The Note on a High School Bulletin Board That Launched U2

Lore has it–correctly, as it turns out–that a 14-year-old kid named Larry Mullen Jr. pinned a note to a bulletin board at Mount Temple High School in Dublin in on September 1976. The handwritten notice read “Drummer seeks musicians to form band.”

Several people hoping to be part of The Larry Mullen Band showed up in the kitchen of Larry’s parents on Saturday, September 25. A few would eventually drop out. Three others–Paul Hewson, Dave Evans and Adam Clayton–would stick around. They’re still together 40 years later.

The BBC has this to say about the anniversary of that first jam:

Four decades to the day since a cluster of innocent Irish schoolboys with cheap instruments crammed into a back room in Larry Mullen Jr’s parents’ home, U2 sit on top of the rock hierarchy.

Those “misfits”, as their school-friend Frank Kearns calls them, included Adam Clayton, David Evans and Paul Hewson.

They had responded to 14-year-old Mullen Jr’s note on a board in Dublin’s Mount Temple Comprehensive: ‘Drummer seeks musicians to form band’.

Saturday 25 September 1976 was the beginning of what is arguably the biggest, most adored and even most despised band in the world today.

The jockeying for position took place as Mullen Jr’s drums clattered, Evans’s (later the Edge) guitar snarled and Clayton, the bassist who couldn’t play bass, stood coolly with “the best hair” out of the bunch, according to Neil McCormick, a friend of the band from back in the day.

Keep reading–then move on to this story from the Irish Times:

“Drummer seeks musicians to form band.” This was the handwritten note 14-year-old Larry Mullen put on the bulletin board of Mount Temple School in Dublin, just after the long, hot summer of 1976.

Auditions for the “Larry Mullen Band” were to be held on Saturday, September 25, 1976 in Larry’s parents’ kitchen in Artane. First to arrive was David Evans (The Edge) who didn’t really say much.

Adam Clayton swanned in later wearing a full-length Afghan coat – he immediately appointed himself not just the Larry Mullen Band’s manager but also their bass player. Paul Hewson (Bono) was last. A fidgety and earnest ball of energy, he was auditioning to be the band’s guitarist, but when it transpired he couldn’t play the guitar, Larry suggested he try vocals instead.

Continue reading.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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