Mostly Credited As: Bob Geldof
Sometimes Credited As: The Boomtown Rats
Sir Bob Geldof
Sir Robert 'Bob' Geldof
Birth Name: Robert Frederick Xenon Geldof
Date Of Birth: October 05, 1951 (Age 64)
Country Of Birth: Ireland
Birth Place: Dublin
Height: 6' 2" (1.87 m)
Geldof was born Robert Frederick Xenon Geldof in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin to parents of Irish and Belgian extraction. He attended Blackrock College near Dublin, a school whose staunch Catholic nationalist ethos he disliked. After work as a slaughterman, road navvy and pea canner, he started as a music journalist in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for the weekly Georgia Straight publication. He became lead singer of the Irish band Boomtown Rats in 1975, a rock group closely linked with the punk movement. In 1978, they had their first Number 1 single with "Rat Trap", which was the first New Wave chart-topper in the UK. In 1979 the group shot to international fame with the follow-up, "I Don't Like Mondays."  This was equally successful, as well as controversial; Geldof wrote it in the aftermath of Brenda Ann Spencer's attempted massacre at an elementary school across the street from her house in San Diego, California at the beginning of 1979. It was later covered by rock group Bon Jovi on their 1995 album These Days, and Geldof joined them for a duet of the song on June 25, 1995 at a concert in Wembley Stadium in London, almost exactly ten years after Geldof performed the song at Live Aid.
Geldof quickly became known as a colourful spokesperson for rock music. The Boomtown Rats' first appearance on Ireland's The Late Late Show led to complaints from viewers. He had limited success as an actor, his most notable role being the lead in the 1982 film Pink Floyd The Wall, based on the Pink Floyd album The Wall. Geldof's first major charity involvement occurred in September 1981 when he performed as a solo artist for Amnesty International's The Secret Policeman's Other Ball benefit show at the invitation of Amnesty show producer Martin Lewis. He performed a solo version of I Don't Like Mondays. Other rock artists performing at the show included Sting, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins. All of these became people that Geldof called on later for Live Aid Geldof sang back-up vocals on the all-star version of Bob Dylan's I Shall Be Released alongside another musician he met at the show - Ultravox singer Midge Ure. The show and its spin-off albums and movies raised considerable sums of money for Amnesty and raised public consciousness about human rights. Geldof was proud of his small involvement in the benefit - and noted the impact that a group of rock musicians assembled by one person could have on a cause... (Another future Geldof associate U2 singer Bono noted of the 1981 Amnesty show in 1986 that it had "planted a seed" and it appeared to have affected Geldof in a similar manner.)
After Live Aid Geldof returned to his career as a musician, successfully releasing a series of solo albums. He also performed with David Gilmour (such a performance - Comfortably Numb - is documented in the David Gilmour in Concert DVD) and Thin Lizzy. Along with U2's Bono, he has devoted much time since 2000 to campaigning for debt relief for developing countries. He has also worked as a DJ for XFM radio. (In 1998 he erroneously announced the death from cancer of Ian Dury, possibly due to hoax information from a listener disgruntled at the station's change of ownership. The incident caused music paper NME to call Geldof "the world's worst DJ".) On March 31, 2005 Geldof announced the Live 8 project to raise awareness of issues that he claims burden Africa, such as government debt, trade barriers, and AIDS issues. Geldof organised 5 concerts on Saturday July 2, 2005. This concert marked the one-time reforming of Pink Floyd.