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At 62, tireless activist and U2 singer Bono serves up his life story in a frank, lively and lyrical memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story. In 40 chapters, each named after a U2 song and accompanied by Bono’s drawings, he shares intimate tales of loved ones and bandmates, celebrity anecdotes and true confessions.
Here are 10 takeaways.
How Bono got his name
Born Paul David Hewson, he was nicknamed Bono Vox of O'Connell by best friend Derek Rowen, after Dublin's Bonovox hearing-aid shop. "Previously I had been Steinvich von Heisen, and I was grateful when that phase passed." Also, before the band was named U2, it was almost called The Flying Tigers.
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He was a bit of a bad boy
At age 12 he and his friends threw dog poop into their Spanish teacher’s lunchbox: “Some of it might have gone into her hair, and that was very bad.” But the result was very good: He was encouraged to move on to a less repressive school, "remarkable for its time in conservative Ireland. ... You were encouraged to be yourself, to be creative, to wear your own clothes. And there were girls. Also wearing their own clothes.”
He was a child chess champ
His grandfather taught him to play chess when he was around 8. “I thought he was letting me win, but eventually I noticed he wasn’t.” He beat grownups in chess matches. “To be sitting there at age 10, annoying the face off people five times your age, chasing them around a chessboard. That was a whole other order of fun.“
The impact of his mother Iris's death
His mother Iris suffered a brain aneurysm at her father’s funeral when Bono was 10. He and his brother and father didn't talk about it. “We were three Irish men, and we avoided the pain that we knew would come from thinking and speaking about her. Three men used to shouting at the television now shouting at one another. We live in rage and melancholy, in mystery and melodrama.”
He fell for his wife, Ali Hewson, when he was just a kid
They first kissed a few months after his mom died, but didn’t go out seriously until the week he joined the band that would become U2, and married in 1982 when he was 22. “Nothing would ever be the same.” They’ve been together ever since.