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Bono discusses the origin of his nickname

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ABC/Paula Lobo

Although he was born Paul Hewson, most people know him as U2’s Bono thanks to the nickname Bonovox, given to him by a friend when he was very young — although that wasn’t the first nickname he was given. Bono confirms to Virgin Radio UK that his good friend once gave him a much longer name, but apparently it didn’t stick.

“I’ve been called a lot of things over the years,” he shares. “I was 3 years old, [my friend] was 4, and we had a sort of street gang into our teens and I had many nicknames. I’m very pleased that I qualified to Bono, though even that is tricky in some quarters.”

As for why he and The Edge decided to stick with their nicknames when they became famous, Bono explains, “The really significant thing is, I suppose, that we decided to be called by those names when we went out into the public because it implies a kind of intimacy with your audience, which is nice.” 

He adds, “Some people will occasionally come up to me and say, ‘Hey, Paul, how are you doing, Paul?’ as if that’s getting close. The last person to call me Paul was my dad, and he’s dead. So don’t call me Paul.”

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