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The Boomtown Rats Biography

The Boomtown Rats Tickets

The Boomtown Rats In-depth Biography

The Boomtown Rats} were an Irish rock} band that scored a series of British hits between 1977 and 1980, and were led by singer Bob Geldof}, who organized the Ethiopian relief efforts Band Aid} and Live Aid}.

The Rats} were formed in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin, Ireland, in 1975 by Geldof} (born Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof}, October 5, 1954, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland), a former journalist; Johnnie Fingers} (keyboards); Gerry Cott} (guitar); Garry Roberts} (guitar); Pete Briquette} (bass); and Simon Crowe} (drums). They took their name from Woody Guthrie}'s novel Bound for Glory}. The group moved to London in October 1976, and became associated with the punk rock} movement. Signing to Ensign Records}, they released their debut single, "Lookin' After No. 1,"} in August 1977. It was the first of nine straight singles to make the U.K. Top 40.

Their debut album, The Boomtown Rats}, was released in September 1977, on Ensign} in the U.K. and on Mercury} in the U.S. Their second album, Tonic for the Troops}, appeared in June 1978 in the U.K., along with their first U.K. Top Ten hit, "Like Clockwork."} In the fall, "Rat Trap"} from the album hit number one. 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.

The Boomtown Rats}' second straight U.K. number one came in the summer of 1979 with "I Don't Like Mondays,"} a song inspired by a California teenager who had gone on a killing spree and glibly justified her action with the title line. It was contained on the Rats}' third album, The Fine Art of Surfacing}, released in October 1979, and subsequently became the band's only U.S. singles-chart entry. The album also contained their next U.K. Top Ten hit, "Someone's Looking at You."}

The Boomtown Rats} released their final U.K. Top Ten hit, "Banana Republic,"} in November 1980, followed by their fourth album, Mondo Bongo}, in January 1981. At this point, guitarist Gerry Cott} left the group, and they continued as a quintet. Their fifth album, V Deep}, was released in the U.K. in February 1982. In the U.S., Columbia} initially released only a four-song EP drawn from the album The Boomtown Rats}, finally releasing the full LP in September, when it failed to chart. Also in 1982, Geldof} starred in the movie Pink Floyd: The Wall}.

Columbia} released the six-song compilation Ratrospective} in March 1983, but rejected the band's newly recorded sixth album, In the Long Grass}, which was released by Ensign} in England. In 1984, Geldof} and Midge Ure} wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas?"} and organized the star-studded Band Aid} group to record it for Ethiopian relief, resulting in the biggest selling single in U.K. history. Geldof} then went on to organize the two Live Aid} concerts, held on July 13, 1985, in London and Philadelphia. Geldof}'s increased visibility led to the belated U.S. release of In the Long Grass}, but when it failed to chart, the Boomtown Rats} were left without a record label. The group folded in 1986, and Geldof} launched a solo career. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

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