Born May 10th, 1960

I would describe Bono‘s singing as 50 percent Guinness, 10 percent cigarettes — and the rest is religion. He’s a physical singer, like the leader of a gospel choir, and he gets lost in the melodic moment. He goes to a place outside himself, especially in front of an audience, when he hits those high notes. That’s where his real power comes from — the pure, unadulterated Bono. He talks about things he believes in, whether it’s world economics or AIDS relief in Africa. But the voice always comes first. That’s where his conviction lies.

He has so many influences. You hear Joe Strummer, Bob Marley, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, even John Lennon. And he has the same range as Robert Plant. It’s amazing, the notes he has to go through in the first lines of “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” But it’s filtered through this Irish choirboy. The Joshua Tree shows the mastery Bono has over his voice and what he learned from punk, New Wave and American musicians like Bob Dylan. In the quiet moments of “With or Without You,” you can imagine him sitting under the stars. Then, when he comes back to the chorus, all of a sudden it’s a hailstorm.

A lot of Bono’s free-form singing comes from the band’s rhythms and the church-bell feeling of the Edge’s playing, the way the guitar sings in that delay. Bono can glide vocally through all of that. But it’s very natural. And he’s not afraid to go beyond what he’s capable of, into something bizarre like his falsetto in “Lemon.” In “Kite,” on All That You Can’t Leave Behind, he belts it out like he’s crying with joy.

I never had the feeling he was manipulating the power of his voice to show off. They say a submarine never goes in reverse. That’s Bono, always looking for a new way of singing something. That’s one thing I learned from him: Never rest. Keep learning and be a good listener. That’s the spirit of singing — and he definitely has it.


Death of John Lennon

As Lennon and Ono walked to their limousine, they were approached by several people seeking autographs, among them, Chapman.  Chapman, a 25-year-old security guard from Honolulu, Hawaii, had first come to New York to murder Lennon in October but changed his mind and returned home. Chapman silently handed Lennon a copy of Double Fantasy, and Lennon obliged with an autograph. After signing the album, Lennon asked him, “Is this all you want?” Chapman smiled and nodded in agreement. Chapman had been waiting for Lennon outside the Dakota since mid morning.

Lennon signing Chapman’s Double Fantasy album a few hours before the shooting

The Lennons spent several hours at the Record Plant studio before returning to the Dakota at approximately 10:50 pm. Lennon had decided against dining out so he could be home in time to say goodnight to his five-year-old son, Sean, before going to the Stage Deli restaurant with Ono. The Lennons exited their limousine on 72nd Street instead of driving into the more secure courtyard of the Dakota.

Before firing, Chapman called out “Mr. Lennon” and dropped into a “combat stance”. The first bullet missed, passing over Lennon’s head and hitting a window of the Dakota building. However, two of the next bullets struck Lennon in the left side of his back, and two more penetrated his left shoulder. Three of the four bullets passed completely through and exited the front of Lennon’s body, resulting in a total of seven gunshot wounds. While all four shots inflicted severe gunshot wounds, two of the wounds were fatal, hitting his left lung and the left subclavian artery, near where it branches off from the aorta. Lennon, bleeding profusely from his external wounds and also from the mouth, staggered up five steps to the security/reception area, said “I’m shot, I’m shot” and fell to the floor, scattering the armful of cassettes he had been carrying. Doctors worked for nearly 20 minutes, opening Lennon’s chest and attempting manual heart massage to restore circulation, but the damage to the blood vessels around the heart was too great. Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11:15 pm. The cause of death was reported as hypovolemic shock, caused by the loss of more than 80% of blood volume.

Chapman suffered from mental health problems for years and had become obsessed with the political message of Lennon’s music. He was incensed by Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” remark, calling it blasphemy. He later stated he was further enraged by “God“, and “Imagine.” He was angry at the incongruity he saw between Lennon’s lyric “imagine no possessions” and Lennon’s personal wealth.