The Rats were formed in Dun Laoghaire, near Dublin, Ireland, in 1975 by a former journalist Bob Geldof (vocals - born 5 Oct. 1954), Johnnie Fingers (keyboards - real name John Moylett, born 10, Sep. 1956), Gerry Cott (guitar), Garry Roberts (guitar - born 16 June 1954), Pete Briquette (bass - real name Patrick Cusack, born 2 July 1954), and Simon Crowe (drums). The original name of the band was Nightlife Thugs, but they soon changes it to Boomtown Rats which was taken from Woody Guthrie's novel Bound for Glory.
The group moved to London in October 1976 and did sign to Ensign Records. Their debut single, Lookin' After No. 1, was released in August 1977. It was the first of nine straight singles to make the U.K. Top 15, reaching to 11. The first LP The Boomtown Rats, was released in next month. In November 1978 band appears on ITV's Get It Together and get their first number one hit; Rat Trap is taken from LP Tonic for the Troops. 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.
In 1979 band tours in USA from February to May and did appear also at the California Music Festival with Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick and Van Halen.
The next single, I Don't Like Mondays was the big one for Boomtown Rats and their second number one hit in UK (July 28). This record was subjected to an unofficial ban by most US radio stations, who were wary of legal action from the parents of a schoolgirl (Brenda Spencer from San Diego) who shot her classmates 29th January 1979, explaining her reason as she didn't like Mondays. The single was contained on the Rats' third album, The Fine Art of Surfacing, released in October 1979. The album also contained their next U.K. Top Ten hit, Someone's Looking at You.
In the beginning of 1980 band sets off a lengthy world tour, covering Europe, USA, Japan and Australia. In May I Don't Like Mondays wins the Best Pop Song and Outstanding British Lyric categories at the 25th annual Ivor Novello Award. 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 the band continue as 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 '82, Geldof starred in the movie Pink Floyd: The Wall based on the 1979 Pink Floyd album of the same title.
In November 1984 Geldof sees a BBC TV report on famine in Ethiopia and determines to raise funds to help the situation. This is the beginning of the Band Aid relief project. In 25th November thirty-six artists, including Bob Geldof and member of the Boomtown Rats record the historic Do They Know It's Christmas single (written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure). Do They Know It's Christmas is the best selling single in 1984.
Geldof continues organising Live Aid concert which is held at Wembley Stadium, London and Philadelphia at the same time in 13th July 1985. Boomtown Rats perform in Wembley concert. This is one of the last concerts which the Rats played. In the next year Geldof launches his solo recording career.
In 1994 re-issued I Don't Like Mondays reaches its UK Number 38 peak and Loudmouth - the Best of Boomtown Rats debuts at it UK Number 10 peak.
Lookin' After No. 1 // Born to Burn / Barefootin' (live) (Ensign ENY-4) 9/77 (highest chart position in UK: 11)
** LP ** The Boomtown Rats (Ensing ENVY-1) 9/77 (highest chart position in UK: 18)
Mary of the Fourth Form / Do the Rat (Ensign ENY-9) 12/77 (highest chart position in UK: 15)
She's so Modern / Lying Again (Ensign ENY-13) 5/78 (highest chart position in UK: 12)
Like Clockwork / How Do You Do ? (Ensign ENY-14) 7/78 (highest chart position in UK: 6)
** LP ** A Tonic for the Troops (Ensign ENVY-3) 7/78 (highest chart position in UK: 8, 44 weeks in the charts!)
Rat Trap / So Strange (Ensign ENY-16) 11/78 (highest chart position in UK: 1)
I Don't Like Mondays / It's All the Rage (Ensing ENY-30) 7/79 (highest chart position in UK: 1)
** LP ** The Fine Art of Surfacing (Ensign ENROX-11) 11/79 (highest chart position in UK: 7)
Diamond Smiles / Late Last Night (Ensign ENY-33) 12/79 (highest chart position in UK: 13)
Someone's Looking at You / ??? (Ensign ENY-34, also as 12" ENY-3412) 2/80 (highest chart position in UK: 4)
Banana Republic / Man at the Top (Ensign BONGO-1) 12/80 (highest chart position in UK: 3)
Elephants Graveyard / Real Different (Mercury BONGO-2) 2/81 (highest chart position in UK: 26)
** LP ** Mondo Bongo (Mercury 6359-042) 2/81 (highest chart position in UK: 6)
Never in a Million Years / Donít Talk to Me (Mercury MER-87) 12/81 (highest chart position in UK: 62)
House on Fire / Europe Looked Ugly (Mercury MER-91) 4/82 (highest chart position in UK: 24)
House on Fire // Dub Mix / Europe Looked Ugly (12") (Mercury MERX-91) 4/82
** LP ** V Deep (Mercury 6359-082) 4/82 (highest chart position in UK: 64)
Charmed Lives / No Hiding Place (Mercury MER-106) 8/82 (didn't chart)
Charmed Lives / House On Fire // Skin On Skin / Storm Breaks (Mercury MERX-1062) 8/82
** LP ** In the Long Grass (Mercury MERL-38) -84
Tonight // Precious Time (Mercury MER-154; also as 12", with bonus track Walking Downtown MERX-154) 2/84 (highest chart position in UK: 73)
Drag Me Down / An Icile in the Sun (Mercury MER-163, also as 12" MERX-163) 5/84 (highest chart position in UK: 50)
Dave / Hard Times (first pressing with free 7" 'I Don't Like Mondays' Mercury MER-179; also as 12", with bonus tracks Live Side Lazun Gemmun the Boomtown Rats, Banana Republic and Close As You'll Ever Be MERX-179) -84
** LP ** Ratrospective (maxi; 6 tracks Columbia) -83
** CD ** Greatest Hits (Columbia 40615) -87
** CD ** Loudmouth (the best of) (Vertigo 522 283-2)
Most important tracks on compilations:
New Wave: Looking after No. 1 (Vertigo 6300.902) -77
Best of Top of the Pops: Someone's Looking at You (BBC BELP-016)
That Summer: She's So Modern ja Kicks (Arista 062-62823) -79
Burning Ambitions: Looking after No. 1 ' (Cherry Red DRED-3) -82
Three Minute Heroes: 20 of the Finest Punk & New Wave Singles: Rat Trap (Virgin VTCD9) -92
DiY 1: Anarchy in the UK - UK Punk I (1976-77): Lookin' After No. 1 (Rhino Records R2 71171) -93
Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's Volume 4: Up All Night (Rhino Records R2 71697) -94
Best of 1980-1990 Volume 11: Banana Republic (EMI Electrola) -95
Best Punk Album in the World...Ever!: Lookin' After No. 1 (Virgin VTDCD 42) -95
The Number One Punk Album: 47 Punk Rock Classics: Rat Trap (Polygram TV 535 658-2) -96
Once in a Lifetime - 40 Classic New Wave Hits: Rat Trap (Telstar TCD2889) -97
I Don't Like Mondays on hundreds and hundreds compilations.
Boomtown Rats links:
Boomtown Rats - www.boomtownrats.com, un-official, but great!
Boomtown Rats - The Rough Guide to Rock
Boomtown Rats - Trouser Press
Boomtown Rats - photos
Created by JJu: April 1, 1996
Saint Bob in Rat TrapLast Updated: September 6, 1999