In a little less than two months, I’ll be submitting the manuscript for the second edition of U2 – A Diary. There will also be a section of updates/corrections to the material in the first book, which gives me a chance to fix things I got wrong and add things that I missed.
Here are almost 20 “unsolved mysteries” — some of which are in the first edition, but without as much exact information as I’d like, and some that are so mysterious that I wasn’t able to include them at all. If you have info about any of these, please leave a comment below or send me an email. Thanks!
1. The “Pride” death threat against Bono
There’s an old NME article that says it happened during The Unforgettable Fire Tour. But in U2 by U2, the band says it happened during The Joshua Tree tour. I’ve written about this unsolved mystery twice: When Did Adam Stand in Front of Bono during “Pride”? and In the News: The Pride/Bono Death Threat Story.
2. Joshua Tree unauthorized ad
Sometime after The Joshua Tree came out, Sony put the advertisement at right in some Irish/UK music papers. Sony never asked permission and U2 forced them to pull the ad quickly. I’d like to get at least the month in which this started appearing. (original discussion) (UPDATE: Solved in comments below, thx to Donal’s research!)
3. Hot Press 1979/1980 Awards
There are many articles online that reference the fact that U2 “swept the competition”, winning five awards in the 1979 Hot Press Reader’s Poll — which would’ve been published in January, 1980. But I can find no record of what those five awards are. (original discussion) (UPDATE: This one is solved, thanks again to Donal M.!)
4. STREETS commercial offer
5. Bono playing chess
Did Bono and Garry Kasparov ever have the chess match they were supposed to have in 1993? (original discussion)
6. Dick Evans birth
I know Dick Evans was born in 1959, but have no idea where. (UPDATE: Thanks to Cathy S., I’ve narrowed this down to early 1959 in East London, but still don’t have exact date or hospital/location.)
7. Mt. Temple Comprehensive opens
I would love to know the exact date that Mt. Temple opened in 1972.
8. Clarence Hotel purchase
I would love to know the exact date that Bono and Edge (with Harry Crosbie) purchased the Clarence Hotel?
It’s listed in the first edition of the book as November, 1992, but I’d love an exact date. (original discussion) (UPDATE: In the comments, Anne links to a story about the purchase from September 1992, so that helps get more accurate. But an exact date would be still be great to know.)
9. Bono, Ali, & Horse Races
Which year did Bono go to Cork with Ali and her family, bet on a horse race, and win big to help a friend pay for his wedding? The story is told in Michka Assayas’ book, but no date is given. (original discussion)
10. Buying Trabants
Pg. 31-32 of U2 At the End of the World (UK hardback edition) talks about Paul McGuinness going to Eastern Europe to buy the Trabants for Zoo TV. This had to be sometime in 1991, but I’d like to at least narrow it down to a specific month if possible.
11. Polygram dinner
Pg. 35 of U2 At the End of the World (UK hardback edition) talks about a dinner meeting they had with Alain Levy, the top dog at Polygram. Would be nice to have a date on this.
12. Song called “This I’ve Got To Stop”
U2 by Mark Taylor says Bono wrote two songs in October, 1985, when he was doing the Sun City stuff — “Silver and Gold” and a tune called “This I’ve Got To Stop.” I’ve found no other info on the second song.
13. Edge’s cooking classes
On pg. 105 of The U2 Reader by Hank Bordowitz, Howie B makes a comment about Edge attending cooking classes “every Monday at 4 o’clock.” This would’ve been in August, 1996, during the Pop recording sessions. I’d love to know if Edge really took cooking classes, or was Howie B just making a flip comment?
14. Driving To Midnight Mass
I’ve never been able to find out when Bono recorded the “Driving to Midnight Mass” poem. In an old OTR column on @U2, I wrote that it was recorded around 1983/1984 for a Chicago radio station, but at the moment I have no idea where I figured that out.
15. Island Records party
Here’s a photoset on Wire Image of an Island Records party for U2 that has a date of September 9, 1980 — but U2 was on tour in the UK on that date, so I have no idea when it was.
16. Early unknown gig
In this old article, a guy named Charlie Rafferty mentions seeing a U2/Virgin Prunes gig at St. Brigid’s Hall in Finglas. There’s no record of that show anywhere from what I can tell.
17. Adam visits Goldeneye
Sometime in 1993, Adam went to Chris Blackwell’s “Goldeneye” property with Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Kate Moss. I can’t link to the article that mentions this because it’s behind a subscribers-only wall. But no date is given, and no mention of how long they were there. Could be anytime.
18. Early unknown gig
At an early U2 gig, a group of punks called the “Black Catholics” attacked U2 while the band was performing. There are different versions of the story. In Bill Flanagan’s book, it happened during a gig at the Project Arts Centre. In John Waters’ book, it happened at the Baggot Inn. Neither one gives anything close to a date, not even a year. Maybe it happened at both gigs and they’re both correct….
19. Jesse Jackson for President
According to this interview, which took place in January 1989, U2/Bono was asked to endorse Jesse Jackson at some point in 1988. I can’t find anything more on that.
Replies are welcome in the comments if you know anything about these unsolved mysteries!