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The Boomtown Rats

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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: V Deep

1. He Watches It All

2. Never In A Million Years

3. Talking In Code

4. The Bitter End

5. The Little Death

6. A Storm Breaks

7. Up All Night

8. House On Fire

9. Charmed Lives

10. Skin On Skin

11. Say Hi To Mick

12. No Hiding Place

13. House On Fire (12" Dub)

14. Up All Night (Long Version)

x

Track List: The Fine Art Of Surfacing [bonus Tracks]

1. Someone's Looking At You

2. Diamond Smiles

3. Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)

4. Having My Picture Taken

5. Sleep (Fingers' Lullaby)

6. I Don't Like Mondays

7. Nothing Happened Today

8. Keep It Up

9. Nice N Neat

10. When The Night Comes

11. Episode #3

12. Real Different

13. How Do You Do?

14. Late Last Night

15. Nothing Happened Today (Live)

x

Track List: A Tonic For The Troops

1. Like Clockwork

2. Blind Date

3. (I Never Loved) Eva Braun

4. Living In An Island

5. Don't Believe What You Read

6. She's So Modern

7. Me And Howard Hughes

8. Can't Stop

9. (Watch Out For) The Normal People

10. Rat Trap

11. Neon Heart

12. Do The Rat

13. D.U.N. L.A.O.G.H.A.I.R.E (Live)

14. Rat Trap (Live)

x

Track List: In The Long Grass (2005 Reissue)

1. Dave

2. Over And Over

3. Drag Me Down

4. A Hold Of Me

5. Another Sad Story

6. Tonight

7. Hard Times

8. Lucky

9. An Icicle In The Sun

10. Up Or Down

11. Dave (Single Version)

12. Walking Downtown (B Side)

13. Precious Time (B Side)

14. She's Not The Best (Home Demo)

x

Track List: Mondo Bongo

1. Straight Up

2. The Elephants Graveyard

3. This Is My Room

4. Another Piece Of Red

5. Hurt Hurts

6. Please Don't Go

7. Fall Down

8. Go Man Go

9. Under Their Thumb

10. Banana Republic

11. Whitehall 1212

12. Mood Mambo

13. Cheerio

14. B-Side

15. Recorded For Tv

16. Live In Portsmouth

Comments

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blmennegar
Excellent band!
Report as inappropriate
oh boobonnit. . . what a joyless, soulless, tiresome old crank
Report as inappropriate
Over rated and a bunch of 80's poseurs. Thumbs down, get offa my Pandora
Report as inappropriate
first rock concert i ever went to
Report as inappropriate
frank.eccker
I remember jamming to the RATS on eight track. Then we had our father bring home some of their other albums from the radio station he worked at so we could record them. Butsy,Shamok i n , P a .
Report as inappropriate
Just loved the Boomtown Rats
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jpollack06
Never understood how they didn't make it to Superstardom . Just loved them.
Report as inappropriate
salgug
"I Don't Like Mondays" is a tremendous song, written about that young girl who snapped an killed her classmates. Truly a classic, with a super lyric and a perfect reflection on a tragic event.
Report as inappropriate
They were a good looking bunch, I must say. And their music--the tops!!!
Report as inappropriate
imagine1957
I'm always amazed at how the Canadian perspective on British artists is so different from the US perspective. Boomtown Rats albums were all released in Canada and generally faired well. The curious thing about "In The Long Grass" was that the song Dave was replaced with a version titled "Rain". Apparently, executives on this side of the pond were not enamored with Dave and requested the new version, much to Bob Geldof's dismay. Some sites list it as one of the reasons that he abandoned the g
Report as inappropriate
i truly respect bob geldof, not only as a musician but as a humanitarian . peace, and rock on

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