U2’s the Edge Takes Some Blame for Bono’s Vocal Embarrassment
Last year the singer said he “turned scarlet” if any of those tracks reached his ears, explaining that “the band sound incredible … I just found the voice very strained and kind of not macho.” He added that Robert Palmer once told bassist Adam Clayton that U2 should lower the keys of their material: “He’d do himself a favor, his voice a favor and he’d do us all a favor who have to listen to him.”
In the latest edition of Guitar Player, the Edge noted, “Bono kicked up a pretty serious media furor recently when he admitted that some of his early vocal recordings were a source of a certain amount of embarrassment for him. You can hear the strain in his voice. Mind you, it never even occurred to us in those days to lower the key to better fit his range.
“Today, with each arrangement, we [are] able to go, ‘Where do you want to pitch this one?’ I was able to take some good guesses for what would work for him. It was like tailoring the songs to suit him as a singer. … That was the ultimate goal: to serve the song by serving the singer.”
The band was in better form than ever with the development of the more refined approach, the Edge added, describing Bono as a “better interpreter of songs than he’s ever been.”