The Rejection Letter U2 Got.

Afraid of being rejected?

Afraid someone who matters, will tell you that your dream doesn’t?

Afraid people won’t like whatever it is you like to create?

Welcome to the club.

Here’s the rejection letter Bono and U2 got in 1979.


The simple truth is that anything great always comes with great rejection.

You don’t get to be awesome without receiving awesome amounts of rejection.

The only books without 1 star reviews are the ones that were never finished.

Did you get rejected? Good, you just joined a prestigious club that includes Bono, me, and everyone else who ever did anything fun.

Long live rejection and the people who don’t stop in the face of it!

About Author

Jon Acuff
Jon Acuff


  1. On the subject of musical groups being rejected, The Beatles were rejected by Decca, who said “guitar groups are on the way out” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.” Ha!

  2. Dan McDonald

    And of course there is Capitol Records initial comment to one of their singers who said there was this band from Liverpool they needed to sign. Capitol Records informed the singer that people were no longer into a band with three guitarists and a drummer. Sometimes if you do what you are good at doing you will create a niche market or a mass market. Capitol Records did eventually sign the group but at a considerably higher price than they would have if they had listened to the singer touring the British Isles who reported the phenomenon going on in Liverpool.

  3. I do not fear rejection as much as over-saturation. There are so many blogs and books out there, to be noticed is the challenge. So far I have not met any rejection or negativity. I am thankful!

  4. Jake Jenkins

    On his 19th birthday no less. Bad form.

  5. Thanks Jon. Rejection is tough but I have been thinking that if I can view it differently, it is a positive thing. Robert D. Smith told me to eat NOs for breakfast. So, that’s what I’m gonna do! 🙂

    • Heidi B

      Mark Burnett, massively successful Hollywood producer, says he’s learned to hear NO as ‘next opportunity.’ Awesome perspective to help you keep moving forward.

  6. Love this! Since I’m a U2 fan it’s sad to think what if they stopped with their dream at that rejection letter. I’m glad they didn’t listen to rejection.

  7. April

    I read somewhere that most authors get at least 20-100 rejections before their first acceptance. So I created a bedazzled “Rejection Folder” so I can celebrate getting closer to a “Yes!” Helped change my perspective on rejection 🙂

    • Sarah

      What a fantastically fun idea! Way to go all Pollyanna on it – that’s my favorite way to look at things too. 🙂 Very cool!

  8. I love reading stories such as this. There are MANY well-known, highly successful authors who received lots of rejections. I love hearing about an author’s journey to publications. Sometimes it’s quick and easy, but more likely it isn’t. My problem is getting through the final editing and revisions stage to even get my manuscript ready for submission.

  9. I love a few Nos every now and then. It’s just proof that I’m dreaming big enough.
    Pure comfort & emotional safety = TINY dreams

  10. I’ve got one of those letters somewhere. Published myself instead.

  11. my band had the same response, i mean the “exactly” response no more no less more then 100 times, they don’t seem to think our music is not what they are looking for at the moment 🙂

  12. Joe

    Curious where Alexander Sinclair is today. Certainly not as famous as U2.

  13. I love these rejection stories. Another thing to notice is sometimes it is easier to overcome rejection with a group as u2 did so many years ago. Many times we try to do everything alone, but if we have a support group (i.e. mastermind, Facebook group, family, mentors, ect) to help us look past the rejection and negativity then it makes things a little easier swallow.

  14. Great thought Jon. I did not write for the longest time because of a fear of rejection. Rejection is there but so is a big group of people that want to hear what I have to say. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

  15. I just started using mail chimp last week and although I added 20+ new folks, I lost 2. At first I struggled with it because I felt rejected. However, I’ve learned that not everyone will want to listen to the music I create. I’ve got to keep playing! Thanks Jon!

  16. I got rejected today, I knew it wasn’t a big deal but it put a cloud on my day 🙁

  17. Paul Pennington

    An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information.

    Bo Bennett

  18. I managed rock bands for 11 years. It took 5 endless years of rejection to get my first deal in Hollywood with a & M Records. Withing 2 years i had 7 recording and publishing deals. I received the above letter from every single company (including the ones that ended up signing my bands) that existed. NY, LA, London, Nashville… 7 days a week i cam e home to this same letter. Not sure why or how i put up with it. I was young and bold. It shaped who i am today. A warrior. A survivor.

  19. sorry for all the typos. I had sent this while moving on a shaky plane…

  20. Rebecca Afuga

    This is of great encouragement to me I’m determined to move on with all my projects a midst several rejection i will believe the report of the Lord. thank you Jon

  21. Jon, your posts always seem so well timed for my life. In reality, rejection is a universal message but it’s nice to know that anyone attempting awesome is subject to rejection before acceptance.
    Thanks for writing and please keep it up! You inspire so many!

  22. Their logo is a red cow?

    I think U2 dodged a bullet.

  23. Matthew clay

    And what do you say to the millions who have tried & never had success they’re whole life?

  24. Maybe rejection is a rite of passage. Sometimes it’s a good thing, right? Besides, Jesus was rejected by, well, everyone. (Did you like that Jesus juke I just pulled? 🙂 )

  25. Some rejection letters are just plain mean. But the fact that you’re getting rejected just means you’re in the game.

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  27. Loved this reminder. As a voiceover talent, my auditions are “rejected” far more than accepted but I’ve learned to be thankful for the opportunity to practice, submit and showcase what I do for projects the voice seeker might have in the future.

  28. I am a huge fan of U2, but when reading that rejection letter, we are making a mistake if we assume the record label was listening to something great. the demo may very well have been awful. Perhaps U2 signed with Island because they improved.

  29. Shara

    I’d like to bet Alexander Sinclair and RSO Records feel like idiots.

  30. Thank you for this reminder.
    It reminds me of how Andy Andrews talk about rejection http://www.andyandrews.com/the-worst-rejections-i-ever-received/

    This band has united so many, even in the simple way that they are the default music when people get in my vehicle. They are not “heavy,” but not still upbeat.

    Thank you Sir.