“It’s really very simple, Governor. When people are hungry they die. So spare me your politics and tell me what you need and how you’re going to get it to these people.”
After graduating from Black Rock College in Ireland, Geldof travelled to Canada to work as a journalist. In 1975 he co-founded the Dublin based punk band The Boomtown Rats for which he was the lead singer. Rat Trap was their first #1 song on the New Wave charts in the UK. I Don’t Like Mondays brought the group international fame.
The band’s video that song and for Up All Night scored high with MTV [Remember when MTV actually was known for introducing new music via music videos?]In 1982 Geldof played Pink in the movie Pink Floyd the Wall.
Geldof parted ways with the Rats in 1986 and sent solo. He co-wrote the beautiful This the World Calling with the Eurthmics’ Dave Stewart.
He worked with a variety of artist and continued to collaborate with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. He sang Too Late God at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (he co-wrote the tune with Mercury.)
Starting in the early 80s he performed in benefits like the Secret Policeman’s Ball for Amenesty International. By 1984 he came up with the idea of bring the pop music industry together for a concert to aid famine relief in Ethiopia. He co-wrote Do They Know It’s Christmas? With Midge Ure of Ultravox and brought together a supergroup of pop artist under the name Band Aid to the Sarm West Studios to record it. The song eventually raised over 8 million pounds.
In July of 1985 Geldof and Ure expanded on the idea of Band Aid with a broadcast concerts, Live Aid. The concerts took place both in the UK, at Wembley Stadium, and in the US, at Philadelphia’s Kennedy Stadium. The BBC carried the whole thing live — all 16 hours of it. Geldof’s passionate, angry plea/demand for money helped the event raise over 150 million pounds in famine relief. Live Aid set the standard for benefit concerts to come.
Geldof was knighted for his efforts.
Along with fellow rocker, Bono, he continues to work toward debt relief for developing countries. He is a member of the African Progress Panel, a watch dog group that keeps world leaders focused on their commitments to the African continent.