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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bono

Bono
Dave Hogan, Getty Images
Bono celebrates his 51st birthday today, May 10, and in lieu of baking the U2 singer a cake shaped in the form of sunglasses, we thought we would cook up a random list of interesting facts to satisfy your appetite for the rock superstar. So, with a Larry Mullen Jr. drumroll and a countdown of “uno, dos, tres, catorce,” we present the following list of 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bono:


10

Bono got his nickname from a hearing-aid store.

 
 

As a young teen in Dublin, the artist formerly known as Paul Hewson was a member of the street gang called ‘Lypton Village.’ His buddies started calling him Bono Vox after the neighborhood hearing-aid store Bonavox (latin for ‘good voice’). He’s been known as Bono ever since.

 
9

His mother passed away when he was 14 years old.

 
 

In 1974, Bono’s mother, Iris, suffered a cerebral aneurysm at her own father’s funeral and passed away a few days later. Several U2 songs, including early singles ‘I Will Follow’ and ‘Out of Control,’ are inspired by Bono’s late mom. The experience forged a tight bond with drummer Larry Mullen Jr., who also lost his mother at a young age.

 
8

Bono once interviewed Bob Dylan, just before flubbing the lyrics to ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’

 
 

Prior to Bob Dylan’s concert at Dublin’s Slane Castle in July 1984, Bono was asked to interview Dylan backstage for the magazine Hot Press. After the interview, Dylan invited Bono onstage for ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ and, not knowing the words, the U2 singer made up lyrics as he went along.

 
7

He’s been married for nearly 30 years and has four children.

 
 

Okay, you may already know that Bono and his wife, Ali, have been together for a long time, but do you know the names of their four children? Their two daughters are Jordan, 22, and Memphis Eve, 19, and their two sons are Elijah, 11, and John, almost 10.

 
6

Excuse me, Sir, I mean Mister: Bono is an honorary knight of the British Empire.

 
 

In appreciation of his humanitarian work throughout the world, Bono was named Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2007. However, because he’s not a British citizen, he wasn’t bestowed with the title ‘Sir” before his name.

 
5

Bono: Musician, Humanitarian…Actor?

 
 

Bono has appeared as himself in the films ‘Entropy’ and ‘Bruno,’ as well as an episode of ‘Entourage.’ But he’s also played fictional characters in the Wim Wenders film ‘Million Dollar Hotel’ (which he co-wrote) and the Beatles-music movie ‘Across the Universe.’

 
4

He gave the Class Day speech at Harvard in 2001.

 
 

The U2 singer addressed the graduating class of Harvard University in 2001. In his opening lines, he told the young crowd: "My name is Bono and I’m a rock star. Now, I tell you this not as a boast but as a kind of confession. Because in my view the only thing worse than a rock star is a rock star with a conscience.”

 
3

Try “friending” Bono: He’s a part-owner of Facebook.

 
 

Along with his investment company, Elevation Partners, Bono acquired a 1.5 percent stake in Facebook in 2010. Now, that small percentage is estimated to be worth nearly $1 billion. Prior to the Facebook deal, Bono was named the ‘worst investor in America’ by 24/7 Wall Street for a series of “disastrous investments.”

 
2

He’s the only person to be nominated for a Grammy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and the Nobel Peace Prize.

 
 

In addition to U2′s multiple Grammy nominations and wins, Bono has been nominated for an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Nobel Peace Prize. If his Broadway musical, ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark,’ ever officially opens, he may be looking at a Tony nomination, as well.

 
1

Bono is not a fan of the band name U2.

 
 

Bono once admitted to Larry King that, “I don’t like the name, U2, actually.” The band was originally called Feedback, followed by the Hype. The name U2 was suggested by Steve Averill, who designs the group’s album sleeves. Despite Bono’s dislike for the name, U2 have carved out a pretty nice career over the past 30-plus years.

 

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