Paul Hewson, or more commonly known as Bono, was born on May 10th 1960, at Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, to Bob and Iris Hewson. Bono has an older brother named Norman who was born in 1953. Bob and Iris Hewson were one of the few couples in Ireland at that time to be in a “mixed” marriage, meaning Bob was catholic and Iris protestant. They decided to bring up their sons in a more liberal way than either of those religions allowed for.
The boys were baptized in a protestant church, so technically they are protestant. Paul had a happy childhood, although he was mischievous by nature and often got himself into hot water. In grade school, he got suspended for throwing dog droppings at a teacher. Bob Hewson described Paul as a “bloody exasperating” child. Eventually, Bono attended Mount Temple High School, where he was one of the “cool” kids; he was always messing about in class, a typical clown, and had a tendency to do weird things.
He fell into a group of kids called “The Lypton Village”, who were just as weird as he was. It was in this group that the name ‘Bono’ was born. The Lypton Village believed that names were something that shouldn’t be given at birth, because they can’t possibly reflect who you really are. Paul’s first name was Steinhegvanhuysenolegbangbangbangbang, but it very quickly became Bono Vox. Meaning “perfect voice” in Latin, it was the name of a local hearing aid store in Dublin and the Lypton Village thought it fit Bono perfectly. Not for his singing voice, at that stage in his life Bono couldn’t carry a tune, but it was for the fact he was always in good voice; he never shut up! He became life-long friends with most of The Lypton Village, which included Derek Rowan (Guggi), and Fionan Hanvey (Gavin Friday).
During his years at Mount Temple High he met Alison (Ali) Stewart. She was born in March 23, 1960. Bono liked her immediately, although she considered him just a friend. This started to change in 1974, when Bono’s mother died of a brain hemorrhage. Ali fell into the role of “temporary mother”, she made sure Bono did things like eat breakfast, get enough sleep and get to school on time.
For the first time since they had met, Bono wasn’t wearing any masks in front of Ali, and she began to like what she saw. When Bono read Larry’s note about starting up a band, he was immediately interested. He went along to that first meeting, and he claimed he could sing and play guitar, when he actually couldn’t do neither at the time. He was good at organizing (translation: bossing) the boys and played “manager” until Adam was kicked out of school and could pursue that full time. Upon meeting David Evans, Bono christened him ‘The Edge’ because of his sharp mind.
When the group got down to 4 people, they got down to serious business, Bono writing songs and learning to sing, and they started to come together as a band. Their first tour of America became a catalyst for Bono’s doubts about the band. While he believed that they could be the best if they kept at it, he wasn’t sure if he should be doing it at all. He couldn’t reconcile his Christianity and his being in a rock group. Bono, The Edge and Larry had joined a bible group, and there was immense pressure to give up his rock and roll lifestyle. When they all finally worked through their religious issues, they realized they could be both things and got on with their lives.
Part of this getting on with things was his marriage to Ali Stewart on August 21st 1982, in Raheny Dublin.
They remain married to this day. Not without their share of ups and downs, probably because Bono doesn’t spend much time at home and Ali is independent enough not to mind. Ali compliments Bono perfectly. He has four children, along with another coming along the way in July 2001! His children are: Jordan [May 10th, 1989], Memphis Eve [July 7th, 1991], and Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q [August 17th, 1999], and a new baby boy they had in May 2001, John Abraham. His family pets are two dogs named Fanny and Angel. Bono is desperate to communicate and connect with his audiences, and in the early (and not so early) days this meant doing strange and bizarre things on stage. Climbing was a particular favourite. If there was any form of scaffolding on or near the stage, Bono would find an opportunity to scale it. More often than not he was able to come down again unharmed, but in 1987 he fell off the scaffolding he had climbed and ended up dislocating his shoulder..
It was at this time the band imposed a “climbing ban” on Bono and so far he has stuck to that. The band has also banned Bono off coffee, because it gets him gets uncontrollably hyper. Bono was arrested twice in 1987 (along with Paul McGuinness) the first time for playing without permission in the “Where The Streets Have No Name” video (after playing the song for a few times, the police finally pulled the plug). The second time was for graffitying on a San Francisco statue. There was already graffiti on it, and when Bono had finished it said “Rock and Roll, Stop the traffic!” He was ordered to pay for the cleanup, and the matter was dropped.
In the early 90′s, Bono altered his own earnest image into something more cyberpunk. With the help of band stylist “Fighting” Fintan Fitzgerald, Bono stylized his once-brown shoulder length hair into a jet-black coif, donned a pair of bubble-eye wraparound sunglasses, and slid into a skin-tight leather suit to become a funkified banshee called The Fly, a cool phantom hoodlum who howled amid the dark electronic flash and shash of the band’s watermark album, “Achtung Baby.” He made phone calls to the President of the U.S.A, and also ordered 10,000 pizzas for the crowd during one concert on ZOO TV.
Unfortunately, the rigors of touring and the strain of singing night-after-night took a severe toll on Bono’s pipes, especially during the Popmart tour in 1997. Having picked up the bad cigarette habit on the Zoo TV tour, Bono became a full-fledged smoker while on the road; a habit which, combined with a severe sinus infection, had a disastrous effect on his voice, on the tour he lost his voice a few times, paricularily during the Sarajevo concert which made history. Fortunately, after the tour, he was admitted to the hospital to have the problem corrected and has since quit smoking, after doctors told him it would permanently damage his singing.
Bono is still an odd yet endearing guy. He loses absolutely everything, because of this he has had to buy a series of laptops in which to keep his lyric notes. This due to the fact he has lost almost all his lyric books at one time or another. He also has a “thing” for boats, and often “borrows” them for an hour. Despite the obvious privilege of his lifestyle, Bono continues to display a generosity and genuine nature that is impressive to both friends and fans alike. He’s the kind of person who could work a roomful wealthy socialites, then stop to chat with fans on the street about music, and then be seen giving cash handouts to the homeless. Bono and his wife, Ali, continue to make their home in Dublin with their four children.