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Bono Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of Bono, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter of the band U2.


Birth date: May 10, 1960

Birth place: Dublin, Ireland

Birth name: Paul David Hewson

Father: Brendan Robert Hewson, post office worker

Mother: Iris Elizabeth (Rankin) Hewson

Marriage: Ali (Stewart) Hewson (August 21, 1982-present)

Children: John Abraham, Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q, Memphis Eve and Jordan

Other Facts

His nickname “Bono Vox” means “good voice.”

Has won 22 Grammy Awards and been nominated 48 times.

Nominated for two Academy Awards.

Is co-founder of ONE and (RED), global charitable organizations fighting extreme poverty and AIDS.


1976 Joins a band in high school that later becomes U2.

March 1979 CBS Ireland signs the band and releases a three-song EP entitled “U2-3.”

March 1980 Island Records signs U2 and releases their debut album, “Boy.”

1981 First tour of the United States.

1984 Bono takes part in the recording of the charity single, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

July 13, 1985 U2 plays in London as part of the day’s Live Aid concerts.

1987 The album, “The Joshua Tree,” is released and becomes a top-ten hit.

March 2, 1988 U2 wins its first two Grammy awards for “The Joshua Tree,” one for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and one for Album of the Year.

February 22, 1989 U2 wins two Grammy awards: Best Performance Music Video for “Where the Streets Have No Name” and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Desire.”

1992 – Bono, U2’s guitarist the Edge and other investors buy The Clarence, a Dublin hotel built in 1852 and restore it.

February 24, 1993 U2 wins a Grammy award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Achtung Baby.”

March 1, 1994 U2 wins a Grammy award for Best Alternative Music Album for “Zooropa.”

March 1, 1995 U2 wins a Grammy award for Best Music Video, Long Form for “Zoo TV – Live From Sydney.”

May 1997 U2 meets with US President Bill Clinton in the White House.

1998 U2 appears on “The Simpsons.”

September 23, 1999 Meets with Pope John Paul II to discuss Third World debt. The Pope puts on Bono’s trademark wrap-around sunglasses during their meeting.

February 21, 2001 U2 wins three Grammy awards for “Beautiful Day”: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.

February 3, 2002 U2 plays the Super Bowl half-time show.

February 24, 2002 Bono appears on the cover of Time magazine.

February 27, 2002 U2 wins four Grammy awards: Best Rock Album for “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Elevation,” Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” Record of the Year for “Walk On.”

March 14, 2002 Bono meets with US President George W. Bush to discuss poverty and AIDS in Africa.

May 20-May 30, 2002 Tours Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and Ethiopia with US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, to promote economic development in Africa.

May 17, 2004 – Bono delivers the commencement address at the University of Pennsylvania.

June 2004 – Joins the US private equity firm Elevation Partners as a managing director. The firm specializes in the media, entertainment and technology industries.

October 12, 2004 U2 appears in an Apple Computer iPod commercial, singing their song, “Vertigo.”

December 2004 A limited edition red and black U2 iPod pre-loaded with the album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” is released.

2005 Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, launch the EDUN clothing line.

February 13, 2005 U2 wins three Grammy awards for “Vertigo”: Best Short Form Music Video, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

March 14, 2005 U2 is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

July 2, 2005 Performs at the Live 8 concert in London.

October 19, 2005 – US President Bush and Bono meet to discuss African policy and global AIDS.

December 18, 2005 Named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” along with Melinda Gates and Bill Gates.

February 8, 2006 U2 wins five Grammy awards: Best Rock Album and Album of the Year for “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”; Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Song of the Year for “Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own”; Best Rock Song for “City of Blinding Lights.”

May 16, 2006 As a part of his Project RED initiative, Bono guest edits UK newspaper The Independent for a day, filling the paper with stories about HIV/AIDS in Africa as well as global warming and poverty.

March 29, 2007 Named Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at a ceremony in Dublin. His knighthood does not grant him the title of “Sir” before his name since he is Irish and not a British citizen.

January 18, 2009 – U2 performs at an inaugural celebration for US President Barack Obama.

2009 Bono and the Edge write the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

April 30, 2010 – Bono meets with Obama to discuss the role of technology in Africa’s development.

May 21, 2010 Bono has emergency back surgery for an injury received while preparing for a new U2 tour.

April 8, 2011 U2’s “360” tour becomes the highest grossing tour of all time, surpassing the $558 million gross mark set by the Rolling Stones “Bigger Bang” tour.

June 2011 Bono and U2 are subjected to protests from the Irish organization Art Uncut for paying fewer taxes in Ireland by moving part of their business to the Netherlands.

November 16, 2014 – Bono suffers extensive injuries in a bicycle collision in Central Park. According to New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Bono broke his arm in six spots, fractured his eye socket and also his shoulder blade — the latter in three places.

January 2015 – Posting on U2’s website, Bono writes that he is unsure whether he will ever play guitar again since he suffered extensive injuries to his arm and elbow in a bicycle accident November 2014.

April 12, 2016 – Bono testifies at a hearing on “The Causes and Consequences of Violent Extremism and the Role of Foreign Assistance” before the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. His remarks highlight the critical development and financial aid necessary to adequately manage the global refugee crisis and violent extremism. “Aid in 2016 is not charity—it is national security,” he says.

March 17, 2020 – Bono shares “Let Your Love Be Known,” a song inspired by the millions of people stuck in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.

March 25, 2021 – Bono voices a character in the animated series “Pandemica.” The series, launched by ONE, aims to bring attention to the importance of the Covid-19 vaccines.

November 1, 2022 – Bono’s new memoir, “Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story,” is published.

December 4, 2022 – Receives Kennedy Center Honors with the other members of U2.

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