October 25th, 2011
So Q readers have voted U2 the greatest act of the past 25 years. Well, obviously they would say that. Q is a magazine of white, middle-aged rock fans. If you had asked the Radio One audience to vote on the same question, you might have got a rather different answer. Take That and or Robbie Williams maybe. Actually, scrap that. Those guys are way too old for Radio One. They would probably have voted in One Direction or Justin Bieber.
I was asked to defend the choice of U2 on BBC 5 Live last night. Now, I find myself saying time and time again, music is not a competitive sport. There is room for all our favourite acts, and nobody is forcing you to listen to anyone you don’t want to (though Simon Cowell is certainly doing his best). And before the habitual U2 and Bono haters start hurling the traditional levels of comical abuse in the comments, lets get it out in the open. Yes, I am biased. They are the band I grew up with. If I may quote legendary journalist Hunter S Thompson: “objective journalism is a contradiction in terms”. So get over it. But, like them are loath them, I think the case for U2 being the greatest act of the past 25 years is pretty unequivocal. Here are five reasons why (and why not some of the other artists mentioned in last night’s debate):