As the frontman for U2, Bono has been making music - and news - for more than four decades. But his interviews are often noteworthy not because of who he is or the music he makes, but because of the ridiculous things Bono has said. The abundance of crazy Bono quotes out there is testament to the singer's vivid imagination and penchant for sticking his own foot squarely in his mouth.
He is always happy to chat and wax philosophical on any number of matters. He has talked about relatively innocuous topics like his sunglasses; serious subjects like identity or his own "messianic complex"; and just downright strange things, like the comedy troupe/street gang he to which he once belonged. While there's no telling what tangent a Bono convo will take, one thing is certain. Bono isn't afraid to say what's on his mind... even if he looks douchey or dumb in the process.
What He Said: "Let's claim [John Lennon], in fact, let's claim all the Beatles not as immigrants but as Irish."
When He Said It: At an Amnesty International event in 2015, Bono was asked to speak in honor of the 40th anniversary of Lennon getting his green card. But Bono wasted no time taking the conversation onto a bizarre trajectory. In his speech, he stated his desire to claim all the Beatles as Irish, even though, you know, none of them are.
What He Said: "I think music has gotten very girly. And there are some good things about that, but hip-hop is the only place for young male anger at the moment - and that's not good. When I was 16, I had a lot of anger in me. You need to find a place for it and for guitars, whether it is with a drum machine - I don't care. The moment something becomes preserved, it is f*cking over. You might as well put it in formaldehyde. In the end, what is rock & roll? Rage is at the heart of it. Some great rock & roll tends to have that, which is why the Who were such a great band. Or Pearl Jam. Eddie has that rage."
When He Said It: In a December 2017 Rolling Stone interview, Bono lamented the current state of rock and roll. He seemed to think rock is the only acceptable channel for the anger of young male musicians. What they're angry about, however, is uncertain; the music industry, like many industries, is a notorious all-boys club. Also, Bono has a habit of constantly giving various definitions of "rock and roll" that fit within whatever his feelings at the moment might be.
What He Said: "If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. I'm certainly not here because I'm a rock star - which leaves only one possible explanation: I've got a messianic complex. It's true. And anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation."
When He Said It: This was said at the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast. Bono was an interesting choice for such a high-profile religious event. Perhaps it was precisely the religious environment that prompted his confession that, yes, he's an egomaniac. Color us so surprised.
What He Said: "Uno, dos, tres, catorce!"
When He Said It: This is the opening line of the U2 song "Vertigo" from their 2004 album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It translates to, "One, two, three, fourteen!" There are various theories as to why Bono, a seemingly bright individual, would make such a big translation error with something as basic as Spanish numbers. Maybe he just sucks at Spanish?