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McGuinness departure 'end of era'


Paul McGuinness. Photo: Frank McGrath

Paul McGuinness. Photo: Frank McGrath

Paul McGuinness. Photo: Frank McGrath

THE news that Paul McGuinness is to stand down as U2 manager has been described as "the end of an era" by film-maker Barry Devlin.

Horslips singer Devlin goes almost as far back with Bono and Co as the man U2 call Magoo.

Not only did he produce one of their first demos in 1978, he went on to direct their most iconic promos, including I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For in 1987.

Devlin said McGuinness's decision to take a less hands-on role with U2 was a seminal moment in rock history.

"Paul is like Alex Ferguson, probably the longest-serving manager in the business, and the first and only manager U2 have ever had," he told the Herald. "He was there from the beginning.

"Brian Epstein was with the Beatles for only four or five years, but Paul McGuinness has been with U2 for over 30 years. They could not have had a better manager.

"But Paul was adamant it remained a client-manager relationship. There were principles involved, and that's why he called his company Principle Management."

It was touring with U2 in America to promote The Joshua Tree in 1987 that Devlin saw how the band and manager worked together.

"Paul knew where U2 needed to go and gave them everything they needed to get there. He trusted them with the music," he said.

"In turn, they supplied hit after hit. It was an incredible thing to watch from me having been in a band that hadn't delivered," he added, referring to his past as the singer with Horslips.

U2 insiders are said to have heard some weeks ago that McGuinness (62) was in talks to sell Principle Management for a reported $30m (€22m) and hand over U2's day-to-day management to Madonna's manager, Guy Oseary.

"With U2's tours booked by Live Nation, maybe Paul wants a new challenge," a source said.