You Say It's Your Birthday: Bob Geldof

Today is the birthday of Boomtown Rat, knight, and

humanitarian extraordinaire Bob Geldof, born in Dublin in 1954. Geldof began

his long relationship with music as the lowest of the low -- a music

journalist. Working for the UK's New Musical Express, Geldof interviewed

superstars like Little Richard and Elton John. Unsatisfied by the illustrious

position, he decided to form his own band, and in 1975 the Boomtown Rats,

fronted by Geldof on vocals, was formed. Their debut album won them a support

position on a Tom Petty tour, and The Rats were up and scampering. In 1979 a

San Diego, CA schoolgirl shot several of her schoolmates, claiming "I don't

like Mondays" as her excuse. Inspired, Geldof wrote the song of the same name,

which went to number one in England and would be the Rats' biggest selling

single, despite the San Diego murderess' parents' attempts to have the song

banned in the U.S. Several Rats albums later, Geldof starred in The

Wall, appearing as Pink. In 1984, struck by a BBC documentary on famine in

Ethiopia, Geldof created Band Aid, then helped with U.S.A. for Africa. Both

famine-relief albums raised millions for drought-stricken African countries.

And in 1985 he organized Live Aid. 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 a solo career, taking time out occasionally

to reunite with The Rats and write an autobiography detailing the Band Aid,

U.S.A. for Africa and Live Aid projects. His most recent solo album was 1993's

The Happy Club. Last year he returned to Africa on the tenth year

anniversary of his Ethiopian benefit projects to survey the fruits of his

labor.