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Old 05-01-2006, 11:44 PM   #1
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U2 stole from who?? (influence question)

Talking to a guy tonight who claimed that U2's riffs and music, in general, were stolen from "some guy." I can't remember the name the guy gave and he could only remember a first name. I think it's total bull. However, does anyone know of theories like this? Who has U2 been accused of stealing their sound from? Personally, I believe U2 (particularly Edge's) sound is UNIQUE.
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Old 05-01-2006, 11:45 PM   #2
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i have never heard such a thing, even from the most anti U2 people i have come across...
they are pretty unique unto themselves
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Old 05-01-2006, 11:53 PM   #3
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Everyone has influence, that's not stealing. However I many people believe that U2/Edge's sound was very much influenced by Tom Verlaine of the band Television. In fact, a certain friend of mine considers U2 to be very subpar because he thinks their sound is basically a rip-off of Verlaine. I can't really say because I haven't listened to much of his work, perhaps someone with a little more musical knowledge than I can give their own opinion.
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Old 05-01-2006, 11:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lemonfix
Everyone has influence, that's not stealing. However I many people believe that U2/Edge's sound was very much influenced by Tom Verlaine of the band Television. In fact, a certain friend of mine considers U2 to be very subpar because he thinks their sound is basically a rip-off of Verlaine. I can't really say because I haven't listened to much of his work, perhaps someone with a little more musical knowledge than I can give their own opinion.
i can see where someone would say the edge is influenced by tom verlaine... but as you said there is a big difference between inspiration and plagiarism. i do like television very much but think there are definite huge differences in each band.
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:02 AM   #5
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Re: U2 stole from who?? (influence question)

Quote:
Originally posted by seankirkland
Talking to a guy tonight who claimed that U2's riffs and music, in general, were stolen from "some guy."
They stole every riff and piece of music from this guy named Johnny O' Connor. No one's ever heard of him because they keep him locked in Bono's basement, they only bring him out when they are about to write an album, they ask what he's been working on, Johnny plays them his new tunes, they learn them and then lock him back up. He got a little mention in Mysterious Ways...
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:03 AM   #6
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According to a 1986 interview with The Edge:

MUSICIAN: And who were the influences on you as a guitarist?
EDGE:: I was very influenced by Tom Verlaine- not stylistically, but in terms of general approach and tearing up the rule-book. I also loved Patti Smith: her guitar-playing was competent and not particularly exceptional, but it was perfect for her band. These influences never became very evident; they were always more of an inspiration, catalysts in the formation of my own style.

MUSICIAN: How would you characterize your own way of playing?
EDGE:: Style is a very complex thing. There are various guitar sounds that interest me, and one of them is a melodic, linear way of playing, that has a kind of cutting clarity. I realized quite early on that a harmonic, let's say, can be so pure and finely-focused that it has the incredible ability to pierce through its environment of sound, just like lightning. I've always wanted to be able to do that. But I would pick out many different aspects of my playing. Perhaps most important of all is the Irish influence on my use of drone strings, which was something I started to do quite instinctively, before I could afford a bank of expensive effects. In the early years I used quite clean sounds, generally playing higher strings, and plucking them with a pick, but playing the melody against a drone.

MUSICIAN: How do you do that?
EDGE:: It sounds very complex, but really it's just a rhythmic device. The idea of playing over a drone is very Irish, and as far as I know has no roots at all in rock 'n' roll. Another of my traits, which is similar, is the use of echo in a rhythmic way.
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:03 AM   #7
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Will Sergeant / Echo And The Bunnymen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Sergeant

Tom Verlaine / Television
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Verlaine

There you go. Although, it must be said, Edge only took certain elements of his sound from them. He was still pretty original. Will used delay, but not to the same extent that The Edge did.

Some songs for reference...

Echo & The Bunnymen - Rescue (main riff)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Monkeys (delayed verses)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Altamont (whole thing sounds like a 2000 era U2 song, but was released in 1997)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Too Young To Kneel (see above)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Ocean Rain
Echo & The Bunnymen - Ripeness
Television - Marquee Moon
Television - Torn Curtain

I personally think that of the two, Edge sounds more like Will Sergeant.
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:45 AM   #8
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Every musician gets inspired by other music, but inspiration is a thing, stealing another. Frankly, even the thought that U2 stole from someone just makes me barf. These are the classic anti U2 thoughts...............................,
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Old 05-02-2006, 08:50 AM   #9
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If Edge is stealing what does that make Johnny Buckland?

There's a difference between having influences and stealing.
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Old 05-02-2006, 09:10 AM   #10
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Edge does not sound like Verlaine. Verlaine for one actually does solos and plays more notes....

I think Johnny O'Connor sounds about right.


ntalwar, do you have a copy of the whole interview and could you copy and paste it. I've been looking for that interview for a while.
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Old 05-02-2006, 09:44 AM   #11
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Stevie Ray Vaughn was just "stealing" from Jimi Hendrix.
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Old 05-02-2006, 10:59 AM   #12
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In the interview, The Edge is clearly stating that he was mainly inspired by others (e.g. thinking outside the box about the role of a guitar) but that is a far cry from mimicking. Traditional Irish music seems to also be a big influence, but we don't see it discussed often.

The entire interview is online here:
http://www.amnesta.net/edge_delay/mu...zine_1986.html
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:24 AM   #13
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I have seen comparsions to David Gilmour and Pete Townshend.
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Flying FuManchu
Edge does not sound like Verlaine. Verlaine for one actually does solos and plays more notes....
That's what I think too. I mean, you can hear some similarities here and there, but Edge is far more minimalistic. Edge would never do the solo from Marquee Moon. The only time I think that Edge did truly sound like Tom Verlaine was in the early U2 songs. Street Mission, for instance, with the long solo.
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Old 05-02-2006, 11:55 AM   #15
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Re: Re: U2 stole from who?? (influence question)

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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


They stole every riff and piece of music from this guy named Johnny O' Connor. No one's ever heard of him because they keep him locked in Bono's basement, they only bring him out when they are about to write an album, they ask what he's been working on, Johnny plays them his new tunes, they learn them and then lock him back up. He got a little mention in Mysterious Ways...


Awesome answer. So true.
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
I have seen comparsions to David Gilmour and Pete Townshend.
Personally, that seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by ntalwar


Personally, that seems like a bit of a stretch to me.
Tell me about it. There are maybe two songs played by Dave Gilmour that sound Edge-like. Take It Back and Run Like Hell. Other than that, they are nothing alike.
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:49 PM   #18
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Here's a 1987 U2 interview, in which they talk about their influences, among many other topics:

http://snow.prohosting.com/crasio/u2/Musician8700.html
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:58 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2girl
I have seen comparsions to David Gilmour and Pete Townshend.


Hmm, not so much in my opinion. I think you can find some sound resemblances mostly because of the effects that are used, indeed reverb and delay which are classics for Edge and Gilmour. But in the end they play (and sound also) very different, Dave Gilmour is more psychedelic and plays lots of solos. Edge is ,like we know, the "gifted minimalist genius"
But you just talk about comparisions, so far ok!
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:27 PM   #20
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I didn't see it either, personally.
(not that I heard much outside of Best of's from The Who or Pink Floyd)

Gilmour reminds me of Radiohead and I think Townshend is more of a solo/power chord guitar player than Edge.
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