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Bob Geldof K.B.E.

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Famous left-handed guitarist Bob Geldof K.B.E. co-founder of Band Aid has been honoured at the 2005 Brit Awards with a lifetime achievement award. The former Boomtown Rats singer received his award at the event at London's Earls Court in February 2005.

The award came after a new version of the Band Aid single "Do they know it's Christmas" was recorded for charity in November 2004.


Born in Dun Laoghaire, a town close to Dublin on October 5, 1954 (some sites say 1951) Robert Frederick Xenon Geldof did not shine as a child, concocting his own school reports to appease his father, with whom he had a touchy relationship. His mother died when Bob was just seven years old.

Geldof first came to fame in the mid-1970s as leader of the Boomtown Rats, a rock group closely linked with the punk movement.

Their debut single, Lookin' After No. 1, was released in August 1977. It was the first of nine straight singles to make the U.K. Top 15, reaching to 11. The first LP The Boomtown Rats, was released in next month. In November 1978 band appeared on ITV's Get It Together playing their single Rat Trap, taken from their new LP Tonic for the Troops.

A Tonic for the Troops was released in the U.S. on Columbia Records in February 1979 with two tracks from The Boomtown Rats substituted for tracks on the U.K. version. In 1978, they had their first Number 1 single with "Rat Trap", which was the first new wave chart-topper in the U.K.

The follow-up, "I Don't Like Mondays", was equally successful and also massively controversial, as Geldof wrote it in the aftermath of Brenda Ann Spencer's attempted massacre at her school in San Diego, California at the beginning of 1979. The band wrote the song immediately and it was at Number 1 in the UK before the end of the year. This record was subjected to an unofficial ban by most US radio stations, who were wary of legal action from the parents of the schoolgirl involved, who shot her classmates and gave her explanation as "I don't like Mondays".

Geldof quickly became known as a colourful spokesman for rock music and the band's first appearance on Ireland's Late Late Show led to complaints from viewers.

The Band Aid single

The Rats did not remain for long at the top of the tree, and by 1984 their career had declined sharply. It was in November of that year that Geldof saw a BBC news report by Michael Buerk on the famine in Ethiopia and vowed to do something about it. Aware that he could do little on his own, he called Midge Ure from Ultravox and together they quickly co-wrote the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?".

Geldof kept a November appointment with BBC Radio 1 DJ Richard Skinner to appear on his show, but instead of discussing his new album (the original reason for his booking), he used his airtime to publicise the idea for the charity single, so by the time the musicians were recruited there was intense media interest in the subject.

Using powers of persuasion which have since become a major part of the Geldof legend, he put together a group (Band Aid), consisting of leading British rock and pop musicians, all of whom were at the very top of the industry. The single was released just before Christmas with the aim of raising money for the relief of the famine. Geldof's somewhat cautious hope was for 70,000 pounds. Ultimately, however, the song raised many millions of pounds and became the biggest-selling single in UK chart history.

The idea was copied in the States a few months later, with the song "We Are The World", co-written by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Geldof's first point of contact Lionel Richie. It topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Geldof attended the recording, which took place immediately after the 1985 Grammy awards, and sang on the chorus at the end.

The Live Aid concert

Not content with the enormous success of the Band Aid single, Geldof went on to organise (and perform with the Rats at) the massive charity concert Live Aid, which raised unprecedented sums for the cause, and travelled all over the globe raising money. He even challenged Margaret Thatcher, the then Prime Minister of the UK, leading to a major re-evaluation of British government policy towards famine relief. In recognition of this work, he has received many awards, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. As a non-British subject the Irish-born Geldof was legally precluded from being awarded a full knighthood, and use of the title "Sir". However, he is commonly, if inaccurately, referred to as "Sir Bob Geldof" (and even "Saint Bob" by certain fans).

Geldof Organized the "Live Aid" concert that was held in July of 1985 after seeing a BBC documentary on Ethiopia. He flew to Ethiopia, finding the worst living conditions, and children starving. Wrote the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the children of Ethiopia. The Live Aid concert was held at Wembley Stadium in the UK and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, raising millions for Ethiopia.

Geldof’s achievements were recognised with an honorary Knighthood but if people thought that Live Aid was the last they would see of Robert Frederick Geldof, they were very, very wrong.

Still a tireless campaigner for the world's poorest, and one of the few ex-punks to have regular meetings with world leaders, Geldof’s roll as the world's social conscience and his involvement in TV production company Planet 24 has not slowed down his musical output.

He has released four solo albums since the demise of the Rats - Deep In The Heart Of Nowhere (1986), The Vegetarians Of Love (1990), The Happy Club (1993) and, most recently, the critically acclaimed Sex, Age & Death (2002).


As Geldof became world-famous, his personal life was affected by bitter tragedy. He had met long-term partner Paula Yates when, as a rock journalist, she became an obsessed fan of the Rats in their early days: they got together as a couple when she hopped on an aeroplane to Paris to surprise him when the band were playing gigs there.

The couple married in 1986 after a long and happy courtship and they had two more daughters, Peaches Geldof and Pixie Geldof to follow their eldest Fifi Trixibelle, who was born prior to their wedding. Simon Le Bon was Geldof's best man.

Yates, former presenter of cutting-edge music show The Tube, left Geldof for Michael Hutchence, singer with INXS, whom she met when interviewing him on The Big Breakfast, the show produced by Geldof's production company after it won the contract to provide a morning news and entertainment show for Channel 4.

Yates had another daughter by Hutchence. When Hutchence committed suicide in 1997, Geldof went to court and obtained custody of the four daughters. Geldof's experiences during his divorce have led him to become an outspoken advocate of fathers' rights. After Yates' death from an overdose, Geldof became the legal guardian of her daughter with Hutchence, believing that she should be raised with her sisters.

Geldof is profitably involved in business activities and was rumoured for a time to be considering seeking election to the office of President of Ireland in 2004.

At the beginning of 2005, Geldof topped a poll of listeners of BBC Radio 4's Today programme of people they would most like to see elevated to the House of Lords, with 36% of the vote. If Geldof were raised to the Peerage, his Irish citizenship would not be an impediment to his sitting in the Lords, as British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens are all eligible provided they are resident in Britain. Geldof subsequently said that he would consider accepting a peerage if offered one, if it did not interfere with his charitable work.

Geldof is often referred to, and credited - incorrectly - as Sir Bob Geldof. While indeed he was awarded a K.B.E. (Knight of the order of the British Empire) by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, as he is an Irish citizen the award was honorary and he cannot be referred to as 'Sir'. Instead he is more correctly addressed as Robert (or Bob) Geldof K.B.E.

Related links: -- official website - un-official, but great - official Brits website - Live Aid - The Greatest Show On Earth


Lookin' After No. 1 // Born to Burn / Barefootin' (live) (Ensign ENY-4) 9/77 (highest chart position in UK: 11)
** LP ** The Boomtown Rats (Ensing ENVY-1) 9/77 (highest chart position in UK: 18)
Mary of the Fourth Form / Do the Rat (Ensign ENY-9) 12/77 (highest chart position in UK: 15)
She's so Modern / Lying Again (Ensign ENY-13) 5/78 (highest chart position in UK: 12)
Like Clockwork / How Do You Do ? (Ensign ENY-14) 7/78 (highest chart position in UK: 6)
** LP ** A Tonic for the Troops (Ensign ENVY-3) 7/78 (highest chart position in UK: 8, 44 weeks in the charts!)
Rat Trap / So Strange (Ensign ENY-16) 11/78 (highest chart position in UK: 1)
I Don't Like Mondays / It's All the Rage (Ensing ENY-30) 7/79 (highest chart position in UK: 1)
** LP ** The Fine Art of Surfacing (Ensign ENROX-11) 11/79 (highest chart position in UK: 7)
Diamond Smiles / Late Last Night (Ensign ENY-33) 12/79 (highest chart position in UK: 13)
Someone's Looking at You / ??? (Ensign ENY-34, also as 12" ENY-3412) 2/80 (highest chart position in UK: 4)
Banana Republic / Man at the Top (Ensign BONGO-1) 12/80 (highest chart position in UK: 3)
Elephants Graveyard / Real Different (Mercury BONGO-2) 2/81 (highest chart position in UK: 26)
** LP ** Mondo Bongo (Mercury 6359-042) 2/81 (highest chart position in UK: 6)
Never in a Million Years / Don’t Talk to Me (Mercury MER-87) 12/81 (highest chart position in UK: 62)
House on Fire / Europe Looked Ugly (Mercury MER-91) 4/82 (highest chart position in UK: 24)
House on Fire // Dub Mix / Europe Looked Ugly (12") (Mercury MERX-91) 4/82
** LP ** V Deep (Mercury 6359-082) 4/82 (highest chart position in UK: 64)
Charmed Lives / No Hiding Place (Mercury MER-106) 8/82 (didn't chart)
Charmed Lives / House On Fire // Skin On Skin / Storm Breaks (Mercury MERX-1062) 8/82
** LP ** In the Long Grass (Mercury MERL-38) -84
Tonight // Precious Time (Mercury MER-154; also as 12", with bonus track Walking Downtown MERX-154) 2/84 (highest chart position in UK: 73)
Drag Me Down / An Icile in the Sun (Mercury MER-163, also as 12" MERX-163) 5/84 (highest chart position in UK: 50)
Dave / Hard Times (first pressing with free 7" 'I Don't Like Mondays' Mercury MER-179; also as 12", with bonus tracks Live Side Lazun Gemmun the Boomtown Rats, Banana Republic and Close As You'll Ever Be MERX-179) -84
** LP ** Ratrospective (maxi; 6 tracks Columbia) -83
** CD ** Greatest Hits (Columbia 40615) -87
** CD ** Loudmouth (the best of) (Vertigo 522 283-2)

Most important tracks on compilations:
New Wave: Looking after No. 1 (Vertigo 6300.902) -77
Best of Top of the Pops: Someone's Looking at You (BBC BELP-016)
That Summer: She's So Modern ja Kicks (Arista 062-62823) -79
Burning Ambitions: Looking after No. 1 ' (Cherry Red DRED-3) -82
Three Minute Heroes: 20 of the Finest Punk & New Wave Singles: Rat Trap (Virgin VTCD9) -92
DiY 1: Anarchy in the UK - UK Punk I (1976-77): Lookin' After No. 1 (Rhino Records R2 71171) -93
Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's Volume 4: Up All Night (Rhino Records R2 71697) -94
Best of 1980-1990 Volume 11: Banana Republic (EMI Electrola) -95
Best Punk Album in the World...Ever!: Lookin' After No. 1 (Virgin VTDCD 42) -95
The Number One Punk Album: 47 Punk Rock Classics: Rat Trap (Polygram TV 535 658-2) -96
Once in a Lifetime - 40 Classic New Wave Hits: Rat Trap (Telstar TCD2889) -97
I Don't Like Mondays on hundreds and hundreds compilations.







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