// U2 Biography // The history of U2, Part 7The story of how U2 became the biggest band in the world. Also read the individual biographies for each band member!
The history of U2 is divided into the following parts:1: Formation and breakthrough
2: Boy, October and War
3: The Unforgettable Fire and Live Aid
4: The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum
5: Achtung Baby, Zoo TV and Zooropa
6: Pop and Popmart
7: All That You Can't Leave Behind and Elevation
8: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Vertigo
// All That You Can't Leave Behind and Elevation (2000 - 2001)
U2 went back into the studio in early 1999, yet again with Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois producing. After the overwhelming extravagance of the Popmart Tour, critics and music industry insiders felt that U2 was trying to return to the days of The Joshua Tree in order to keep its audience of loyal fans. During these sessions, the band collaborated with author Salman Rushdie, who wrote the lyrics to a song called "The Ground Beneath Her Feet", based on his book of the same name. That song, and others, eventually appeared on the soundtrack to The Million Dollar Hotel, a movie based on a story written by Bono.
All That You Can't Leave Behind, released in late October, was received widely as U2's return to grace, and was considered by many to be U2's "third masterpiece" (after Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree, according to Rolling Stone). It debuted at No. 1 in 22 countries and spawned a world-wide hit single, "Beautiful Day", which also earned three Grammy Awards. U2 followed that release with a major tour in the spring of 2001.
The subsequent Elevation Tour saw the band performing in a scaled-down setting, on a heart-shaped stage and ramp. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 nearly led U2 to cancel the balance of the tour, but they decided to continue, starting the second American leg of the tour at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, home of the "Fighting Irish". The tour was the top concert draw in North America, where the band's 80 shows (out of 113 worldwide) grossed $110 million, the second-highest total behind The Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge Tour in 1994. Following such an accomplished album, and a hugely successful tour, many fans felt that U2 had been successful in "re-applying for the job of the biggest band in the world," an application Bono had made a year earlier.
After the Elevation Tour ended in late 2001, the culmination of U2's resurrection came when the band performed a well-received three-song set in New Orleans, Louisiana during halftime of Super Bowl XXXVI. The highlight was an emotional performance of "Where the Streets Have No Name" in which the names of the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks were projected onto a pair of backdrops, scrolling up towards the sky; at the end of the song the backdrops were released, descending to the ground in a gentle revisiting of the Twin Towers' fall. Bono then opened his jacket, which he had worn throughout the Elevation Tour, to reveal the American flag printed on the lining, an image that was widely reproduced in the media. U2 was praised for their performance because they actually performed their music live as opposed to lip-synching like previous artists had done for Super Bowl halftime shows. A few months later, All That You Can't Leave Behind picked up four more Grammy Awards.
Bono continued his campaigns for debt and HIV/AIDS relief throughout the summer of 2002. In late 2002, U2 released part two of its greatest hits collection, The Best of 1990-2000. Dance artists LMC sampled "With or Without You" for their track "Take Me To The Clouds Above" which also features lyrics from "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston. All four members of U2 had to clear the track, which was released under the title of LMC vs. U2. Adam Clayton said of the track: "It's a good beat and you can dance to it. I especially like the bassline." The track went to the top of the UK singles charts in February 2004 and also went top 5 in Ireland and top ten in Australia.
Continue reading the history of U2 in the next part: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Vertigo.