February 04, 2011




Want to feel better? Listen to pop music


Hamilton, Ont. February 04, 2011An analysis of U2, one of the most commercially successful and influential bands of all time, suggests music can play an important role in bettering the health of individuals and society as a whole.

In an article published in the journal Health & Place, Gavin Andrews, a professor in the Department of Health, Aging & Society at McMaster University explores mechanisms ranging from the band’s direct activism and celebrity diplomacy to its music that promotes health causes, or is otherwise used by listeners to enhance their wellbeing on an everyday basis.

“Some celebrities such as Bono are becoming de facto new public intellectuals, among the few people who seem able to effectively deliver messages and challenge large audiences. Yet few popular celebrities have the training to engage with issues in the detailed manner typical of academics and policymakers,” says Andrews.

“On another level attempts to create healing places in and around music have always been part of musical composition and consumption whether it be music by Mozart or by a rock band such as U2. In this sense, the music does not have to openly mention health, but wellbeing can result from its consumption,” he says.

Andrews’ work on U2 is only the start of a much larger project on music and health with colleagues in New Zealand and British Columbia.

They are currently working with other academics on a wide-range of topics including music therapy programs, technologies, music personalities, specific genres and identities—including Indie, Punk and Reggae—and other bands such as The Smiths and Oasis.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.




For more information, please contact:


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager, Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140, ext. 22869