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Boomtown Rats

Two things come to mind when discussing the Boomtown Rats - the song "I Don't Like Mondays" and frontman Bob Geldof's charity work.

The sextet formed in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland and were named after a gang of children mentioned in Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory.

Relocating to London in '76, the Boomtown Rats became part of the Punk movement. Their debut single "Lookin' After No. 1" landed on the U.K.'s Top 40 chart and was followed by the group self-titled debut album in '77.

A year later, "Tonic For The Troops" dropped containing the singles "Like Clockwork", "She's So Modern" and "Rat Trap." The latter was produced by Mutt Lange, who was on his way to achieving his legendary status. "Rat Trap" went to #1 on the U.K. survey.

On January 29th, '79, Brenda Ann Spencer went on a shooting spree as students arrived at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego. Two were killed and eight others were injured. When Spencer was asked why she did it, she responded saying, "I don't like Mondays; this livens up the day."

Later that year, the Boomtown Rats released "I Don't Like Mondays." It went to #1 in the U.K. and was pretty much a worldwide hit - except, understandably, in the U.S. Radio stations, fearing a backlash or lawsuits, declined to play it. As a result, "I Don't Like Mondays" only reached #73 on the Hot 100. Yet, it was the group's only Top 100 entry.

Their next single "Someone's Looking At You" was another U.K hit but "Banana Republic," issued in '80, proved to be the Boomtown Rats last shot in the Top 10.

Following the release of the album "Mondo Bongo" guitarist Gerry Cott bolted for a brief and relatively unsuccessful solo career.

The Boomtown Rats continued as a quintet releasing their fifth album "V Deep" in '82. Neither singles nor the album had much impact. As a result, concerts got increasingly difficult to book.

It was during this period that Geldof and Midge Ure launched their African anti-poverty efforts. Ure was best known for his work with Thin Lizzy and as the frontman for Ultravox.

The pair founded the charity supergroup Band Aid to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. They co-wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which was recorded by members of U2, Spandau Ballet, Big Country and Duran Duran, plus David Bowie, Sting and, of course, the Boomtown Rats, among countless others.

The song quickly became the #1 all time best selling single in the U.K. That success inspired the U.S. version, "We Are The World." Then there were the Band Aid and Live Aid concerts.

For his efforts, Geldof was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Boomtown Rats final album, "In The Long Grass," didn't seem to benefit from Geldof's high-profile efforts. Singles from the '85 set barely charted in the U.K., if at all, and the album came and went with little notice.

The Boomtown Rats final performance came at Self Aid, an'86 concert featuring many Irish rock stars, to raise awareness of unemployment in Ireland.

Geldof launched a solo career while Simon Crowe and Johnnie Fingers started their own group, Gung Ho.

Boomtown Rats Discography

Studio Albums:

1977 The Boomtown Rats
1978 A Tonic For The Troops
1979 The Fine Art Of Surfacing
1980 Mondo Bongo
1982 V Deep
1985 In the Long Grass

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