Bono recalls the little white lie that led to U2’s first big break

U2 frontman Bono was Stephen Colbert‘s guest on Thursday’s edition of CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert promoting his new book, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, and revealed the clever, if not so honest way they got their big break.

“When we were kids…we had a big TV producer…come into our high school, cause he heard we wrote our own songs. And it was a break, gonna get our big break, on the national [television]. And we were arguing about how the song was going, it wasn’t going anywhere, none of the songs,” Bono told Colbert.

As they were arguing back and forth, Bono said, they heard a knock on the door, which turned out to be the TV exec.

“What are we gonna do? What are we gonna tell him? What are we gonna say,?” Bono recalls the band saying to each other. “And he walks in and [he says] ‘You write your own songs?…Could you play me one?"” Bono adds that he and bandmates EdgeAdam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. “improvised” by playing The Ramones‘ “Glad to See You Go,” claiming it was theirs.

That deception got U2 a TV appearance, though Bono was quick to explain that they did actually perform one of their own songs on the show.

Bono also performed a partly spoken-word, down-tempo orchestral version of the U2 The Joshua Tree classic “With or Without You.”

Surrender, out now, follows Bono from his childhood in Dublin, to the loss of his mother when he was 14, to the founding of U2 and their rise to global stardom. It also covers his activism, including his work to fight AIDS and extreme poverty.

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