Jim Carroll on Bono's New Year's Day blog post

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The U2 singer's 6,218-word screed is an A to Z of 2014, including the Apple debacle, his bike crash, and a veiled cry for help to his band's former manager, Paul McGuinness

by Jim Carroll, Irish Times

We have a winner. The new year may still be yawning to life, but there won't be another blog post in 2015 on a par with the 6,218-word screed delivered by U2's Bono on New Year's Day.

Laid up since his bike accident and unable to resume his rightful place in front of microphones and cameras for another long six months, U2's frontman instead went online to review his annus horribilis from A to Z.

There was much to talk about. We got the irony bypass of the singer using a blog post to fume about nasty bloggers not liking his band's new album. We got another bizarre defence ("bottle of milk" and "bowl of cereal") of the U2/Apple distribution snafu. We got plenty of references to his friends and family.

But there was one entry that stood out. In between O for the Oscars and Q for Quincy Jones, Bono wrote with fondness, affection and generosity about the band's former manager Paul McGuinness.

The mention of the fifth member of the band gave one pause to consider if U2's recent rash of bad decisions, pompous hype and terrible music would have occurred under his watch.

Whatever about the last item on the list, which would be beyond any manager's control, it would be a far different state of affairs with business matters. Keeping a band like U2 at the top of the pack for so long took smarts, and you can be sure that the former manager encountered and dealt with many Apple-like conundrums along the way.

Avoidable errors

McGuinness has been largely quiet since stepping down as manager in late 2013 and letting Guy Oseary take up the reins. He did talk to Australian TV show Studio 10 last November and commented that there were some "avoidable errors" in how Songs Of Innocence appeared in people's iTunes libraries.

It's difficult to imagine McGuinness allowing the Apple distribution game to play out like it did, with the backlash damaging the band's public standing far more than the tax issue or a lack of great songs on the album.

But, as we've seen with Madonna's social media mishaps over the last few weeks, mistakes can occur even when the act in question is universally feted as a sussed media operator.

When acts get to a certain size, megastar megalomania seems to take over. The star probably feels that they can get away with anything. It doesn't help that they're often surrounded by yes-men and sycophants whose jobs and percentages depend on making the talent feel loved and wanted. There's little room at the table for someone who might say no or ask some hard questions.

It would be interesting to know what McGuinness thinks of what's contained in his former charge's blog post, but he's likely to keep his own counsel on that. Personally, I'm looking forward to reading Larry Mullen's review of 2014.

© 2014 The Irish Times

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on January 11, 2015 2:59 AM.

Bono bike accident: 'I may never play guitar again' was the previous entry in this blog.

Pink Floyd's Nick Mason: Apple Got Off 'Scot-Free' With U2 Backlash is the next entry in this blog.

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