U2 to receive iHeartRadio Innovator Award – how the band changed rock

The group will receive the Innovator Award at April's iHeartRadio awards ceremony. Works by U2 such as their album 'Achtung Baby' have been hailed as influential for the rock genre.

Rich Fury/Invision/AP
Bono of U2 performs at the Innocence + Experience Tour at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. in 2015.

Irish rock band U2 will receive an iHeartRadio Innovator Award at this year’s ceremony put on by the Internet radio service.

The iHeartRadio Awards will be held on April 3 and will air on TBS, truTV, and TNT. 

Past recipients of the Innovator Award include Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake. 

iHeartRadio said in a statement that they are honoring "the iconic group U2 for their undeniable impact on the world of popular culture and will pay tribute to their unparalleled contributions to the music industry and social causes." 

Other music acts that are nominated for prizes at this year’s iHeartRadio Awards include Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, and Adele, all of whom are nominated for both the album of the year and the song of the year prize. iHeartMedia was previously known as Clear Channel Communications. The service iHeartRadio brings together various radio stations, podcasts, and other media for users.

U2 is receiving the Innovator Award as the band reaches its 40th  anniversary. The band, which includes Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton, has released such albums as “War,” “The Joshua Tree,” and “Achtung Baby.” 

Their most recent work, 2014’s “Song of Innocence,” came in at number nine on the Billboard 200, which measures album sales and streaming history.

Critics have cited the band as an influential act in music in the decades since U2 released their debut album in 1980. Spin writers named “Achtung” as the best album of the past 25 years in a recent list.

“[The album] would energize their career and genetically engineer rock music into the hybridized mutant we know today,” Spin staff wrote. “… U2’s most immediately dynamic music since 1982’s 'War,' and its most emotionally frank songs to date … U2 became the emblematic band of the alternative-rock era with 'Achtung Baby.'”

The group recently weathered criticism for the manner in which “Songs of Innocence” was released, with the album being added automatically to iTunes users’ music libraries. Rolling Stone writer David Fricke called the album’s launch “troubled.” 

However, critics continue to point to the band’s achievements. "Few bands as far into their career as U2 have recorded an album as adventurous or fulfilled their ambitions quite as successfully as they do on 'Achtung Baby,'" AllMusic writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote of the band's album.

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