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Famous Like Me > Composer > C > Adam Clayton

Profile of Adam Clayton on Famous Like Me

Name: Adam Clayton  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 13th March 1960
Place of Birth: Chinnor, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Adam Clayton

Adam Charles Clayton (born March 13, 1960 in Chinnor, Oxford, England), is the British bass player for the Irish rock band, U2. Often refered by Bono as the poshest member of the band, Adam is well known for his bass playing on songs like Where the Streets Have No Name, New Years Day, and With or Without You.


Adam was born the eldest child of Brian, an RAF pilot, and Jo Clayton in Oxfordshire, England on 13th March 1960. At the age of 5, the family moved to Yellow Walls Road in Malahide near Dublin, where sister Sarah and brother Sebastian were born.

Adam attended private boarding school St. Columba's in Rathfarnham, but hated it. Being a bit of a hippy, Adam's freewheeling personality was at odds with the structured environment. He later switched to Mount Temple High School (Ireland's first ecumenical school,) where he was to meet U2 bandmates Paul "Bono" Hewson, Dave "The Edge" Evans and Larry Mullen Jr. Mullen had posted an advertisement for musicians. Adam ignored it at first, believing it was a school-sponsored event. When he discovered that it wasn't, he showed up at the first practice, which also included Dik Evans, Dave's older brother. When Dik Evans left, the fledgling band that would become U2 was created. They were known first as Feedback, then The Hype. He also served as the band's first manager before Paul McGuinness, a more experienced manager, was hired.

Adam's ambiguous religious beliefs caused a rift with his three outspoken Christian bandmates which peaked between the time of their second album, "October" (1982) and their third album, "War" (1983) Reportedly Adam Clayton was being treated as a bit of an outsider until manager Paul McGuinness came to his aid. To smooth over the rift, Adam was asked to be Bono's best man at his wedding.

In 1986, U2 recorded what is considered by many to be their first masterpiece: 1987's The Joshua Tree album, at Danesmoate House. Adam later bought the home for approximately E380,000. It is hidden away behind Taylors Pub on Kellystown Road, Rathfarnham.

Adam's name made world headlines in August 1989 when he was arrested in Dublin and charged with possession of a small amount of cannabis. He avoided a conviction by making a sizable donation to charity.


U2's sound is essentially built around The Edge's effects-laden guitar work and Larry Mullen's militaristic drumming. While Adam Clayton will probably never be confused with Cream's Jack Bruce or The Who's John Entwistle, Clayton's often uncomplicated bass playing serves as a solid foundation for U2's songs. But even on songs where the basslines are busier and more up front in the mix (as it is on "Gloria", "The Three Sunrises", and "Bullet the Blue Sky",) Adam Clayton's playing is a study in tasteful restraint and how to play for the song. Clayton switches between finger-style and pick-style with ease, and occasionally throws in some funk-style slapping and popping.


In 1983 Adam made a rare singing appearance on "Endless Deep", a b-side to U2s "Sunday Bloody Sunday" single.

Adam and Bono, lead singer of U2, contributed to the 1984 African famine charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?." Adam played bass.

On the 1995 album Original Soundtracks No. 1, Adam can be heard speaking the last verse on the song "Your Blue Room".

In 1996 Adam co-arranged, and spoke on, "Tomorrow ('96 Version)", a rerecording of a U2 song originally featured on the "October" album.

Adam was winner of the Best Bassist award in the Orville H. Gibson Guitar Award in both 2001 and 2002.

Though he is the bass player for one of the biggest bands in the world, Clayton did not have any formal music training until 1996.

Solo Projects

Adam played bass on Robbie Robertson 1987 self-titled album. Adam has also contributed to albums by Maria McKee.

Adam Clayton played bass on "Still Water" and "Jolie Louise" on Daniel Lanois 1989 album "Acadie"

In 1994 Adam contributed to Nanci Griffiths 1994 album "Flyer" on the following songs - "These Days in an Open Book", "Don't Forget About Me", "On Grafton Street" and "This Heart". Larry Mullen Jr also contributed to these songs.

Adam and Larry Mullen Jr recorded soundtrack, including the theme song, for the 1996 remake of the movie Mission: Impossible. In 1997 The "Theme From Mission: Impossible" was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Adam Clayton