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U2 – The Clear Highlight of the Grammy Awards

8th February 2006

Despite the fact that tonight’s Grammy Awards were too long, too glitzy, too excessive, and too self-absorbed (come on — it’s only music!), I was pleased to see Irish rock band U2 clean up with a total of five awards.

Their latest album, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Buy from or won for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album; “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” won Song of the Year and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal; and “City of Blinding Lights” was named Best Rock Song. (Steve Lillywhite also picked up the Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, in part for his work on How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb) U2 is Grammy’s most honored band.

In many ways U2 came full circle with How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Like virtually all of U2′s albums, I love every song on this CD. I also think that it is among U2′s most explicitly spiritual albums. According to various interviews, the “bomb” in the name of the album refers to his father, Bob, and that the songs are mostly about Bono’s efforts to deal with his dad’s death to cancer in 2001. The award winning song “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” is a moving tribute to Bono’s father. In his acceptance speech tonight, Bono remarked, “People say this is an odd title for an album… I was talking about my father Bob. He was the atomic bomb in question and set off a chain reaction in me. I want to thank my father for giving me the voice and a bit of attitude to use it.” My own father died from cancer almost five years ago and I have found the song (and other U2 songs, such as “Walk On”) quite meaningful as I have dealt with my dad’s death.

U2′s previous Grammy Awards are as follows:

  • 2002: Record of the Year (“Walk On”), Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (“Stuck In a Moment”), Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (“Elevation”), and Best Rock Album (All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
  • 2001: “Beautiful Day” wins Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
  • 1995: Best Music Video, Long Form – “Zoo TV Live From Sydney”
  • 1994: Best Alternative Album – Zooropa
  • 1992: Best Rock Group Performance – Achtung Baby
  • 1989: Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group – “Desire”; Best Video Performance, Short Form – “Where the Streets Have No Name”
  • 1988: Album of the Year – The Joshua Tree; Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group – “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”

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