Killing Bono: I Was Bono's Doppelganger
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Killing Bono: I Was Bono's Doppelganger

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  459 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Killing Bono Blending a tale of obsession with a uniquely intimate portrait of rock band U2 and its charismatic frontman, this lyrical book takes a new and darkly humorous riff on the rock memoir. Full description
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2004)
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Erin
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.
Nick
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
Cheryl
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...more
GT
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, "...it 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
Alex
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...more
Erik Ferguson
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
Robin
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...more
Phoenix
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...more
Doris Evans-McCarthy
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
Stephen
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
Darren Shan
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
Christine
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...more
Paul
Feb 01, 2007 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Kitty
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...more
Heather
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
(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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Colleen
Nov 20, 2008 Colleen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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!
Villate
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
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.
Caron
Oct 19, 2008 Caron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Willy
Its a great book. I have to say I´m 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.
Frank
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.
Tim
Nice "co-biography" of U2 told through the experiences of the author, a music journalist and former schoolmate of the band members. An aspiring musician himself, Neil McCormick reveals his envy of their success while he struggled to make it in music, though he retains his fondness and friendship with the band. Clever, self-deprecating, and funny.
M
I enjoyed this sarcastic, self-deprecating memoir, both a hilarious and depressing read. Hilarious because McCormick has a really great way of poking fun at his own pomposity and self-aggrandizement, and depressing because it really makes it hit home how ridiculously difficult it is to try to “make it” as an artist of any type in this life.
Bridget
My Uncle gave me this book because he knew I liked U2, and it is a great read for U2 fans. But this book is about more than U2. It's about the author's (who was a school mate of all of U2) attempts to become a rock star.

Anyway, it is the funniest book I've ever read and recommend it to everyone.
Laura
The book was enjoyable. I liked the fact that the book was mostly about Neil seeing as i am not an avid U2 fan. As a person who would like to work in the music industry (wouldn't we all!) learning some of a seasoned musicians mistakes ,and tricks to the music industry is helpful.
Northern K Sunderland
Aug 14, 2008 Northern K Sunderland rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Musician,well on their way to succes, or fumbling down the staircase to obscurity.
An incredibly clear, and hilarious description of the music industry.
Niel McCormick describes his life and career as a failed musician. Whether or not you are not a fan of U2, this has a lot of really great conversations between Niel and Bono, as well as other 80s/90s icons.
Jp
Excellent first person account of growing up in Dublin at the same time as Bono and both aiming to be musicians (for the adrenaline rush, drinks and girls). One of them went on to lead one of the World's most well known rock bands and one of them went on to write this book.
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NEIL MCCORMICK, a Senior Vice President at Talent2, has 30 years’ experience in international management, human resources and consulting.
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