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It all began in 1976 when Larry Mullen pinned a 'musicians wanted' ad to the notice board at Dublin's Temple Mount School: Drummer seeks musicians to form band. 'So on Saturday 25th September 1976, ' recalls Larry. 'This odd group of people convened in my kitchen in Artane. And that's where it started.'
Adam Clayton had discovered rock'n'roll as a thirteen year old, buying his first acoustic guitar and then talking his parents into buying him a bass guitar. 'It just sounded good to me. Deep and fat and satisfying.'
From the beginning, U2 were marked out by their passion. "A band before we could play" was how Bono put it in early interviews. Edge remembers reading UK music papers NME and Sounds every week and then hearing about this 'wild kid called Paul Hewson.'
The four teenagers, who initially called themselves 'Feedback', rehearsed in Larry's Dublin kitchen, Bono on vocals, The Edge on guitar, Adam Clayton and Larry making up the rhythm section of bass and drums. Inspired by punk, but insulated from the standoffish cool by the Irish Sea, Feedback had become 'The Hype' and then 'U2' and were soon building a local reputation based on the passion of their performances.
'I suppose a watershed moment would have been seeing The Jam on Top of the Pops, 'remembers `Edge. 'And realizing that actually not knowing how to play was not a problem... music was more about energy and trying to say something and not necessarily about great musicianship.'
After a brief period being managed by Adam, they had met up with Paul McGuinness but an early Irish release in 1979, the 'U23' EP on CBS, proved a one-off. They would wait until the following year to sign a long-term deal with Chris Blackwell's Island Records. 'I was amazed at the quality and talent and ambition of these four musicians and yet we couldn't get a record deal.'recalls McGuinness. 'Everyone in the world passed on U2 before we finally found a home at Island Records.'