President Joe Biden thanked U2 for “the way you uplift people”.
The Irish rock legends – Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. – were honoured at the White House for their contributions to the arts at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. on Sunday night (04.12.22), and the Commander In Chief hailed the ‘Vertigo’ band for making music that unites people.
Biden began: “From this Irish American president in a White House designed by Irish hands, thank you for all you have done and the way you lift people up.
“To see each other, to see ourselves in one another, to unite in common cause – tonight we celebrate a truly exceptional . . . group of artists.”
The world leader went on to quote a poignant lyric from U2’s 1992 track ‘One’, which was penned about tensions within the group and the German reunification.
Biden said of the make-or-break single: “At a moment we would do well to remember when there is too much hate, too much division and too much anger in America and, quite frankly, around the world, as [U2’s] song goes: ‘We are one, we are not the same, we get to carry each other.'”
The tribute to U2 also saw comedian Sacha Baron Cohen poke fun at Bono and co – referring to the band as “Me Too” – and giving a nod to their 2014 album, ‘Songs of Innocence’, which was automatically installed in iTunes accounts without users’ consent.
Cohen read a message in Kazakh and then said: “It translates to mean ‘Please remove your wretched album from my new iPhone 6.”
George Clooney, singers Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, and composer Tania Leó were also among the honourees.