Monday, December 14, 2009

Bono and the Boys in the Band

Have you ever wondered why Sir Paul David Hewson, KBE, is better known as Bono?  And why the group with which he performs is called U2, and not simply Paul Hewson’s Band?  Well, if so, wonder no more.

Hewson, born and raised in Dublin, was a member of a street gang whose custom was to confer nicknames on each other.  At first Hewson was given a name taken from a hearing aid store in Dublin—Bono Vox of O’Connell Street— which is a mouthful, especially for a nickname, so it was shortened to Bono  (pronounced to rhyme with guano, which is pronounced to rhyme with Bono.)  Bono Vox is a pseudo-Latin phrase meaning “good voice.”
As for the band’s name, that subject is rife with controversy.  Its supposed origins include the American spy plane that crashed in the Soviet Union in 1960,  an alleged Irish unemployment form number, the classroom number of the band members when they were in school,  a Berlin railway line, a pun on the words “you too,” and a name suggested arbitrarily by a friend for its ambiguity and chosen from a list because it was the name the band members disliked the least.

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou has chosen these lines from his current scribblings as those he dislikes the least, which is not to say he doesn’t dislike them quite a bit.
Yoo-hoo, you two,
What’s this to-do due to?           
Are you two new to U2?
Well, they are new to you, too.

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