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Bob Geldof

From Academic Kids

Robert Frederick Xenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE (born October 5, 1951 or 1954 in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin) is an Irish singer, songwriter and political activist.

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Bob Geldof in the music video for "I Don't Like Mondays", 1979
Contents

Early career

Geldof was educated at Blackrock College near Dublin, a school which he has said he disliked. He started as a music journalist in Canada ([1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/2941142.stm),) before coming to fame in the mid-1970s as leader of the Boomtown Rats, a rock group closely linked with the punk movement. In 1978, they had their first Number 1 single with "Rat Trap", which was the first new wave chart-topper in the UK. A follow-up, "I Don't Like Mondays", was equally successful and also controversial, as Geldof wrote it in the aftermath of Brenda Ann Spencer's attempted massacre at her school 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. He had limited success as an actor, his most notable role being in the 1982 film Pink Floyd The Wall, based on the Pink Floyd album The Wall.

Charity Work

The Band Aid single

By 1984 the Boomtown Rats career had declined sharply. In November Geldof saw a BBC news report by Michael Buerk on the famine in Ethiopia and vowed to use the situation to do something. He called Midge Ure from Ultravox, and together they co-wrote the song, "Do They Know It's Christmas?".

Geldof kept a November appointment with BBC Radio 1 DJ Richard Skinner to appear on his show, but instead of discussing his new album as planned he used the airtime to publicise the idea for the charity single. This generated intense media interest in the subject.

He put together a group called Band Aid, consisting of leading British and Irish rock and pop musicians, all of whom were at the top of the industry.

The single was released just before Christmas 1984 with the aim of raising money for the relief of the famine. Geldof's somewhat cautious hope was for 70,000 pounds. Ultimately, however, the song raised many millions of pounds and became the biggest-selling single in UK chart history (until 1997). The single was released again just before Christmas 2004, it was re-recorded with a new group of musicians called Band Aid 20.

The idea was copied in the States a few months later, with the song "We Are The World", co-written by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Geldof's first point of contact Lionel Richie. It topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Geldof attended the recording, which took place immediately after the January 28, 1985 American Music Awards, and he sang on the chorus at the end.

The Live Aid concert

Using the enormous success of the Band Aid single, Geldof went on to organise (and perform with the Rats at) the massive charity concert Live Aid, which raised unprecedented sums for the cause in June 1985. He travelled to many places, raising money. He even challenged Margaret Thatcher, leading to a major re-evaluation of British government policy towards famine relief.

Geldof has received many awards for this work, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. As a non-British subject, the Irish-born Geldof was legally precluded from being awarded a full knighthood and use of the title "Sir".

He works closely with DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), an organization founded by U2's Bono to advocate for Africa.

The Live 8 concert

On March 31, 2005 Geldof announced Live 8 project to raise awareness of issues that he claims burden Africa, such as government debt, trade barriers, and AIDS issues. Geldof has organised 5 concerts on Saturday July 2, 2005; in London with Elton John, Madonna, Paul McCartney; another in Paris with Andrea Bocelli, Youssou N'Dour; in Rome with Duran Duran, Faith Hill; in Berlin with Brian Wilson, Crosby Stills & Nash; and, in Philadelphia with 50 Cent, Dave Matthews, Sarah McLachlan, and Stevie Wonder. The seminal rock band Pink Floyd will also be performing together, in its classic lineup, for the first time since 1981.

The shows are free, and are scheduled just days before world leaders gather in Scotland for the G8 economic summit.

"The boys and girls with guitars will finally get to turn the world on its axis," Geldof said in a statement[2] (http://www.live8live.com). Geldof has received a lot of criticism for his approach. It is argued that this event is more about rehabilitating the careers of ageing rock stars, including Geldof himself, than it is about the poor people of Africa. There were no African or black artists scheduled to play until criticism forced Geldof to change the line/ups in some of the concerts. His critics claim that Geldof's obsession with debt relief will likely increase defence spending in these countries, and is effectively an open cheque to the governments of these countries, most of which are plagued by corruption.

Fame and Infamy

After Live Aid, Geldof became one of the world's most recognisable people. He became particularly known for his use of strong language in conversation, regardless of his target audience. It was widely claimed that he exhorted viewers to "give us your fuckin' money" in the course of an afternoon session at the BBC's Wembley studio during the Live Aid telethon. However, Geldof actually said "fuck the address" when the presenter suggested that people could send money by the postal system, as Geldof wanted more urgent and instant charitable contributions made by telephone. The phrase, even though he never said it, has since become synonymous with Geldof.

Political Views and Controversies

Bob Geldof adopted an anti-euro stance by appearing in an advertisement against the single currency [3] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2080930.stm) in 2002. Geldof also criticised the European Union (EU)in 2004 for what he called its 'pathetic' response to Ethiopia's food crisis [4] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2939878.stm). Glenys Kinnock, an MEP (Member of the European Parliament), has accused Bob Geldof of getting his facts wrong [5] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2947560.stm). During a visit to Ethiopia, Geldof also praised President George W. Bush's proposal to fight AIDS in Africa [6] (http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=1960). This proposal has been criticised from aid groups due to its heavy emphasis on Christian morality and sexual abstinence [7] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1447713,00.html). There is some opinion that Bob Geldof is becoming the acceptable face of euroscepticism[8] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/netnotes/article/0,6729,748092,00.html). Geldolf is also an active fathers' rights spokesperson in the United Kingdom [9] (http://www.parents4protest.co.uk/_private/bob-geldof-fathers-rights.htm).

Career after the Boomtown Rats

After Live Aid Geldof returned to his career as a musician, successfully releasing a series of solo albums. He also performed with David Gilmour and Thin Lizzy. Along with U2's Bono, he has devoted much time since 2000 to campaigning against African governments having to repay their debts to the first world countries and banks.

He has also worked as a DJ for XFM radio. (In 1998 he erroneously announced the death of Ian Dury, possibly due to hoax information from a listener disgruntled at the station's change of ownership. The incident caused music paper NME to call Geldof "the world's worst DJ".)

Relationship with Paula Yates

As Geldof became world famous, his personal life was affected by bitter tragedy. He had met long-term partner Paula Yates when, as a rock journalist, she became an obsessed fan of the Rats in their early days. They got together as a couple when she hopped on an aeroplane to Paris to surprise him when the band was playing gigs there.

The couple married in 1986 after a long and happy courtship. They had two more daughters, Peaches Honeyblossom and Pixie to follow their eldest, Fifi Trixibelle, who was born prior to their wedding. Simon Le Bon (of Duran Duran) was Geldof's best man.

Yates, former presenter of cutting-edge music show The Tube, left Geldof for Michael Hutchence, singer with INXS, whom she met when interviewing him on The Big Breakfast, the show produced by Geldof's production company after it won the contract to provide a morning news and entertainment show for Channel 4.

Yates had a daughter (named Heavenly Hiraani Tigerlily) with Hutchence. When Hutchence committed suicide in 1997, Geldof went to court and obtained full custody of his three daughters plus Yates' and Hutchence's daughter Tigerlily. Geldof's experiences during his divorce have led him to become an outspoken advocate of fathers' rights. After Yates' death from an overdose, Geldof became the legal guardian of Tigerlily, believing that she should be raised with her 3 half-sisters.

Geldof is profitably involved in business activities and was rumoured for a time to be considering seeking election to the office of President of Ireland in 2004.

Grumpy Old Man

In 2005 Geldof was featured in a BBC documentary called Grumpy Old Men. The show featured men of the baby boom era airing their grievances about life. Other noteworthy celebrities to appear in the show include actor Bill Nighy, Will Self and writer Arthur Smith.

Genealogy

In his 1986 autobiography (with Paul Vallely) Is That It? (ISBN 014009363X), Geldof notes that his surname is extremely rare in Ireland and first appeared with his grandfather, who immigrated from Belgium at the start of the twentieth century.

External links

nl:Bob Geldof no:Bob Geldof

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