2 Bible” by their fans.

Which is why I believe this bit of cheekiness may just be forgiven.