|Birth name||David Howell Evans|
|Born||8 August 1961|
Barking, Essex, England
|Genres||Rock, post-punk, alternative rock|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer, songwriter|
|Instruments||Guitar, keyboards, vocals|
|Associated acts||U2, Passengers, Bono|
David Howell Evans (born 8 August 1961), better known as the Edge or simply Edge,is an English-born Irish musician, singer, and songwriter. He is best known as the lead guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist of the rock band U2. A member of the group since its inception, he has recorded 14 studio albums with them as well as one solo record. His understated style of guitar playing, a signature of U2's music, is distinguished by chiming timbres, use of rhythmic delay, drone notes, harmonics, and an extensive use of effects units.
Born in England to Welsh parents and raised in Ireland, the Edge formed a band with his classmates at Mount Temple Comprehensive School and his elder brother Dik in 1976. The band would later evolve into U2. Inspired by the ethos of punk rock and its basic arrangements, the group began to write its own material. They eventually became one of the most successful acts in popular music, with albums such as 1987's The Joshua Tree and 1991's Achtung Baby . Over the years, the Edge has experimented with various guitar effects and introduced influences from several genres of music into his own style, including American roots music, industrial music, and alternative rock. With U2, the Edge has also played keyboards, co-produced their 1993 record Zooropa , and occasionally served as co-lyricist. The Edge met his second wife Morleigh Steinberg through her collaborations with the band.
As a member of U2 and as an individual, the Edge has campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes. He co-founded Music Rising, a charity to support musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina. He has collaborated with U2 bandmate Bono on several projects, including songs for Roy Orbison and Tina Turner, and the soundtracks to the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and the Royal Shakespeare Company's London stage adaptation of A Clockwork Orange . As a member of U2, the Edge has won 22 Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Several music publications have ranked the Edge among the greatest guitarists of all time.
David Howell Evans was born on 8 August 1961 at the Barking Maternity Hospital in Barking, Essex,the second child of Welsh parents Garvin and Gwenda Evans. Both of his parents were from Llanelli. His father was an engineer who worked for the local electricity board, and subsequently worked for the electronics company Plessey. The Edge has an elder brother called Richard (often called Dik) and a younger sister called Gillian, and is a cousin of actress Juliet Aubrey. The family initially lived in Chadwell Heath. Around 1962, Garvin was offered a promotion which took the family to Dublin. During his childhood in Dublin, the Edge talked in two different accents, using a Welsh accent at home and an Irish accent whenever he was outside. He later said, "The reason for this dual identity was mainly to be understood by my peers but also to be accepted."
The Edge received his initial formal education at St. Andrew's National School in Malahide. As a child, he also received piano and guitar lessons, and practised music with Dik. He received his first guitar at the age of seven when his mother bought him a Spanish guitar. He did not know how to properly tune it or hold it and referred to it as "little more than a toy", but he was fascinated by how cool it was. At the age of nine, the "first proper guitar" came to the Evans household when his mother purchased an old acoustic guitar at a jumble sale for a pound. He and Dik both experimented with this instrument, replacing the rusty wire strings with nylon ones and learning to properly play it.The Edge said in 1982 of this early experimentation, "Me and my elder brother Dik both played it, plonking away, all very rudimentary stuff, open chords and all that."
While the Evans brothers were at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Dublin in 1976, they went along to a meeting in response to an advert posted by another pupil, Larry Mullen Jr., on the school's noticeboard seeking musicians to form a new band with him. Among the several other pupils who also responded to the note were Paul "Bono" Hewson and Adam Clayton.The band went through a number of reformations before becoming known as U2 in March 1978 (Richard Evans having left before this to join another band, leaving his younger brother as the lead guitarist).
Early in the band's career, Evans was given the nickname "the Edge" by members of the Lypton Village surrealist street gang to which Bono belonged. The nickname is commonly believed to be derived from the angular shape of Evans' head.However, the origin of the name is disputed and other theories include a description of his guitar playing and his preference for not becoming fully involved and therefore remaining on the edge of things.
U2 began its public performance life in small venues in Dublin in 1977, occasionally playing at other venues elsewhere in Ireland. In December 1979, they performed their first concerts outside Ireland, in London, and in 1980 began extensive touring across the British Isles, developing a following. Their debut album Boy was released in 1980.
In 1981, leading up to the October Tour, the Edge came very close to leaving U2 for religious reasons, but he decided to stay.During this period he became involved with a group called Shalom Tigers, in which Bono and Mullen were also involved. Shortly after deciding to remain with the band, he wrote a piece of music that later became "Sunday Bloody Sunday".
In addition to his regular role within U2, the Edge has also recorded with such artists as Johnny Cash, B. B. King, Tina Turner, Ronnie Wood, Jah Wobble, Holger Czukay, Jay-Z, and Rihanna. Through his working relationships with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the Edge connected with Michael Brook (the creator of the infinite guitar) and collaborated with him on the score to the film Captive (1986). The soundtrack included the song "Heroine", the vocal of which was sung by a young Sinéad O'Connor.
The Edge has collaborated with U2 bandmate Bono on numerous musical projects outside of the group. They wrote the musical score for the Royal Shakespeare Company's London stage adaptation of A Clockwork Orange , which opened in 1990. The duo also wrote the eponymous theme song of the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye , which was performed by Tina Turner. The Edge and Bono ventured into theatre again when they composed the music and lyrics for the musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark , which opened in 2011. A single titled "Rise Above 1" by Reeve Carney, featuring Bono and the Edge, was released digitally from the musical's soundtrack.The music video was released on 28 July 2011. The Edge and Bono collaborated with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix on the song "We Are the People", which serves as the official song of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament and was released on 14 May 2021.
The Edge wrote the theme song for seasons one and two of The Batman , which aired in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
In 2008, the Edge participated in the Davis Guggenheim-directed documentary film It Might Get Loud . The film examines the history of the electric guitar, focusing on the careers and styles of the Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White. The film premiered on 5 September 2008 at the Toronto International Film Festival
On 29 April 2016, the Edge performed in the Sistine Chapel as part of a conference for the Angiogenesis Foundation, making him the first rock artist to stage a concert at the site.
"Notes actually do mean something. They have power. I think of notes as being expensive. You don't just throw them around. I find the ones that do the best job and that's what I use. I suppose I'm a minimalist instinctively. I don't like to be inefficient if I can get away with it. Like on the end of 'With or Without You'. My instinct was to go with something very simple. Everyone else said, "Nah, you can't do that." I won the argument and I still think it's sort of brave, because the end of 'With or Without You' could have been so much bigger, so much more of a climax, but there's this power to it which I think is even more potent because it's held back... ultimately I'm interested in music. I'm a musician. I'm not a gunslinger. That's the difference between what I do and what a lot of guitar heroes do."
The Edge's style of playing guitar is distinguished by his chiming timbres,echoing notes, sparse voicings, and extensive use of effects units. He favours the perfect fifth interval and often plays chords consisting of just two notes, the fifth and the root note, while eliminating the third. This style is not explicitly in a minor or major key, but implies both, creating a musical ambiguity. For these chords, he often plays the same notes on multiple strings, some of which are left open, creating an Irish-influenced drone. Against this drone, he changes other notes to imply a harmony. Among the Edge's signature techniques are playing arpeggios, sixteenth note percussive strumming, and harmonics, the latter of which he described as "so pure and finely-focused that [they have] the incredible ability to pierce through [their] environment of sound, just like lightning". The Edge takes a relatively understated approach to guitar playing, viewing notes as "expensive" and preferring to play simple parts that best serve their song. He eschews virtuosity in favour of "atmospherics, subtlety, minimalism, and clever signal processing", according to Guitar Player . Rather than emulate common playing styles, the Edge is interested in "tearing up the rule book" and finding new ways to approach the instrument. He cited guitarists such as Tom Verlaine of Television, Rory Gallagher, and Patti Smith as some of his strongest influences.
The Edge's guitar sound is frequently modulated with a delay set to a dotted eighth note for rhythmic effect.After acquiring his first delay pedal, the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man, he became fascinated with how to use its return echo to "fill in notes that [he's] not playing, like two guitar players rather than one". The effect unit became a mainstay in his guitar rig and had a significant impact on the band's creative output. The Edge became known for his extensive use of effects units, and for his meticulous nature in crafting specific sounds and guitar tones from his equipment choices. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page called him a "sonic architect", while Neil McCormick described him as an "effects maestro". Critics have variously referred to the Edge's guitar sounds as evoking the image of fighter planes on "Bullet the Blue Sky", resembling a "dentist's drill" on "Love Is Blindness", and resembling an "airplane turbine" on "Mofo". The Edge said that rather than using effects merely to modify his sound, he uses them to spark ideas during his songwriting process.
The Edge developed his playing style during his teenage years, partially as a result of him and Mullen trying to accommodate the "eccentric" bass playing of Clayton by being the timekeepers of the band.In their early days, the Edge's only guitar was his 1976 Gibson Explorer Limited Edition, which became a signature of the group. However, he found the sound of the Explorer's bass strings unsatisfactory and avoided them in his playing early on, resulting in a trebly sound. He said by focusing "on one area of the fretboard [he] was developing a very stylized way of doing something that someone else would play in a normal way". Other equipment choices contribute to the Edge's unique sound. His 1964 Vox AC30 "Top Boost" amplifier (housed in a 1970s cabinet) is favoured for its "sparkle" tone, and is the basis for his sound both in the studio and live. The Edge has also used plectrums manufactured by the German company Herdim that he turns sideways or upside down so the dimpled grip strums against the strings, resulting in a "rasping top end" to his guitar tone.
About his playing style, the Edge said in 1982:
"I like a nice ringing sound on guitar, and most of my chords I find two strings and make them ring the same note, so it's almost like a 12-string sound. So for E I might play a B, E, E and B and make it ring. It works very well with the Gibson Explorer.
The Edge provides the backing vocals for U2. Their 1983 live album and video release, Under a Blood Red Sky and U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky are good reference points for his singing (as are the live DVDs from the Elevation Tour, U2 Go Home: Live from Slane Castle and Elevation 2001: Live from Boston ). For example, he sings the chorus to "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (Bono harmonises on the final 'Sunday'). U2 used this tradeoff technique later in "Bullet the Blue Sky" as well. His backing vocals are sometimes in the form of a repeated cry; examples of songs that use this approach include "Beautiful Day", "New Year's Day" and "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)". Another technique he uses in his backing vocals is the falsetto, in songs such as "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of", "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own", "A Man and a Woman", "The Wanderer", live versions of "The Fly", and "Window in the Skies".
The Edge sings the lead vocal on "Van Diemen's Land" and "Numb", the first half of the song "Seconds", dual vocals with Bono in "Discotheque", and the bridge in the song "Miracle Drug".He also sings the occasional lead vocal in live renditions of other songs (such as "Sunday Bloody Sunday" during the PopMart Tour and "Party Girl" during the Rotterdam Zoo TV show when it was Bono's birthday), and has sung the second verse of the "Stand by Me" cover on a few shows. A solo acoustic version of the song "Love is Blindness", that is featured in the documentary film From the Sky Down , is sung by him as well.
He has played keyboards on many of the band's songs, including "I Fall Down", "October", "So Cruel", "New Year's Day", "Running to Stand Still", "Miss Sarajevo", "The Hands that Built America", and "Original of the Species" and others. In live versions of "New Year's Day", "The Unforgettable Fire", "Your Blue Room", "Moment of Surrender" and "Raised By Wolves", he plays both the piano and guitar parts alternately. In most live versions of "Original of the Species," piano is the only instrument played during the song. Although the Edge is the band's lead guitarist, he occasionally plays bass guitar, including the live performances of the song "40" where the Edge and bassist Adam Clayton switch instruments.
The Edge plays electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, piano, bass guitar (on "40" and "Race Against Time") and lap steel guitar. Detailed gear diagrams of the Edge's U2 guitar rig for the 1981 October Tour,the 1983 War Tour, and the 2009 U2 360° Tour are well-documented. In 2016, Fender unveiled a signature model of guitar and amplifier designed in collaboration with the Edge: the Edge Signature Stratocaster and the Fender Edge Deluxe, respectively.
Evans was raised as a Protestantand was, along with fellow band members Bono and Mullen, involved with non-denominational Christian group the Shalom Fellowship as an adult.
Evans married his high school girlfriend, Aislinn O'Sullivan, on 12 July 1983.They have three daughters named Hollie (born 1984), Arran (born 1985), and Blue Angel (born 1989). The couple separated in 1990, but were unable to get legally divorced because of Irish laws regarding annulment at the time; divorce was legalised in 1995, and the couple legally divorced in 1996. In 1993, he began dating Morleigh Steinberg, an American professional dancer who was employed by U2 as a choreographer and dancer during the Zoo TV Tour. They have a daughter, Sian (born 1997), and a son, Levi (born 25 October 1999). The couple were married in 2002.
Evans has been criticised for his efforts to build five luxury mansions on a 156-acre (63.13-hectare) plot of land in Malibu, California.The California Coastal Commission voted 8–4 against his plans. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy agreed to remain neutral on the issue following a $1 million donation from Evans and a commitment to designate 100 acres of the land as open space for public footpaths.
The Edge, Bob Ezrin and Henry Juszkiewicz co-founded Music Rising in 2005, a charity that helped provide replacement instruments for those that were lost in Hurricane Katrina. The instruments were originally only replaced for professional musicians but they soon realised the community churches and schools needed instruments as well. The charity's slogan is "Rebuilding the Gulf Region note by note" and has so far helped over a hundred musicians who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Edge also serves on the board of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organisation dedicated to improving global health by advancing angiogenesis-based medicine, diets, and lifestyle.
The Edge has won numerous awards with U2, including 22 Grammy Awardsand two Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song (for "The Hands That Built America" in 2003 and "Ordinary Love" in 2014). In 2005, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of U2, in the group's first year of eligibility. In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music. At the 2017 Bonnaroo Music Festival, the Edge was honoured with the Les Paul Spirit Award by the Les Paul Foundation for being someone who "exemplifies the spirit of the late, great Les Paul through innovation, engineering, technology and/or music".
In 2010, Gibson ranked him the 23rd-best guitarist of all time, saying that he "created a sound that is distinctly his own – no small feat when you consider he's had to do it in the course of three decades while working shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the biggest personalities in rock, Bono".The following year, Rolling Stone placed the Edge at number 38 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time"; Daniel Lanois called him an "innovative mind", a "scientist, and a poet by night", and said he is "dedicated to note-taking" to "document every detail of his sound". In 2012, Spin ranked him 13th on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists, saying that he "masked and flaunted his willful ignorance of how guitars are meant to be played with forgiving delay pedals, forging a sonic trademark so distinctive that his band's name became an adjective". In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Bono and the Edge at number 35 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr.. Initially rooted in post-punk, U2's musical style has evolved throughout their career, yet has maintained an anthemic quality built on Bono's expressive vocals and the Edge's chiming, effects-based guitar sounds. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery, focus on personal and sociopolitical themes. Popular for their live performances, the group have staged several ambitious and elaborate tours over their career.
Paul David Hewson, known by his stage name Bono, is an Irish singer-songwriter, activist, philanthropist, venture capitalist, businessman, and actor. He is best known as the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of rock band U2.
Adam Charles Clayton is an English-born Irish musician who is the bassist of the rock band U2. He has resided in County Dublin, Ireland since his family moved to Malahide in 1965, when he was five years old. Clayton attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School, where he met schoolmates with whom he co-founded U2 in 1976. A member of the band since its inception, he has recorded 14 studio albums with U2.
October is the second studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was released on 12 October 1981 by Island Records, and was produced by Steve Lillywhite. The album was lyrically inspired by the memberships of Bono, the Edge, and Larry Mullen Jr. in a Christian group called the "Shalom Fellowship", and consequently it contains spiritual and religious themes. Their involvement with Shalom Fellowship led them to question the relationship between the Christian faith and the "rock and roll" lifestyle, and threatened to break up the band.
Richard G. "Dik"(also "Dick") Evans is an English-born Irish musician best known as a founder of the band Virgin Prunes and an early member of U2. Dik and his brother, David "the Edge" Evans, U2's guitarist, were among the group's co-founders.
The Unforgettable Fire is the fourth studio album by Irish rock band U2. It was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, and released on 1 October 1984 by Island Records. The band wanted to pursue a new musical direction following the harder-hitting rock of their previous album, War (1983). As a result, they employed Eno and Lanois to produce and assist in their experimentation with a more ambient sound. The resulting change in direction was at the time the band's most dramatic. The album's title is a reference to "The Unforgettable Fire", an art exhibit about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
"Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the second track on their tenth studio album, All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000), and was released as the album's second single on 29 January 2001. The band's lead vocalist Bono has said the song was inspired by a fictional conversation with his friend Michael Hutchence about suicide. The song peaked at number 52 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and topped the charts in Canada, their native Ireland and Italy, while reaching the top 10 in Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain and the United Kingdom. In 2002, the song won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.
"With or Without You" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the third track on their fifth studio album, The Joshua Tree (1987), and was released as the album's lead single on 16 March 1987. The song was the group's most successful single at the time, becoming their first number-one hit in both the United States and Canada by topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and the RPM national singles chart for one week, with a further three weeks at number two.
"Beautiful Day" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the first track on their tenth studio album, All That You Can't Leave Behind (2000), and was released as the album's lead single on 9 October 2000. The song was a commercial success, helping launch the album to multi-platinum status, and is one of U2's biggest hits to date.
"Mofo" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the third track on their 1997 album Pop, and was released as the album's final single on 8 December 1997. The song was partially written about lead vocalist Bono's mother, who died when he was 14 years old. Other songs which Bono wrote about his mother include "Lemon", "I Will Follow", "Iris " and "Tomorrow". Andrew Unterberger of Stylus Magazine considers the song to be "the only legitimate evidence" of U2's supposed dance-orientated direction on the album. He said the song was "Underworld-esque house frenzy."
"Mysterious Ways" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the eighth track from their 1991 album Achtung Baby and was released as the album's second single on 2 December 1991. The song began as an improvisation called "Sick Puppy", with the band liking only the bass part that bassist Adam Clayton composed. The band struggled to build a song from it, with vocalist Bono and producer Daniel Lanois arguing intensely during one songwriting session. The song's breakthrough came after guitarist the Edge began experimenting with the Korg A3 effects unit. "Mysterious Ways" features a danceable beat, funky guitar hook, and conga-laden percussion, as well as mystical lyrics by Bono about romance and women.
"The Fly" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the seventh track from their 1991 album, Achtung Baby, and it was released as the album's first single on 21 October 1991. "The Fly" introduced a more abrasive-sounding U2, as the song featured danceable hip-hop beats, industrial textures, distorted vocals, and an elaborate guitar solo. Lead vocalist Bono described the song as "the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree", due to its departure from the traditional sound that had characterised the band in the 1980s.
"Pride " is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the second track on the band's 1984 album, The Unforgettable Fire, and was released as its lead single in September 1984. The song was produced by Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. Written about Martin Luther King Jr., "Pride" received mixed critical reviews at the time, but it was a major commercial success for U2 and has since become one of their most popular songs. It appeared on the band's compilation albums The Best of 1980–1990 and U218 Singles.
"Bullet the Blue Sky" is a song by Irish rock band U2, and is the fourth track from their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. Lyrically, the song was inspired by a trip that lead vocalist Bono made to Nicaragua and El Salvador, where he saw firsthand how local peasants were affected by United States military intervention in the region. Angered by what he witnessed, Bono asked guitarist the Edge to "put El Salvador through an amplifier." "Bullet the Blue Sky" is one of the band's most overtly political songs, with live performances often being heavily critical of political conflicts and violence.
"Red Hill Mining Town" is a song by the rock band U2. It is the sixth track from their 1987 album, The Joshua Tree. A rough version of this song was worked on during the early Joshua Tree album writing sessions in 1985. The focus of the song is on the National Union of Mineworkers' 1984 strike in Great Britain that occurred in response to the National Coal Board's campaign to close uneconomic mines. A music video was produced in February 1987 for the song and was directed by Neil Jordan. The song was planned for release as the album's second single, but it was ultimately shelved in favour of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".
"Zoo Station" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the opening track from their 1991 album Achtung Baby, a record on which the group reinvented themselves musically by incorporating influences from alternative rock, industrial, and electronic dance music. As the album's opening track, "Zoo Station" introduces the band's new sound, delivering industrial-influenced percussion and several layers of distorted guitars and vocals. Similarly, the lyrics suggest the group's new intents and anticipations. The introduction, featuring an "explosion" of percussion and a descending glissando for a guitar hook, was meant to make the listener think the album was mistakenly not U2's latest record or that their music player was broken.
"Until the End of the World" is a song by rock band U2 and the fourth track from their 1991 album Achtung Baby. The song began as a guitar riff composed by lead vocalist Bono from a demo, which the band revisited with success after talking with German filmmaker Wim Wenders about providing music for his film Until the End of the World. The song's lyrics describe a fictional conversation between Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot. The first verse discusses the Last Supper; the second is about Judas identifying Jesus with a kiss on the cheek in the Garden of Gethsemane; and the final is about Judas' suicide after being overwhelmed with guilt and sadness.
"Kite" is a song by Irish rock band U2. It is the fifth track on their 2000 album All That You Can't Leave Behind.
"When I Look at the World" is a song by Irish rock band U2, and the ninth track on their 2000 album All That You Can't Leave Behind.
"Exit" is a song by rock band U2. It is the tenth track on their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. "Exit" was developed from a lengthy jam that was recorded in a single take and edited down to a shorter arrangement. The lyrics, which portray the mind of a serial killer, were inspired by lead singer Bono's reading of Norman Mailer's 1980 novel The Executioner's Song, and other related works.