Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof , KBE , known as Bob Geldof (born 5 October 1951) , is an Irish singer, songwriter, actor and political activist who became famous as a member of the rock band The Boomtown Rats. His achievements include organising Live Aid and Live 8. Geldof's most notable compositions include "Rat Trap" and "I Don't Like Mondays". He also starred as Pink in Pink Floyd's 1982 film The Wall.
Geldof attended Blackrock College, near Dublin, an exclusive private school whose Catholic ethos he disliked. He was also bullied for his lack of rugby prowess and over the fact that his middle name is Zenon. After work as a slaughter man, road navvy and pea canner, he started as a music journalist in Vancouver, Canada, for the weekly publication Georgia Straight. Upon returning to Ireland in 1975, he became the lead singer of the band The Boomtown Rats, a rock group closely linked with the punk movement.
In 1978, The Boomtown Rats had their first No. 1 single in the UK with "Rat Trap", which was the first New Wave chart-topper in that country. In 1979, the group shot to international fame with their second UK No. 1, "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.
Geldof quickly became known as a colourful spokesman for rock music. The Boomtown Rats' first appearance on Ireland's The Late Late Show led to complaints from viewers.
Geldof's long-term partner and later wife was Paula Yates. Yates was a rock journalist, presenter of the cutting-edge music show The Tube, and most notorious for her in-bed interviews on the show The Big Breakfast. Geldof met Paula when she became an obsessed fan of the Boomtown Rats during the band's early days. They got together as a couple in 1976 when Yates travelled by aeroplane to Paris, to surprise him when the band was playing there. The couple famously claimed they ate apples on the plane sponsored by Bob Kiranely
Before they married, the couple had a daughter, Fifi Trixibelle Geldof, born March 31, 1983 (and while Geldof was still allegedly conducting an affair with the young Claire King). After 10 years together, Bob and Paula married in June 1986 in Las Vegas with Simon Le Bon (of Duran Duran) acting as Geldof's best man. The couple later had two more daughters, Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof on March 16, 1989, and Pixie Geldof on September 17, 1990. Pixie is said to be named after a celebrity daughter character from the cartoon Celeb in the satirical magazine Private Eye, itself a lampoon of the unusual names the Geldofs gave to their children. In 1994, Yates left Geldof for Michael Hutchence (INXS), whom she met when she interviewed him on "The Big Breakfast". Geldof and Yates divorced in May 1996 and Yates moved in with Hutchence. Yates and Hutchence had a daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, born July 22, 1996. After Hutchence was found hanged in a hotel room on November 22 1997, Geldof went to court and obtained full custody of his three daughters and has since become an outspoken advocate of fathers' rights. After Paula Yates's death from a drug and alcohol overdose in 2000, Geldof became the legal guardian of Tiger Lily, believing it best that she be raised with her three half-sisters. Geldof divides his time between his home in Battersea, South London and the Priory in the Davington area of Faversham in Kent with his French actress girlfriend Jeanne Marine, Pixie and Tiger. He recently broke his toe in an apparent fight with Russell Brand.
In 1984, Geldof reacted to a news report about starving children in Ethiopia by mobilising the pop world to do something about the images he had seen. He and Midge Ure of Ultravox wrote 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in order to raise funds. The song was recorded by various artists under the name of Band Aid. They included:
- Adam Clayton, Bono (U2) ; Phil Collins; Bob Geldof, Johnnie Fingers, Gerry Cott, Simon Crowe (Boomtown Rats); Midge Ure, Chris Cross (Ultravox); Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet); Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, Andy Taylor, John Taylor, Roger Taylor (Duran Duran); Paul Young; Glenn Gregory, Martyn Ware (Heaven 17); Siobhan Fahey, Sarah Dallin, Keren Woodward (Bananarama); Paul Weller; Robert Bell, Dennis Thomas, James Taylor (Kool and the Gang); Peter Blake (designer of the record cover); George Michael; Marilyn; Jody Watley; Boy George, Jon Moss (Culture Club); Sting; Rick Parfitt, Francis Rossi (Status Quo)
In its first week of release the single became the UK's fastest seller of all time, entering the chart at number one and going on to sell over three million copies, making it the biggest-selling single in UK history up to that point, a title it held for almost 13 years. The single was also a major US hit, even though Christmas was long gone by the time it could be released in the States. 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' returned to the UK chart a year later, reaching number three, and eventually it raised over £8 million.
Following this massive success preparations were started for the biggest rock concerts the world had ever seen, the following summer.
On 13 July 1985, Geldof and Ure organized Live Aid, a huge event staged simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. Thanks to an unprecedented decision by the BBC to clear its schedules for 16 hours of rock music, the event was also broadcast live in the UK on television and radio.
It was one of the most monumental stage shows in history, with Phil Collins flying on Concorde so that he could play at both Wembley and Philadelphia on the same day.
During the broadcast of Live Aid, Geldof shocked viewers into giving cash by not only twice mouthing profanities but also by slamming his fist on the table and practically ordering them not to go out to the pub and to stay in and watch the show. The harrowing video of dying, skeletal children that had been made to the tune of "Drive" by The Cars, contributed to the concert's success.
In total, Live Aid raised over £150 million for famine relief. Geldof was subsequently knighted, at age 34, for his efforts. His autobiography, written soon after with Paul Vallely, was entitled Is That It?.
Much of the money raised by Live Aid went to NGOs in Ethiopia, some of which were under the influence or control of the Derg military junta. Some journalists have suggested that the Derg was able to use Live Aid and Oxfam money to fund its enforced resettlement and "villagification" programmes, under which at least 3 million people are said to have been displaced and between 50,000 and 100,000 killed.
The result was the Commission for Africa. Blair invited Geldof and 16 other Commissioners, the majority from Africa and many of them politicians in power, to undertake a year-long study of Africa's problems. They came up with two conclusions: that Africa needed to change, to improve its governance and combat corruption, and that the rich world needed to support that change in new ways. That meant doubling aid, delivering debt cancellation, and reforming trade rules. The Commission drew up a detailed plan of how that can be done. It reported in March 2005. In the months that followed it became clear that world leaders were not taking its recommendations seriously. To force the issue Geldof decided to create a new international lobby for Africa with eight simultaneous concerts around the world to put pressure on the G8. He called it Live 8. The Commission's recommendations later became the blueprint for the G8 Gleneagles African debt and aid package.
On the 31 March 2005, Geldof and Ure announced the Live 8 project, to raise awareness of issues that burden Africa, such as government debt, trade barriers, and AIDS issues. Geldof organised six concerts on 2 July 2005: in London, with Pink Floyd, Elton John, Paul McCartney, U2, Pete Doherty, Robbie Williams, Sting, Madonna, Coldplay, The Who, R.E.M., Annie Lennox, Dido, UB40, Snoop Dog, Ms Dynamite, Mariah Carey, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters, Keane, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Razorlight, Velvet Revolver, The Killers, Travis; in Paris, with Muse, Calogero, Kyo, Shakira, Andrea Bocelli, Craig David, Placebo, Youssou N'Dour; in Rome, with Duran Duran and Faith Hill; in Berlin, with Brian Wilson, Green Day, Audioslave, and Crosby Stills & Nash; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, Black Eyed Peas, Dave Mathews Band, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Kaiser Chiefs, Maroon5, Keith Urban, Sarah McLachlan, Rob Thomas; Canada with Neil Young, The Barenaked Ladies, Bryan Adams, Deep Purple, Gordon Lightfoot and the Tragically Hip. Pink Floyd's performance in London was its first since 1981 to include original bassist, Roger Waters.
The concerts were free, and were scheduled just days before world leaders gathered in Gleneagles, for the G8 economic summit, on 6 July.Ure organised the 'final push' Live 8 concert at Edinburgh. Organizing such a massive charity event was such a time consuming affair that Geldof never had time for his dinner. 'The boys and girls with guitars will finally get to turn the world on its axis,' Geldof said in a statement.
This is where the concerts took place and who performed:
When: Saturday 2nd July, 2005.
UK – Hyde Park, London
France – Palais de Versailles, Paris
Germany – Siegessäule, Berlin
Italy – Circus Maximus, Rome
USA –Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Canada –Park Place, Barrie
Japan –Makuhari Messe, Tokyo
South Africa –Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg
The Russian Federation - Red Square, Moscow
UK - The Eden Project
Geldof was also criticised for the lack of African acts performing at Live 8, however, Geldof responded that only the biggest-selling artists would attract the huge audience required to capture the attention of the world in the run-up to the G8 meeting. Geldof added that there was insufficient public interest in African music among the concert's target markets in Europe and the United States. Including African artists at the expense of recognised artists would have been tokenist, he said, and would have undermined the effect of the concert.
In the lead-up to the G8 summit, Geldof who had been a member of Tony Blair's Commission for Africa on which the Gleneagles recommendations were largely based, labelled critics of the summit 'a disgrace'. Some leading African campaigners have asked Geldof to stand down from the global anti-poverty movement, and the New Internationalist (between January and February 2006) said 'It would be long overdue if he did.'
There were also accusations that Live 8 gave unqualified support to the personal and political agendas of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, particularly in the lead up to an election. Though many felt that it was the British politicians who had accepted Geldof's agenda, rather than the other way round, this led to accusations that Geldof had compromised his cause. In contrast with the media support given to Live Aid, Live 8 was subject to criticism by some sections of the media.
The promises made for Africa at the Gleneagles summit, were widely praised: 'the greatest summit for Africa ever' (Kofi Annan), 'an important, if incomplete, boost to the development prospects of the poorest countries' economist (Jeffrey Sachs) or 'a major breakthrough on debt' (Kevin Wakins, until recently head of research at Oxfam). But many aid agencies pronounced their disappointment with the outcome, feeling that the strict conditions imposed on African countries for accepting debt relief left them little better off than before. Some cynics have claimed that Live 8 had been more about rehabilitating the careers of ageing rock stars, including Geldof himself, than it was about the poor people of Africa. However, Geldof has made no attempt to revive his music career, somewhat disproving this accusation. However, the New Internationalist points out that since becoming prominent in the salvation of Africa, "Geldof has re-released the entire back catalogue of the Boomtown Rats.
Oasis's Noel Gallagher became one of the more vocal sceptics about the impact of Live 8, citing his belief that rock stars are not as influencing over world leaders as popular culture may believe. His explanation was "Correct me if I'm wrong, but are they hoping that one of these guys from the G8 is on a quick 15-minute break at Gleneagles and sees Annie Lennox singing "Sweet Dreams" and thinks, 'Fuck me, she might have a point there, you know?' And Keane doing "Somewhere Only We Know" and some Japanese businessman going, 'Aw, look at him… we should really fucking drop that debt, you know.' It's not going to happen, is it?"
His first solo records sold reasonably well and spawned the hit singles "Love or Something" (co-written with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics) and "The Great Song of Indifference". He also occasionally performed with other artists, such as David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy. A performance of "Comfortably Numb" with David Gilmour is documented in the 2002 DVD David Gilmour in Concert.
Geldof has also worked as a DJ for XFM radio. In 1998, he erroneously announced Ian Dury's death from cancer, possibly due to hoax information from a listener who was disgruntled at the station's change of ownership. The event caused music paper NME to call Geldof 'the world's worst DJ'.
Along with U2's Bono, he has devoted much time since 2000 to campaigning for debt relief for developing countries. His commitments in this field, including the organisation of the Live 8 concerts, kept Geldof from producing any more musical output since 2001's "Sex, Age & Death" album.
After Live 8, Geldof returned to his career as a musician by releasing a box set containing all of his solo albums entitled "Great Songs of Indifference - The Anthology 1986 - 2001" in late 2005. Following that release, Geldof also toured, albeit with mixed success.
In July 2006 Geldof arrived at the Milan's Civic Arena, a venue capable of holding 12,000 people, to play a scheduled concert to find that the organisers had not put the tickets on general sale and that only 45 people had shown up.. Geldof refused to go on stage once he found out how small the attendance was. Subsequently, the remaining two Italian concerts on the island of Sicily and in Rome were also cancelled due to lack of interest, the latter having sold only around 300 tickets. To offer some compensation for fans, Geldof played a free "Storytellers" concert for MTV Italy in October 2006.
In August 2006, two thoroughly advertised concerts in Denmark at Århus Stadion and Farum Arena, with seating for 20,200 and 3,000 people respectively, were cancelled as well after only 2 tickets had been sold. Local media cited general lack of interest as well as high ticket prices of €65 as the reason for the poor sales.
The BBC subsequently apologised for Geldof's outburst but his phonetical interpretation of the expletive went down in history; Spitting Image made many references to it.
In mid July 2006, he infuriated many New Zealanders by criticizing the New Zealand governments's foreign aid contribution 'shameful' and 'pathetic'. Winston Peters, the Minister of Foreign Affairs responded that Geldof failed to recognise the 'quality' of New Zealand aid as well as other New Zealand contributions.
In 1986 Geldof was made a Freeman of the Borough of Swale, in north Kent, England. Geldof had for some years been resident in the borough, at Davington Priory, Faversham, and was still living there in 2006. He received his award during a special meeting of the Swale Borough Council from the Mayor, Cllr Richard Moreton and Mayoress Rose Moreton.
Geldof works closely with DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), an organization founded by U2's Bono to advocate for Africa.
In 2005 he received the prestigious Beacon Fellowship Prize for his leadership role in alleviating poverty, famine and genocide, especially in the Third World, and his advocacy for the rights of fathers. In this year he was also awarded the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society.
In a list compiled by the magazine New Statesman, in 2006, he was voted third in the list of 'Heroes of our time'.
In 2005, Bob Geldof received the Free Your Mind Award at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
In 2005, Bob Geldof received a Man of Peace Award.
In 2006 he was awarded the Freedom of Dublin City.
In 2006, Bob Geldof was the recipient of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award by Holocaust Museum Houston.
In 2007, Bob Geldof was made an Honorary Fellow at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.In the same year Richard Curtis presented Bob Geldof the "Cinema for Peace Pioneer Award" honouring him for his achievements.
In 2006 and 2008, Bob Geldof is a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He received an honorary degree of Master of Arts from the University of Kent in 1985. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary degree in Civil Law from Newcastle University. The University held a special honorary degree ceremony to honour key figures in the campaign against world poverty.
During a visit to Ethiopia, Geldof also praised President George W. Bush's proposal to fight AIDS in Africa. This proposal has been criticised from aid groups due to its heavy emphasis on Christian morality and sexual abstinence.
Geldof has recently spoken out about environmental issues, taking some positions that may be considered unusual, compared to many other prominent artists and performers, such as advocating for the increased use of nuclear power, saying that "In the UK, we'll soon have to scramble for more nuclear power. On this issue, I don't care what anyone says: we're going to go with it, big-time. We may mess around with wind and waves and other renewable energy sources, trying to make them sustainable, but they're not. They're Mickey Mouse."
Geldof has also called for the industrial development of developing nations such as China and India to be taken into account when negotiating greenhouse gas emissions targets, and has suggested that the developed world has a role to play in assisting these nations to roll out non-fossil energy systems.
Some on the political left have charged Geldof with hypocrisy, due to his lack of support for causes such as the UK miners' strike (1984-1985) and the anti-war movement. In 2006, Geldof told a business conference that "Back in the 1970s there was no chance for a boy with an idea. Everything was stitched up by the unions.
From January 2002, until sometime in 2005, Geldof listened very closely to Father's Rights campaigners, and it was reported that he had sacks of mail arriving at his door on a daily basis from fathers who were denied justice from the British family courts. He was noted as saying, "I am heartbroken. I just cannot believe what happens to people, what is done to them in the name of the law. "You only have to open your eyes to see what I call the 'Sad Dads on Sundays Syndrome'". He has also called for The Children Act to be repealed and his latest statement to Father's Rights campaigners was "'It's not in my nature to shut up'".
In December 2005, Geldof agreed to give advice on global poverty to the British Conservative Party. He stated, however, that he was uninterested in party politics, and would continue to 'shake hands with the devil on my left and the devil on my right,' in order to achieve results.
In April 2008 Geldof hit the news again when a survey showed that nearly a quarter of British people confused passages from the Bible with speeches made by the famous activist.
Brook Lapping, a part of the Ten Alps Empire, were the first to produce a 'documentary' on Flight 93, 'The flight that fought back' as well as producing '9/11: The Twin Towers' which was screened on BBC to 6.4 million viewers. Both are considered works of dramatic fiction.
Geldof's wealth was estimated by Broadcast magazine, in 2001, to be £30 million, a position of 18th in a list of UK broadcasters. How much of his earnings he donates to charity is not known. He is currently embroiled in a legal wrangle with his former bandmates in the Boomtown Rats, who accuse him of withholding substantial profits from the band's recordings from them.
Geldof played the central character Pink in the film of Pink Floyd's The Wall, and made a cameo appearance as himself in the Spice Girls' pop music satire Spiceworld. He appeared in Mick Jagger's 2001 documentary, Being Mick, also as himself.
He also starred in the 2007 short film 'I am Bob' in which he loses a look-a-like contest (even after singing the Boomtown Rats' hit I Don't Like Mondays.)
|US Hot 100||US Modern Rock||US Mainstream Rock||UK||D|
|1986||"This is the World Calling/Talk Me Up"||#82||#23||-||#25||#28||Deep In The Heart Of Nowhere|
|1987||"Love Like a Rocket/Pulled Apart By Horses/This Is The World Calling/Truly, True Blue"||-||-||-||#61||-||Deep In The Heart Of Nowhere|
|1987||"I Cry Too/Let's Go"||-||-||-||-||-||Deep In The Heart Of Nowhere|
|1990||"The Great Song of Indifference/Hotel 75/In The Pouring Rain"||-||-||-||#15||#20||Vegetarians of Love|
|1990||"Love or Something/Out Of Order/Friends For Life/One Of The Girls/The Great Song Of Indifference (Barmitzvah Wedding & Party Mix)"||-||#24||-||#86||#55||Vegetarians of Love|
|1990||"A Gospel Song/Vegetarians Of Love/The Warmest Fire"||-||-||-||-||-||Vegetarians of Love|
|1992||"Room 19 (Sha La La La Lee)/Huge Birdless Silence/The Great Song Of Indifference/Swear For You"||-||-||-||-||#53||Happy Club|
|1992||"My Hippy Angel/Maybe Heaven/Love Or Something"||-||-||-||-||-||Happy Club|
|1993||"The Happy Club/The Great Song Of Indifference/This Is The World Calling/Roads of Germany (after BD)"||-||-||-||-||-||Happy Club|
|1994||"Crazy/Mary Of The 4th Form (Live)/Looking After Number 1 (Live)/Joey's On The Street(Live)//Room 19 (Live)/The Beat Of The Night (Live)/Rat Trap (Live)"||-||-||-||#65||#72||Loud Mouth - The Very Best Of Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats|
|2003||"Pale White Girls"||-||-||-||-||-||Sex Age & Death|
Interview: Bob Geldof discusses the Live 8 concerts designed to focus attention on poverty in and debt relief for Africa
Jun 08, 2005; NEAL CONAN Talk of the Nation (NPR) 06-08-2005 Interview: Bob Geldof discusses the Live 8 concerts designed to focus attention on...