Bono admits he finds it “excruciating” to watch U2’s performance at Live Aid in 1985 – all because he was having a “bad hair day.”
Despite all the good work done that day, the singer can’t forget the mullet he displayed in front of an estimated 1.5 billion people.
“A gigantic moment in the life of U2. In the life of so many musicians,” he writes in his upcoming memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (via The Guardian). “A transformation in how to think about pop music being of practical help in the world. For the record, I don’t think pop music has any obligation to be any more help than a three-minute rush of pure joy, an unexpected kiss of melody, a sung and swallowed capsule of truth-telling. Sweet- or sour-coated.”
Marveling at the scale of the festival, he writes, “Never before had there been a gathering quite like Live Aid, raising money to support Ethiopians in another famine. A global audience, a stage on two continents, and an unprecedented superstar lineup that would ensure 16 hours of high ratings.”
Bono hails Bob Geldof for his role as mouthpiece of the campaign, calling his fellow Irishman a “genius of vocabulary and communication” and adding, “When I have occasionally tried to follow in the footsteps of his invective, I’ve usually ended up sounding childishly rebellious and inarticulate. A runt student at the foot of a colossus.”
As for U2’s actual performance, Bono laments, “Influential though it was in the arc of our band, I confess that I find it excruciating to watch. It’s a little humbling that during one of the greatest moments of your life, you’re having a bad hair day.
“Now, some people would say that I’ve had a bad hair life, but when I am forced to look at footage of U2 playing Live Aid, there is only one thing that I can see. The mullet. All thoughts of altruism and of righteous anger, all the right reasons that we were there, all these flee my mind, and all I see is the ultimate bad hair day.”
Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story hits shelves worldwide on Nov. 1.
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U2 don’t inspire weak reactions in people. There are passionate U2 fans, and passionate U2 haters, and very little in between.