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Killing Bono: I Was Bono's Doppelganger

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  578 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Longtime friend and reporter, Neil McCormick, reveals childhood and present day stories about Bono and his band, U2.

Some are born great.
Some achieve greatness.
Some have greatness thrust upon them.
And some have the misfortune
to go to school with Bono.

Everyone wants to be famous. But as a young punk in Dublin in the 1970s, Neil McCormick's ambitions went way beyond mere
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 19th 2004 by MTV Books (first published 2004)
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Jo Ann
Mar 18, 2016 Jo Ann rated it liked it
Being part of a committed book club, and being one of those committed members, means you read books out of your comfort/interest zone...this is one of those books for me. I am out of my element when it comes to rock stars/musicians...but, like most such books like this, I'm glad I had the opportunity to read and discuss this book that Elton John recommended as the best book to read about the music business. Neil McCormick went to school with Bono, and was determined that HE would become the succ ...more
May 14, 2009 Erin rated it really liked it
This book was written by a childhood friend of Bono, who struggled to make it in the music business while watching U2 become the most successful band in the world. I was really interested in the backstory on Bono and the genesis of U2. Then, I also became really engaged in the author's story and thought his frustrations were compelling and emotional. This book provides a great look at the music industry of the 1980s and the life of wannabe musicians.
Jun 06, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Neil McCormick went to school with Bono and the rest of the members of U2 and this true story is all about how Neil's life went in a very different direction than Bono's even though he also wanted to be a famous rock star. This true story is all about how you can be so sure that you want something and that it is going to happen because you want it so much. Lif doesn't always work out that way but it doesn't mean that you didn't learn anything or that you can't enjoy it. Also i ...more
Jun 14, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this after watching the movie version and I enjoyed it as much as I did the movie.
Neil writes in an honest, open manner and you can't help admire he and his brother for their persistence after taking more knock backs than most other people would stick around to take! At times it seems everything was standing in their way and I am actually surprised they managed to keep going in London, trying to get record deals, as long as they did, many others would probably have sloped off back to Irel
Sep 18, 2013 GT rated it really liked it
No intentional spoilers, but wow, this guy (the author - Neil McCormick) has what Winston Churchill respected... he never, ever, ever gives up. Ever. Churchill actually said "Never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty...". Churchill also said, " is the courage to continue that counts". This book has nothing to do with Churchill and everything to do with McCormick's courage and drive to find success as a musician / pop star. As I've never heard of Mc ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Alex rated it really liked it
An autobio of Neil McCormick, an aspiring rocker-turned-music journalist who happened to go to school with the lads from U2. The book doesn't actually do anything as a bio of U2, instead it's a bio of someone who happened to cross paths several times in his life with a group of folks whose fame threatens to eclipse everything he can ever hope to accomplish with his life. Quintessentially Irish and Punk-rock, it's a story of the times.

So there are two main reasons why I enjoyed this book, but if
Erik Ferguson
Oct 10, 2011 Erik Ferguson rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs, music
I have to get back to work (yes, on a Sunday!), so I'll just take a little time to provide a more brief review than this book deserves. I hate to say it, but that time constraint and the fact that I picked up my copy of Killing Bono at the airport while on a work-related trip illustrate my getting caught up in the normal pattern where I've had to squeeze the arts into the cracks between clicking a mouse all day. The irony is that my life is exactly what Neil McCormick spent decades trying to avo ...more
Apr 08, 2013 Robin rated it liked it
It's all very good to read the biographies of successful artistis. But what about the people who don't make it, who have talent, but it just doesn't somehow work out. We rarely read about those people that are the greater percent of the population, and who frankly, most of us understand.

Neil McCormick tells the story of his attempt to be a rock musician. He grew up with Bono, and so was constantly witnessing U2's great success, and comparing himself with the super famous Bono. McCormick reveals
Jan 31, 2013 Phoenix rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of U2, and everyone that is a fan of something probably has questions. How did it start? Who/what are the inspirations? Who got the idea to start it? Blah, blah, blah.... Killing Bono answers pretty much all of those questions: The U2 guys all went to school together. They were inspired by the Ramones and Sex Pistols. Larry Mullen spread the word about starting a band.
Not only does Neil McCormick talk about the U2 guys, but he talks about how he tried and was part of the band wh
Doris Evans-McCarthy
Apr 14, 2012 Doris Evans-McCarthy rated it it was amazing
This book was an excellent read for anyone who wants to know why some people "make it" in the fickle music industry and some don't. Neil McCormick and his classmates who went on to form U2 started their bands at roughly the same time. They had the same audiences, the same peers, and even supported one another on stage. So why did U2 make it and Shook Up! fail to find its audience? Read the book. You'll be shocked at how many little decisions, how many little twists in the road can take you far f ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it
Despite occasionally drifting into a slightly bitter tone, Killing Bono is generally an amusingly written self deprecating memoir of a man whose ambitions and an accident of birth coincide to keep him pursuing a dream of rock stardom long after he should have given it up. It's kind of a shame, really, as McCormick is a good writer and many years of opportunity to write were lost to his desire to achieve pop stardom. The ongoing appearances of Bono, the rest of U2 and various other denizens of th ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Kelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny and real and painfully honest. A great insight to the industry as well, for anyone considering a career in the creative industries.
Apr 05, 2016 Stargazer rated it liked it
A must for u2 fans to get more insight into bono in particular, and for anyone about to give up. This guy has tenacity in spades! Hats off to him...
Kim Milar
Jan 24, 2016 Kim Milar rated it really liked it
Interesting book that gives another view of the band known as U2 and the front man known as Bono before he was Bono.
Darren Shan
Jan 24, 2012 Darren Shan rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, informative, moving look at what happens to pop or rock wannabes who don't make it. Neil McCormick went to school with Bono and the other members of U2, and harboured dreams of being a pop star. but while their career soared, his slowly crashed and burnt. He captures the slow, painful death of his dreams in lovingly excruciating detail -- but also shows how he found a way to live and deal with the disappointments of live, and how he came through the other side finally smiling. He ...more
Failing to break into international rock stardom understandably smarts far less if you do not happen to have gone to school with not just one but all four members of U2.

Very different from the film Killing Bono, this oozes self-deprecating humour, as the author recalls how each and every one of his musical projects fell through, while his friend and rival went on to conquer the planet.

The redemption that is finally achieved does not feel in the least phony, and even Bono comes across as surprisi
Feb 01, 2007 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: U2 fans, music fans
An interesting book, catalouging the rise to fame of U2 from a completely novel album, as well as seeing the counterpoint struggles of Bono-wannabe, Neil McCormick.

It's a paced read, both gripping and light-hearted. The author pokes fun at himself, particularly for taking himself so seriously. Some chapters make you laugh out loud, others make your teeth clench in anger for opportunities lost. The rest is just a rollercoaster ride of music, men and ire.

A must read for die-hard Bono fans, people
Feb 15, 2013 Kitty rated it really liked it
Every music lover should read this book. It's a bittersweet tale of making it and breaking it in music business.

If you don't like or don't care about U2 just pretend that this book is a work of fiction and enjoy the wit and candor of the author's amusing storytelling. If you do like them you'll get the extra treat of reading about familiar names in U2's history throughout the book.

I found myself looking forward to Neil's next book but I realized he has only one life story to tell. So now I wish
Sammi Fredenburg
Jan 02, 2016 Sammi Fredenburg rated it it was amazing
This book was great, I read it twice.
Adam Wilcox
Mar 11, 2016 Adam Wilcox rated it it was amazing
The film definitely took some liberties with this book. I found the book more entertaining, had to feel sorry for Neil Mcormick.
Jan 04, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this book to anyone who's ever been interested in how the music industry works. Poor Neil McCormick, describes his life journey as a failed musician turned music journalist.

He successfully encompasses both the best and worst of being ambitious, his wins and losses in the 1980's music industry, and wittily describes the jealousy incurred by having to go to high school with someone who would someday become one of the world's biggest (and possibly most notorious) rock stars.
Jeff Kirby
Apr 11, 2009 Jeff Kirby rated it it was amazing
(Written while listening to 'Pop' by U2)

As a die hard U2 fan, I had to read this. I had resisted pulling it off my shelf. Once I did I couldn't put it down. A well written, concise autobiography that also chronicles the rise of U2 and Bono in 300 pages. Along the way I learned all about the tribulations of not making it as a rock star and the definition of rock n' roll lifestyle.

So that's it: my review of a professional reviewer's autobiography.
Janet Merrill
Feb 23, 2011 Janet Merrill rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
a great rock memoir that taps into the struggle of trying to make it in the music industry in the shadow of his childhood friends, U2. Neil has a sharp sense of humor and major attention to detail that draws you into the story and you want to see the guy achieve the rock star status he craves. His relationship with Bono throughout the years is a unique one and whether you like him or not, I liked seeing another side to the bigger than life rock God.
Jaycruz Cruz
Aug 20, 2009 Jaycruz Cruz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: U2 Fans, Anyone that has been in a Garage band.
Shelves: non-fiction, music
If you loved Nick Hornby's High Fidelity you'll love this book. It's the real life story of Neil McCormick, a long time friend of Bono and the U2 band. Music aficionados and musicians specially can really identify with this book, but anyone that has struggled with succeeding at something, the "what it all means" of the quater and mid-life crisis, will enjoy it as well.
Nov 20, 2008 Colleen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: U2 Fans everywhere
I loved this book, but I also absolutely LOVE U2. It was a fun read about a guy (Neil) that grew up with Bono, Larry, the Edge, and Adam, who was also struggling to make it in the music biz, while it seemed to come too easy for U2. Some great stories about the early days of U2, the first time the band performed (high school talent show), and how they became such huge stars while still keeping themselves in tact. I loved it!
Mar 27, 2011 Villate rated it really liked it
Funny and informative. It was interesting to get a behind-the-scenes view of some of the bands I loved as a kid (and still love) and to see McCormick's journey from self-absorbed, delusional punk kid to self-absorbed, somewhat successful grown-up. Loses a star for the rather sappy and self-congratulatory ending, but I am definitely glad I read it and will pass it on to other children of the 1980s.
Marcus Gosling
Jan 07, 2013 Marcus Gosling rated it liked it
A unique tale. I always wonder how famous people must look to the people that knew them before and saw them grow up. Bono and team come across as very unique people, very resistant to the typical pitfalls of stardom. The author's own story is also very interesting and chronicles an ultimately very successful career, albeit in the massive shadow of a global superstar. An entertaining read.
Oct 19, 2008 Caron rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes U2
Recommended to Caron by: Sandra and Jim Dobson
If you like U2, you will love this book. It was written by an old schoolmate of Bono, who spends the better part of his life trying to become a rock star, and therefore begrudging Bono's/U2's success. It's a great inside look to how U2 formed, and has lots of inside stories about musicians and the music business. I've never read anything like it and I definitely recommend it.
Dec 04, 2013 Willy rated it really liked it
Its a great book. I have to say Im partial to music , being a musician and a somewhat fan of U2. However, while the books brings the story of U2, its more about the biography of the Author, which he can lay down in an interesting and funny form. I would recommend this book to anyone, but mostly to musicians, since the author describes his adventures in the music label industry.
Jun 15, 2011 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Neil McCormick wanted to be a pop star and he tried real hard, but he didn't do as well as his school chums Bono and the Edge. It works both as a really interesting personal memoir about trying to make it big and not knowing when to stop, and a close to the source look at how U2 became U2. I came away with a new perspective on Bono and rest of U2. Recommended.
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