Bono Cringes At Most Of His Vocals On U2 Songs And He’s Not Keen On The Band’s Name Either

Irish rock legends U2 have released 14 albums now, most of which have topped the charts around the world and yielded popular singles. That said, many thinkpieces (like this one, this one, and this one) have been devoted to exploring why the band is so polarizing or even hated. Heck, there are even key elements of the band that Bono himself isn’t in love with, like his own singing and the name “U2.”

In a recent interview on the Awards Chatter podcast (as The Times notes), Bono said that most of his recorded vocal performances on U2 songs make him cringe:

“The one that I can listen to the most is ‘Miss Sarajevo’ with Luciano Pavarotti [from Original Soundtracks 1, a 1995 album by U2 and Brian Eno’s side project Passengers]. Genuine, most of the other ones make me cringe a little bit. Although ‘Vertigo’ probably is the one I’m proudest of. It’s the way it connects with the crowd. I’ve been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I’ve been the color of, as we say in Dublin, scarlet. I’m just so embarrassed.”

He added, “I do think U2 pushes out the boat on embarrassment quite a lot and maybe that’s the place to be as an artist, you know, right at the edge of your level of embarrassment. And the lyrics as well, I feel that on Boy and other albums, it was sketched out very unique and original material, but I don’t think I filled in the details, and I look back and I go, ‘God,'”

As for the name “U2,” Bono said, “I still don’t [like it]. I really don’t. But I was late into some kind of dyslexia. I didn’t realize that The Beatles was a bad pun either. In our head it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic — as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name. Paul McGuinness, our first manager, did say, ‘Look, it’s a great name, it’s going to look good on a T-shirt, a letter and a number.'”

For the record, this isn’t the first time Bono has said he not big on “U2” as a band name. In 2002, for example, Larry King asked how the group band came up with the name and Bono said in reply, “Oh, I don’t like the name, U2, actually.”