I am co-teaching a class with Barry Taylor this quarter and I love it! Barry and I go a a few years back -- we both shared the same mentor (Wilbert Shenk, postmodern Western missiologist) and the same passions: investigating post-Christendom forms of spiritual engagement with Western culture. We've also shared a deep admiration and passion for the music of U2. For years we discussed teaching a class on their music, their engagement of the culture, and their spirituality. Last year we decided we should move beyond the 'good idea' stage and just do it.
We just finished the fourth week of the class. It has been a good ride. Barry situated rock music in terms of its relationship to other genres. He discussed the punk scene in Ireland and Great Britain in the 1970s which formed the backdrop for U2. Barry, a Brit, a former roadie for AC/DC, and an accomplished musician himself, has experience that matches his academic credentials. He brings alot to these discussions.
Barry also discussed the shift rock music made in relation to technological advances. The move from vinyl to CD to IPOD represented dramatic changes, as well as the advance of studio recording equipment. The advent of MTV greatly transformed the landscape as well. All of these changes (among many others) formed the context in which U2 came to be.