You Say It's Your Birthday: U2's Adam Clayton

Today is the birthday of U2 bassist Adam Clayton, who was

born in 1960 in Oxford, England. U2 is one of the most successful groups to

emerge from Ireland (or from anywhere, come to think of it). The group's work

was marked by folky, melodic and political influences while its more recent

work has been somewhat of an experiment in electronica.

U2 formed in 1978

just as punk was getting big across the Irish Sea; Clayton, along with vocalist

Paul "Bono" Hewson, guitarist Dave "The Edge" Evans and drummer Larry Mullen,

began jamming together in high school. They debuted in 1980 with Boy,

and soon the band began receiving some airplay in America with "I Will Follow."

The group's early work, through 1987's The Joshua Tree, was filled

with tender, striking and often political imagery. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" dealt

with the ongoing war in Northern Ireland; "In the Name of Love" described the

assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Singles from The Joshua Tree

were of a more personal, emotional nature, and the live album Rattle and

Hum paid tribute to legends like BB King and Billie Holiday.

1991's

Achtung Baby and 1993's Zooropa marked a more progressive turn

for the band, who began exploring beat-heavy arrangements and synthesized

noises as well as a more fashioned, excess-driven lyrical approach. U2 returned

with arguably its most daring record to date, Pop, last week.

Other

birthdays: Neil Sedaka, Caleb Guillotte (Dead Eye Dick), Donald York (Sha Na

Na) and J.R. Sayles (Joe Public). -- Beth Winegarner