You Say It's Your Birthday: Bob Geldof

Today is the 43rd birthday of the Boomtown Rats' frontman Bob

Geldof. He is best known for being the driving force behind Band-Aid and

Live Aid, as well as for playing the lead in the movie version of Pink

Floyd's The Wall. Geldof began his long relationship with music as

a journalist, writing for the U.K.'s New Musical Express and Melody

Maker before deciding to form his own band. In 1975, he formed the

Nightlife Thugs, a band which in 1976, inspired by Woodie Guthrie's

Bound For Glory, changed their name to the Boomtown Rats. Geldof

distinguished himself from his peers at this time by actively seeking rock

stardom. When their first single, "Looking After No. 1" hit the U.K.

charts in 1977, the press soon discovered that Geldof was the man to come

to if they needed a celebrity quote on anything: politics, other musicians,

fashion, whatever. 1979's A Tonic For The Troops did well with

critics and in the U.K., but did not make a dent in the U.S. charts, a

situation that would dog the Rats for the majority of their existence. By

1981, the Boomtown Rats had nine consecutive singles hit the top 15 in the

U.K., including the minor U.S. hit "I Don't Like Mondays," a song which was

based on the true story of San Diego's would be high-school-spree-killer

Brenda Spencer.

In 1982, Geldof starred in The Wall, appearing as Pink and doing a

good job of portraying a rock star on the edge of sanity. In 1984, struck

by a BBC documentary on famine in Ethiopia, Geldof and Ultravox's Midge Ure

wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas" and created Band Aid, an all-star group

that recorded the song in 24 hours. Until this year's Princess Diana

tribute by Elton John, the single held the U.K. sales record. In 1985, he

helped with the American version of Band-Aid, the all-star chorus U.S.A.

for Africa and their ultra-sappy and top selling "We Are The World." Later

that year he organized Live Aid, a 16 hour concert which took place on two

continents and featured many of the biggest names in music. Geldof's

all-consuming involvement with these projects eventually lost him his band,

but won him an honorary knighthood from the Queen. He then embarked on an

unsuccessful solo career, occasionally reuniting with the Boomtown Rats

when the rent needed to be paid. In 1986, he wrote an autobiography

entitled Is That It?, which detailed the Band Aid, U.S.A. for Africa

and Live Aid projects. His most recent solo album was 1993's The Happy

Club. In 1995, he returned to Africa to survey the fruits of his labor

10 years after his Ethiopian benefit projects.

Other birthdays: Carlos Mastrangelo (Belmonts), 59; Richard Street

(Temptations), 55; Steve Miller, 54; Brian Connolly (Sweet), 52; Brian

Johnson (AC/DC), 50; Eddie Clarke (Motorhead/Fastway), 47; Harold

Faltermeyer, 45 and Leo Barnes (Hothouse Flowers), 42.