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U2 Collects Lifetime Achievement Award

U2, one of Ireland's most famous exports, will collect a lifetime achievement award at Britain's top pop music ceremony on Monday, crowning a phenomenal quarter of a century in show business. Twenty-five years after a group of Dublin schoolboys answered a notice to form a band, U2 will be hailed at the Brit Awards as undisputed rock superstars with sales of more than 100 million records around the world. Last week the band won the prestigious Grammy award for record of the year for their hit single ``Beautiful Day'' and will launch their first tour for three years in March to support their latest album ``All That You Can't Leave Behind.'' U2 were formed in 1976 after founding member Larry Mullen Jnr pinned up a notice at Mount Temple Comprehensive School and the group still boast their original line-up. Originally called Feedback, and then The Hype, the band was not an overnight success, struggling through a series of talent contests and pub gigs. The group hit a low point in 1979, playing before an audience of nine at the Hope and Anchor pub in London. But word spread and within a few months U2 had signed a major record deal. With its original line-up of Bono (real name Paul Hewson) on vocals, The Edge (Dave Evans) on guitar and Adam Clayton on bass, U2 went on to carve a place in rock history. ``Because we were mates, I suppose from the beginning, there's a lot of real respect and trust there between the different members of the group,'' The Edge once told Reuters in an interview. From their early days, U2 gained a reputation for their political views expressed through provocative songs. Through their music they tackled issues such as violence in Northern Ireland with ``Sunday Bloody Sunday,'' apartheid with ``Silver and Gold'' and nuclear proliferation with ``The Unforgettable Fire.'' The group disappeared from the charts after their PopMart tour in 1997/98 and its members focused on other projects. Bono became an active campaigner for the forgiveness of Third World debt, traveling the globe to petition Western leaders to cancel more than $100 billion in debt. He also hit the headlines last year after attacking the current state of the British music industry, complaining it was full of bubblegum bands and ``pretty young things.'' ``People are sick to the teeth of processed and hyped pop bands. It's crap. They want something real again,'' Bono told Britain's Sun tabloid. U2 will perform at the Brit Awards ceremony on Monday night. By Sinead O'Hanlon LONDON (Reuters)
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