I think that "Gloria" was one of the first videos I saw on the fledgling MTV back in the day, and I'd heard nothing like it. The guitar riffs from The Edge and the voce of Bono Vox were all new to me (I must have been around 13), and I really liked what I heard. I also developed an immediate crush on Bono. And somehow it made sense to me that U2 was not from the U.S.
Once I found out the name of the group, I was determined to watch MTV to see if they would do any other videos, and they did not disappoint. "Two Hearts Beat as One" and "New Year's Day" sealed the deal for me (and it was also when I noticed Larry Mullen, Jr.), and I was a fan of U2. Both of those songs are classics, total classics, and "War" was the first U2 album (yes, album) that I bought.
I don't think I'd considered the idea that U2 had a political perspective of any sort until I actually listened to the songs "Sunday, Bloody Sunday," and eventually "Pride (In the Name of Love)." The latter still gives me chills when I listen to it, just incredible.
By the time "The Joshua Tree" came out, I was a freshman in college, and I totally remember a good friend of mine from one of the nearby women's colleges calling to tell me that she'd heard "With or Without You," and to prepare for the goodness. She was so money with that assessment. I loved every track on "The Joshua Tree," particularly "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," and "Bullet the Blue Sky."
U2 is still doing it after all of these years, and sometimes it is hard to believe that it's the same group that I happened to see at random all those years ago. They have definitely done Ireland proud, and they gave a black teen from Virginia some great music to remember.