Having something to do with the shape of his head, David Evans was christened The Edge by U2 band mate Paul Hewson a.k.a. Bono Vox. Starting out as The Hype they did covers of Beatles and Rolling Stones. Over the years, with the chunka-chunka guitar lines and classic riffs, The Edge created what every great guitarist must - an instantly recognizable, distinctive and individualized sound. It appears he is attacking the guitar. But it's a layered, controlled effort that works within the content of the song.
In U2, which has a guitar-bass-drums line-up (though Bono does add occasional guitar), it's the guitarist's responsibility to act as the musical leader, riding over the rhythm section (bass and drums), and not burying the singer.
On "Sunday Bloody Sunday" The Edge plays a combination of rhythm and lead guitar that makes the song. Also from the "War" CD, "New Year's Day" features a hard driving bass riff. It might be tempting to mirror the bass line but The Edge adds accents, twists and turns, that keeps the riff alive. The guitar solo takes off and is the high point of the song.
From "The Joshua Tree" "Where The Streets Have No Name" starts with a lengthy organ intro. Soon the guitar fades in with an insistent, demanding rhythm. It travels through the chord progressions changing texture and tone. Then suddenly breaking into the open at the end. In terms of technical difficulty it probably doesn't rate high but knowing what to play and when, is the key. The guitar drives the song without becoming tired or repetitive.
The guitar fades in playing a delicate, sustained line at the beginning of "With or Without You." As the song builds the guitar takes on a harder edge making the riff more pronounced. Then the thing comes roaring home in the chorus.
As U2 worked its way into the '90s the production became denser. Double tracked guitars on "Even Better Than the Real Thing" and "Mysterious Ways" shoot through like controlled explosions.
The nasty wah-wah guitar on "Discotheque" gives way to a hard-driving Rock riff that cuts through like a knife. The blending of both acoustic and a mournful electric slide guitar sets the tone for "Staring At The Sun." The heavy echo used on the second verse builds the song's impact. Never content to repeat guitar parts endlessly, The Edge employed varied tones or styles to develop a song and increase its emotional impact.
Please see U2.