Some people love him. Other people hate him—or, at very least, view him with disdain or suspicion. They think he is an egotistical rock star with a messianic complex, while his fans find him to be a confident, vocal activist and charismatic entertainer. It doesn’t really matter, because Bono celebrated his 50th birthday yesterday with plenty of accomplishments to be proud of, despite what the Bono-hating naysayers might say.
Since U2 formed in working-class, war-torn Ireland in 1976, they have sold over 150 million records, been awarded 22 Grammy Awards, inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and performed for countless special events, including President Obama’s Inauguration and the Rose Bowl—to name just a couple. Rolling Stone magazine has named Bono one of the greatest singers of all time and Spin magazine recently called U2’s seventh album, Achtung Baby, the #1 best album of the past 25 years. U2 has also toured internationally since 1979, each year offering a bigger, bolder theatrical stage production. On their Zoo TV tour during the early nineties, they had two cars suspended, crashing together above their elaborate, somewhat garish, stage. The following Pop tour featured a giant lemon that all four members of U2 could fit inside. The stage for their current 360° tour is a remarkable sight to be seen. It even set a world record for the largest concert stage structure ever created. U2 never does anything small and that is largely due to the unwavering passion of their now 50-year-old front man. Most rock stars at his age are checking out, losing relevance and living in obscurity. Not Bono; he may be 50, but he’s not going to slow down any time soon. There are presidents and government officials to meet, powerful political groups to rally and poor people in other countries to help. As long as Bono has something to be passion about, he’s not going anywhere. He may even stick around for another 50 years.