John Jobling – U2: The Definitive Biography

Spanning the early 70’s until 2014, British music journalist John Jobling takes his readers along U2’s career for U2: The Definitive Biography. He could use first-hand interviews with record label scouts, politicians, music critics, and childhood friends. The result is unauthorized, which doesn’t surprise me. The band members are portrayed in all their fallibility as humans. Several episodes were new and busted myths. My personal love for U2’s music started in the early 80’s leading up to Joshua Tree, minimized during the Zooropa and Pop 90’s, and regained momentum with All You Can’t Leave Behind, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. During the last decade, U2 kept us all waiting for new albums like No Line on the Horizons, Songs of Ascent, and Songs of Experience. Yes, I was happy that Bono, Edge, and Larry were three evangelical boys not ashamed of the gospel in the 80’s. I knew of some of Adam’s escapades. In this ‘definitive’ (U2 is still around!) biography all these puzzle pieces fall into place.

Jobling explains a lot on the band origins, inspiration and genesis of U2 songs and the recording process, the business adventures of all band members, and Bono’s activism for the One Campaign, DATA, RED, etc. The author also reveals the commercial flops, the power struggles within the band and its management. He follows the money, is open about the tax evasion via the Netherlands, and the successes and failures of side projects, whether it’s a next partner, home, hotel, movie, or musical production. Ticket price inflation, the ups and downs at Island Records, the deals with LiveNation and Ticketmaster, and the disadvantages of being a public person are included. Your overall impression or conclusion after reading may be finetuned, if not completely turned upside down, thanks to this exhaustive in-depth dig into the lives of the Irish rock and roll band U2.

About the author
John Jobling is a British film and music journalist. He is the former music editor of the UK lifestyle website Mansized and has also contributed to DotMusic, Total Film, and Playstation Sports, among others. Over the years, he has interviewed such personalities as Michelle Pfeiffer, Gillian Anderson and Karen O.

I received a free review copy of the ebook version via Netgalley in exchange for my personal and unbiased