Bono pays tribute to dad who inspired love of music

It was Bono and his older brother, Norman, who used to tell their dad to turn the music down in the Hewson household.

It was Bono and his older brother, Norman, who used to tell their dad to turn the music down in the Hewson household.

The lead singer of U2, Paul Hewson, or Bono, who was speaking at the funeral of his father, Mr Brendan Robert Hewson (75), said it was his father's passion for music that first instilled in him the desire to get involved in a band.

"Dad had a beautiful tenor voice," he said, and his father's links with the Coolock Musical Society led to his being known as "the merry widow".

Accompanied on the guitar by the Edge, Bono sang Sometimes You Can't Make It On your Own towards the end of the service. Earlier the tenor, Ronan Tynan, sang Ave Maria.


There was also music at the hour-long service at the Church of the Assumption in Howth from former Virgin Prunes singer, Gavin Friday, who sang The Wayfaring Stranger, accompanied on the accordion by Mr Maurice Seezer.

Members of the Coolock Musical Society performed The Lord's My Shepherd and there were readings from a number of Mr Hewson's grandchildren, including from Ms Lesley Hewson, daughter of Bono's brother, Norman.

Bono and his brother led the mourners. The singer arrived with his wife, Ali. Pausing for a moment for photographers, he carried his son, Elijah (2), while Ali carried their youngest child, John, who was born earlier this year. Their daughters, Jordan (11) and Eve (9), were also with them.

All three of Bono's fellow band members, Larry Mullen, the Edge - real name David Evans - and Adam Clayton were at the service, as were other leading members of the Irish rock music community.

These included U2's manager, Mr Paul McGuinness, former Boyzone singer Ronan Keating and his wife, Yvonne, former member of the Virgin Prunes, Guggi Rowan, music promoter Mr Oliver Barry, former Golden Horde singer, Simon Carmody, and former manager of the Hot House Flowers, Mr Robbie Wooton. Former Dubliners singer Ronnie Drew and onetime Horslips guitarist Barry Devlin were also there.

The music video producer, Mr Ned O'Hanlon; conductor Mr Andy O'Kelly; 2FM radio DJ Gerry Ryan; father of family group The Corrs, Mr Gerry Corr; president of MTV Europe, Mr Brent Hansen; director of the Chernobyl Children's Project, Ms Adi Roche; artist Louis Le Brocquy; sound engineer Mr Joe O'Herlihy; film director Jim Sheridan; and chef Mr Conrad Gallagher were also among the mourners. Wreaths were sent from, among others, the Australian band INXS and the Corrs.

A small crowd of U2 fans and well-wishers gathered outside the church in the rain. The service remained largely private despite a large media presence outside. Bono and his brother carried the coffin from the church, with the help of Mr Mullen and the Edge, to the music of The Black Hills of Dakota.

The service was followed by burial at Balgriffin cemetery.

U2 play the first of two sell-out concerts at Slane today. Some 160,000 tickets were sold for the two concerts. The second takes place next Saturday.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times