U2 documentaries on the BBC… again!

What is it with the BBC and U2?

When the last U2 album came out they had a whole week of programming dedicated to them, that didn’t stop the single from limping into the bottom end of the charts and the album being met with a shrug of the shoulders,

On Sunday night BBC’s ‘Imagine’ has a documentary on the making of U2’s ‘Achtung Baby’ in Berlin. The album was made in 1990 with the backdrop of the turmoil of the collapse of communism and end of the Berlin and the film is making much of this. Talk of band in turmoil going to the city. Its the usual stuff, historic cultural moment, a time when everything changed and, oh the collapse of the eastern bloc in there as well.

It’s exactly this sort of huffing and puffing that makes U2 such an awkward band to feel any love for. Unlike the Beatles who were hugely influential and whose history mirrors the sixties, unlike the Clash and punk which changed so much, U2 changed nothing, they sold millions of records, wrote the odd good song and always seemed to want to mesh themselves in with the times. N 1990 they went to Berlin to record an album, it was an ok record that nicked lots of bits of the Roses and Mondays (bands that really connected with people) and some indie dance like andy Wetherall’s supreme remix of My Bloody Valentine and reworked them through committee into a new U2 sound.

It was certainly better than their po-faced appropriation of American blues, it was even fun in parts and gave the band a new lease of life but was it a key album? Was it the music that reflected Berlin at the time? Was it the key cutting edge record of it’s time? nope. It was a well observed take on better, younger groups and sold millions in an exercise of good marketing…

The documentary already sounds full of a gravitas and seriousity that does a disservice to the people that stood up against the grey faced ogres that had stomped on the people full of years, I dearly hope they don’t make U2 out to be rock n roll che Guevaras who flew in to save everybody…

The documentary is followed by another U2 advert, I mean film, one that shows their gig in Glastonbury this year. The gig was a bit of a stiff and a disappointment to many, the band were caught frozen in the spotlight and seemed out of place in a way that Coldplay, a band I don’t really listen to, didn’t in a way that the Coldplay performance didn’t. Where Coldplay seemed to be having the time of their lives U2 were grimly hanging on.

I wonder if they will show the tax protest in the audience at Glastonbury, when protestors mounted a demo against the U2 tax situation.The endless rumours of the band who call for decreasing world debt having their taz affairs shifted from Ireland to Holland….the protestors were thrown out of the festival in a very un Glastonbury kind of way and U2 have still not answered the allegations…avoiding the issue like the skilled political operators they have become, if the tax rumor is dirty talk then please say, I would rather believe U2 were the good guys who stood for good things and not a big corporate music organization and not the scurrilous talk but that rumor just won’t go away.

Previous articleBotanist – in conversation…
Next articleFlaming Lips to release a 24hr song… encased in a human skull!!
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Like the banks, U2 just got too big, too arrogant and too unaccountable. Expect special coalition government consideration to protect U2’s right to inflict the same laboured riff and Bongo’s faux caring gibberish onto the gullible millions of its brainwashed followers. If only Kim Il Sung did rock’n’roll… (If only U2 did rock’n’roll)…

  2. Brilliant article John, sums up the whole U2 corporation……

    Bono- “Everytime I click my fingers, a child in Africa dies!”

    Audience member- “Well stop clicking your fuckin fingers then!”

  3. Ignorance is obviously bliss for you man. Music is all down to taste and U2 clearly aren’t your taste but are the taste of millions of others. Your entitled to your opinion but that’s all it is YOUR opinion. As a lover of music I enjoy what I enjoy but don’t feel the need to slag off what I may not enjoy. Get over yourself , just who the he’ll do you think you are. Keep up the negativity you so obviously seem to revel in. Sad stuff but hey each to their own.

    Music fan.

  4. Achtung baby was great. Like any band that becomes huge, they eventually become crap – stones, oasis, the who. I am a lifelong U2 fan – my first gig was U2 in 1985, but even I grimace when the Beeb start brown nosing them this badly. I blame U2’s management/PR people. After watching the documentary, I still think the band are great individual Guys, but Bono just needs to stop listening to his PR people and himself.

  5. if u2 piss you off so much why listen to them or indeed write about them typical jump on the bandwagon hater.

    as for the whole tax evasion bollocks do your research on it and i mean proper research not the crap the u2/Bono haters are churning out and i’ll also say this that anyone given the chance would avoid paying tax if they could anyone else that says different is a liar.

    so as i say if u2 get on your nerves so much why bother about them?????

  6. Basher, these pathetic music blog “journos” could show their musical cred by giving us a review of the new Big Pink album, mention the return of At The Drive In or review Mike Patton’s incredible headline set this past weekend at the Sydney Festival, but it’s way easier to look cool with the kids by regurgitating the saddest, oldest and pretty incorrect cliche’s about Bono and U2. Why does the Beeb show U2 doco’s? Because they’re the most popular band in the universe. Now all you awesome indie kids can keep pretending that no one ever actually liked U2. The rest of us will be totally content in not being hipster wankers. Anyways did you hear about the time Bono carved a super yacht out of a small African boy, and sailed his magic hat to the moon to avoid giving his accountant AIDS? If only he’d stop clicking those fat little fingers….

  7. httpss://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-edge-u2-tax-letter-20110711,0,1894714.story. Also some research generally helps if you want people to respect you as a writer. U2 have kept silent on the tax issue? A simple google search would have easily shown you that they in fact have made comment

  8. Mick only one thing i scan say to this and it is……OUCH…….good job brother and i hope the writer actually does research next time he rags on anyone.

  9. I think this blog os actually spot on and I’m not even a U2 hater, just someone, like most people, who feels uncomfortable about their piggy backing of good causes.
    The lack of humour of U2 fans aside it’s their touchiness that is legendary.
    There is something that really grates about multi millionaire bands doing charity gigs, millionaires against poverty really has an awkward ring about it don’t you think?
    U2 are the worst offenders when it comes to this. With the amount of money Bono has in his bank account he could easily pay off most of the third world debts!
    Instead he runs round the world trying to look like a saint, cosying up to politicians who somehow think he is in a cool band instead of the palest imitation of the great bands of his generation.
    With a bit of simple research I think U2’s touchy ‘fans’ or people who work for the band filling up the internet with their hokey defence of the band can find the real truth about these multi millionaires and their shameless use of charity for their own ends.

    • Again someone who has not done proper reesearch…..

      Bill out of all the singers/bands who lined up for Live Aid and Live8 how many of them are still “active” on the cause they were performing for???….very few i think you’ll find and the whole “well they don’t publicise it” bullshit does not wash they were quick enough to play at the 2 aforementioned gigs Bono being one of the very few from there that still activly campaign….and so what if he has millions in the bank he’s worked for it or don’t you get that????…..to me folk like the OP smack of failed musician and want someone to take their failure out on and go for an easy target like Bono/u2.

      i am a u2 fan yes however there are looads of u2 fans out there that wiill telll you i hate the whole Bono preaching/saving the world shit while at a u2 gig i don’t wanna hear that i wanaa hear the music.

      however when folk blog about stuff they don’t know about and have not done proper research then yeah im gonna defend the band and as for lack of sense of humour you got that well wrong there a shotload of u2 fans out there that are funny as hell and have a great sense of humour maybe it is you that lacks one……ironic???…..maybe.

  10. Ah Bill, the “touchy fans” arguement can be applied to the positive side of any debate no?

    Nice use of the standard “I’m not a U2 hater, buuutttt….”. About as cliche as pointing out Bono’s bank balance before going tomato faced over the idea he’s also an activist.

    This article asked the question “Why would the BBC show a U2 doco and thier headline set at Glasto” to which us touchy fans replied “because they’re popular, duh”

    It’s interesting to note the similarities between U2-haters and hard-core athiests, and I would have the same response to both mind-numbingly boring groups…

    No-one actually gives a toss if you don’t believe in Bono.

  11. excellent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

  12. Excellent blog you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  13. I wanted to send you this bit of word in order to say thanks again regarding the pretty information you’ve featured here. It’s quite wonderfully generous of people like you to provide unreservedly what exactly some people might have advertised as an e book to help make some dough for themselves, precisely considering that you could possibly have tried it in the event you wanted. These thoughts additionally acted to become a fantastic way to be certain that other people have similar interest like my very own to see many more related to this issue. I know there are several more fun opportunities in the future for people who scan your blog.

  14. Quran (4:104) – “And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain…”

  15. I think this internet site has some really superb information for everyone. “The individual will always be a minority. If a man is in a minority of one, we lock him up.” by Oliver Wendell Holmes. read more httpss://playstationcardgenerator.weebly.com

  16. It is in reality a great and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  17. I will right away grab your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  18. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here