My birthday is tomorrow, and this month marks my first anniversary on the @U2 staff. So I've been thinking about what other special events occur in April. I share a birthday with the great William Shakespeare, and April is the month we file our tax returns in the United States. The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed 353 miles above Earth in April 1990, and the Library of Congress was established in Washington, D.C., in April 1800. In April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine caused a meltdown, spreading a radioactive cloud that eventually covered most of Europe. Both William Randolph Hearst and Japan's Emperor Hirohito were born in April. And April is National Poetry Month.
After discovering so many wonderful factoids, I decided to find out what cool U2-themed happenings fall into April and came across a few fun tidbits:
The band recorded their first demo tape at Keystone Studios in Dublin and Bill Graham wrote his first interview with U2 in Hot Press. That was the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with Graham, who, according to U2, A Diary (written by our own Matt McGee), introduced the band to Paul McGuinness, who would later become their manager.
March - May 1981
U2 launched their first major tour of the United States, playing almost 60 dates across the country, largely in clubs. They had just released Boy.
The Unforgettable Fire album's second and final single, "The Unforgettable Fire," was released. It reached No. 6 on the UK singles chart and No. 8 on the Dutch singles chart, but did not perform as well in the U.S. This is a clip of the 2009 Rose Bowl performance.
U2 had a huge year in 1987, as we all know. This is just part of what happened in April 1987:
U2 opened The Joshua Tree tour in Tempe, Ariz.
The Joshua Tree reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, where it remained for nine weeks.
Following a concert in Las Vegas, the band filmed the video clip for "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" in the neon-lit streets.
U2 became the fourth rock band to be featured on the cover of Time magazine, which declared U2 "Rock's Hottest Ticket."
"When Love Comes to Town" was the third single released from the Rattle and Hum album.
Tapes from the band's recording sessions in Berlin were stolen. The bootleg recordings later became known as the Salome: The (Achtung Baby) Outtakes.
ZOO TV: Live from Sydney was released in Europe and Australia.
The PopMart tour opened in Las Vegas. "Staring at the Sun" was the second single released from Pop.
U2 was featured in an episode of The Simpsons called "Trash of the Titans." Homer Simpson joined U2 on stage at a PopMart concert in Springfield.
U2's Elevation tour stopped in Houston. I was there!
Apple Computer launched the iTunes Music Store. Bono appeared on a video praising the service. One of the store's early exclusives was a U2 EP with three tracks. It was U2's first exclusive arrangement with Apple.
The Vertigo tour was in full swing and made stops in California, Arizona and Colorado.
A duet of "One" with Mary J. Blige was released as a single. This is one of my favorite versions of the song. Music fans in Britain voted the line "One life, with each other, sisters, brothers" (from "One") as their favorite lyric, according to a VH1 poll.
I hope there will be a major new U2-related milestone before next April – such as a new album. I'd love to get that as an early birthday present!
When I read that U2 is reportedly working with songwriter Carl Falk, I wanted to learn more about him and how this could affect U2's work. His credits include work with Nicki Minaj, Taio Cruz, One Direction and Nick Carter. My personal observation is that different influences often have a positive impact on the band's work. They like to seek input and ideas, collaborating with numerous artists and producers. As always, it will be interesting to see how the process evolves and what kind of music comes next!
Have a great week!
(c) Meyers/@U2, 2012