U2 originally had a fifth member, Dik Evans (The Edge’s brother) and were called The Hype. In the group’s formative years, Bono was also playing guitar, but there wasn’t really a need for a third guitarist. When Dik left, later to form the infinitely better Virgin Prunes, the remaining members rechristened themselves as U2.
When this was shot, in March of 1978, they hadn’t really yet shed their old name (Dik would formally leave in two days time and was not a part of this shoot). Bono, The Edge and Adam Clayton were seventeen. Larry Mullen Jr. was just sixteen.
This short article [“Yep, It’s U2”] appeared in the Irish magazine Hot Press soon afterwards:
Another contender for the titles vacated by the Rats and the Radiators, U2 arrive on the scene with some highly influential supporters. With Steve Rapid acting as mentor, (though not manager) and interest from CBS, the north-side band have made early progress before even venturing into the better-known centre-city gigs. Their recent rise to newfound prominence is due to a victory in an Evening Press/Harp Lager talent contest.
Normally, such contests are ho-hum cabaret affairs but Jackie Hayden from CBS was one of the judges and was sufficiently impressed to pay for a short demo session in Keystone, which is where I caught up with them.
I must report that it wasn’t the happiness of sessions, the band’s inexperience showing up on what was a rush job. Their first numbers were their latest songs, which suffered as they were still getting the measure of themselves and the studio. It wasn’t till later on that their real potential came through.
U2 describe themselves as purveyors of New Wave pop although they’re wise enough to avoid the now deceased power-pop tag. However, they’ve also got hard-rock leanings, not surprisingly since they used to concentrate on that music when they went under their earlier name as the Hype. To their credit, they don’t disguise that background.
To their credit again, U2 are a young band in their last year at school. They impress as articulate, aware and hard-working individuals who are prepared to embark on their vocation. U2 talk like they intend to be professionals, a primary asset in the battle for recognition. All these qualities and their youth make U2 a band for the future and one with the attitude to grow and evolve fast.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
U2’s ‘lost’ early single: ‘A Celebration’
Below, U2 performing their original song “Street Mission” on RTÉ‘s Youngline in March of 1978: