Hot Press

U2 are the biggest music act to emerge from Dublin

“By 1980,” recalls John Stephenson, “a young advertising executive called Paul McGuinness had spent the last of his money on a new Dublin band he’d been managing since 1978. McGuinness had persuaded Chris Blackwell of Island Records that U2 were worth considering, but the album deal was far from done.”

A showcase in London might do the trick. That’s where Stephenson came in – his Sense of Ireland Festival provided a platform for U2, the Virgin Prunes, Berlin, the Radiators from Space and Paul Cleary. Paul McGuinness persuaded Blackwell to bring the entire Island staff to the Acklam Hall, where U2 were playing as part of the festival. The band signed their first record deal a few days later. Hot Press is Ireland’s music magazine, founded in 1977 and edited to this day by Niall Stokes. The publication championed U2 and is still an important platform for emerging Irish music.

With thanks to John Stephenson

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