Bono’s ‘Surrender’ Memoir Will Highlight 40 U2 Songs

Bono has announced a new autobiography, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story.

Surrender is the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress. . . With a fair amount of fun along the way,” the singer said in a statement. The book’s subtitle, 40 Songs, One Story, is a reference to its forty chapters, each one named after a U2 song. The legendary frontman has also created forty original drawings that will appear throughout the book.

“When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I’d previously only sketched in songs,” Bono explained. “The people, places, and possibilities in my life. Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me.”

One of the people who will receive focus in the new memoir is the singer’s late mother, Iris Hewson, who passed away four days after collapsing at his father’s funeral in 1987. Bono’s mother died of complications from a brain aneurysm, and her sudden death is one of the factors that the drove the man born Paul Hewson towards music. Bono has previously addressed the impact of the loss of his mother on such U2 tracks as “I Will Follow,” “Mofo” and “Out of Control.”

Bono met the Edge and Adam Clayton while the three were attending school in Dublin in the mid-1970s, and had their first band rehearsal as U2 in September 1976. By the singer’s own admission, “surrender” was a bit of a foreign idea back then. “Growing up in Ireland in the seventies with my fists up (musically speaking), it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book,” the frontman noted. “I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist.”

The rocker’s journey has included over twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty, and just recently his social justice efforts expanded to include support for Ukraine in the country’s conflict with Russia. Accepting an invitation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Bono and the Edge delivered a surprise 40-minute performance inside a Kyiv subway station that is serving as a bomb shelter. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon,” the Irish rocker told the audience.

Bono picked his 62nd birthday on Tuesday, May 10, to share the news of his upcoming memoir. The singer also released an animated clip (see below) in which he narrates an excerpt from the book, reflecting on his 18th birthday in 1978 — the day Bono started to write “Out of Control.”

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story will be released Nov. 1 and is available for pre-order now.

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