Taken by famed Japanese photographic artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, the image immediately appealed to Bono because of the rare medical condition he has suffered from for many years egoinflatocitis maxima. This means that the diminutive Irish singer and world-famous tax evader suffers from what is commonly called a massive inflated ego. Bono's case is particularly severe and manifests itself as an irrational longing for larger and larger spaces in which his 'god-like' ego will not feel cramped and confined.
This is the main reason why U2 switched from being a pub band to playing exclusively in roofless stadiums, where Bono's limitless ego can feel at one with the stars. It also explains his hankering after deserts and large empty airports, two other visual themes explored on earlier U2 album covers.
But it was the Sugimoto picture that struck the deepest chord with the name-changing musical leprechaun with a penchant for moral posturing. Showing a vast empty ocean under an enormous empty sky, the picture almost caused Bono to grow a second aquatic ego almost as large as his sky-borne one.
For the latest U2 album, due out later
The Revenge of Riff Raff
4th May, 2013