The new U2 album "No Line on the Horizon" does not go on sale till next Tuesday but advance word is strong. This will be the 12th studio album for the Irish rockers and the first since 2004's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." As part of the promotional effort which has them appearing all next week on "The Late Show With David Letterman," U2 premiered the first single — "Get on Your Boots" — on the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards telecast. And U2 could well be back at next year's Grammys as nominees for an array of awards including album of the year, a prize they have won twice before ("The Joshua Tree," 1988; "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," 2006) .
In total, U2 has won 22 Grammys spread out over 11 categories. That haul ties the group with Stevie Wonder. However, Wonder has won three album of the year Grammys as did Paul Simon and the late Frank Sinatra.
While the band's first five albums failed to break through with Grammy voters all that changed with disc No. 6 — "The Joshua Tree." U2 won album of the year in 1988 and the first of seven rock duo or group awards (the other wins in that category came in 1989, 1993, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2006).
U2's next studio album "Achtung Baby" lost album of the year to Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" in 1993. While "Zooropa" won the alternative album award in 1995, U2's follow-up "Pop" went flat with Grammy nominators. "All That You Can't Leave Behind" contended for the top prize in 2002 but lost to the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack. But "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" won album of the year in 2006.
Besides their two album of the year Grammys, U2 has won record of the year twice — "Beautiful Day" (2001); and "Walk On" (2002) — and song of the year twice as well — "Beautiful Day" (2001); and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" (2006). And in addition to those seven Grammys for rock group, U2 has won rock album twice — "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (2002); and "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" (2006) — and rock song twice — "Vertigo" (2005) and "City of Blinding Light" (2006). And they have three video wins — performance ("Where the Streets Have No Name," 1989); long-form ("Zoo TV," 1995); and short-form ("Vertigo," 2005) — as well as single wins for alternative album ("Zooropa," 1995) and pop group ("Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," 2002).
U2's and Stevie Wonder's 22 Grammys are four less than Alison Krauss (26). Quincy Jones has 27. The all-time record is held by Sir Georg Solti (31), former conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Next February could be a very busy month for U2. Besides the need to perhaps attend the Grammys next February, one half of the group — Bono and The Edge — will be premiering their first Broadway musical. They have written the songs for a show based on "Spider-Man" which is reported to be budgeted at a record-breaking $40 million. That should make for quite the Broadway debut for them. And if everything comes together, they could be winning Tonys as well as Grammys next year.
Photo: Interscope Records