Bob Geldof

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Bob Geldof 2014

Robert "Bob" Frederick Zenon Geldof , KBE (born October 5, 1951 in Dún Laoghaire , Ireland ) is an Irish rock musician who, in addition to his musical career since the 1980s, has also been responsible for initiating Live Aid concerts and for his socio-political commitment against the worldwide development of poverty and for the debt relief of the so-called Third World became known to a wider public.


Bob Geldof at Rock am Ring 1987

Bob Geldof grew up near Dublin. After his mother's death in 1959, his older sister took over his upbringing and sent him to the Catholic boarding school " Blackrock College". Geldof's father Bob sr. died in August 2010 at the age of 96.

At the age of 18, Geldof tried his hand at driving a truck, was a street singer, an English teacher and eventually wrote reports for the music magazine "Georgia Street" in Vancouver . In 1975 he returned to Ireland and worked there as a freelance journalist for various music newspapers, among others. a. he conducted interviews for the New Musical Express with Little Richard and Elton John . Soon afterwards he started making music himself and founded "The Nightlife Thugs" in Dublin, who originally played rhythm and blues . The band moved to England in 1976 and changed their name to The Boomtown Rats . Impressed by the Sex Pistols and The Clash, they also changed their musical style and soon got a record deal with "Ensign". As the singer of the Boomtown Rats, Geldof celebrated several musical successes in the following years. Her biggest hit was the 1979 song I Don't Like Mondays , which was inspired by the Brenda Ann Spencer rampage . In 1982, Geldof gave a guest appearance in the lead role of the feature film Pink Floyd - The Wall .

In October 1984, Geldof happened to see a television documentary about the famine in Ethiopia at the time and spontaneously decided to do something about it. He writes about this in his autobiography:

"I went home [...] and switched on the television. I saw something that placed my worries in a ghastly new perspective. The news report was of famine in Ethiopia. [...] That night I couldn't sleep. […] The images played and replayed in my mind. What could I do? [...] Did not the sheer scale of the whole thing call for something more? "

“I went home […] and turned on the television. I saw something that put my worries in a ghastly new perspective. The report was about the famine in Ethiopia. […] I couldn't sleep that night. [...] The images played back and forth in my head. What could i do? [...] Didn't the sheer extent of the whole thing demand something more? "

Together with the musician Midge Ure from the group Ultravox , Geldof wrote the song Do They Know It's Christmas? and started the Band Aid project to raise money against hunger in Ethiopia. Animated by the success of the project, he organized the worldwide concert Live Aid in 1985 .

Since 1986 Bob Geldof has pursued a musical career as a solo artist.


Bob Geldof at a concert in Rostock (2007)

The Boomtown Rats , for which Geldof wrote almost all the songs, are assigned to the punk and new wave movements. At the beginning of the 1980s, the music became more poppy.

On Geldof's first solo album Deep In The Heart Of Nowhere from 1986, he continued this style, from Vegetarians of Love , which was released in 1990, clear influences from Irish folk could be heard; In addition to the acoustic guitar , the violin and accordion were increasingly used. This album had a calm character that was largely retained on The Happy Club in 1992. The album Sex, Age & Death , released in 2001 after a long break , was not very successful commercially.

Social and political engagement

As early as 1982 Bob Geldof was active with Sting , Eric Clapton and Phil Collins at the Secret Policeman's Concert for Amnesty International.

Geldof was the main initiator of the Band Aid project and the worldwide benefit concerts Live Aid on July 13, 1985, Band Aid II and Band Aid 20 in 1989 and 2004, for the benefit of the starving population of Africa.

Since the mid-1990s, Geldof and Bono from U2 have been campaigning for debt relief for the Third World. In 2005 he organized the Live 8 concert, which was traded as a new edition of the Live Aid concert from 1985. The Live 8 concert took place on July 2, 2005 in Hyde Park in London and at eight other locations. These were Johannesburg as well as the capitals of the G8 countries , Paris , Berlin , Rome , Philadelphia (instead of Washington, DC ), Tokyo , Moscow and Barrie (instead of Ottawa ).

Because of his humanitarian commitment, he was seen as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize as early as the 1980s . In 1986 he was appointed Knight Commander of the KBE (KBE). Since Geldof is Irish, he has not been knighted under British law and is also not entitled to call himself "Sir Robert". This is reserved for citizens of the Commonwealth Realms . The Norwegian MP Jan Simonsen proposed Geldof again in 2006 for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Shortly before the G8 summit in Heiligendamm 2007 and the P8 concert in Rostock, in which Geldof was also involved, he took over the editing of the Bildzeitung for one day to draw attention to the difficult political situation in Africa.

Since 2003, Geldof has been involved in the English father movement , in particular for Fathers 4 Justice , based on personal experience .

In 2019, the Mauritius Leaks announced that Geldof had founded the investment company 8 Miles LLP in Mauritius. He is accused of avoiding taxes in Africa and harming the states there.

Private life

Bob Geldof was dating the TV presenter Paula Yates from 1978 to 1996 . The two married in 1986 and the marriage ended in divorce after ten years. The three daughters Fifi Trixibelle (* 1983), Peaches Honeyblossom (1989-2014) and Little Pixie (* 1990) come from the relationship . In addition, Geldof received custody of Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (* 1996) in 2000, which he also adopted. It comes from the relationship of Yates († 2000) and Michael Hutchence († 1997).

In 2019 it became known that Geldof was running a tax- saving model as part of the recordings of the album "How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell" , which is questionable from the point of view of the tax authorities.


The Boomtown Rats

Solo career (selection)

Studio albums

year title Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1986 Deep in the Heart of Nowhere DE27 (10 weeks)
- CH15 (8 weeks)

(1 week)UK
US130 (12 weeks)
First published: November 1986
1990 The Vegetarians of Love DE15 (20 weeks)
AT27 (1 week)
CH20 (10 weeks)
UK21 (6 weeks)
First published: July 1990
1992 The Happy Club DE60 (8 weeks)
- CH39 (1 week)
- -
First published: September 1992
2011 How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell - - - UK89 (1 week)
First published: February 2011

More albums

  • 2001: Sex, Age & Death
  • 2005: Great Songs of Indifference


year Title
Top ranking, total weeks, awardChart placementsChart placements
(Year, title, album , rankings, weeks, awards, notes)
1986 This Is the World Calling
Deep in the Heart of Nowhere
DE28 (9 weeks)
- CH18 (6 weeks)
UK25 (6 weeks)
US82 (6 weeks)
First published: October 1986
Love Like a Rocket
Deep in the Heart of Nowhere
- - - UK61 (5 weeks)
First published: December 1986
1990 The Great Song of Indifference
Vegetarians of Love
DE20 (17 weeks)
- - UK15 (6 weeks)
First published: June 1990
Love or Something
Vegetarians of Love
DE55 (10 weeks)
- - UK86 (3 weeks)
First published: September 1990
1992 Room 19 (Sha La La La Lee)
Happy Club
DE53 (11 weeks)
- - - -
First published: August 1992
1994 Crazy
Loudmouth - The Best of
DE72 (8 weeks)
- - UK65 (1 week)
First published: April 1994


Knight title

Geldof was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986 , but is not allowed to bear the title of Sir as a citizen of the Republic of Ireland; this is reserved for citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or a Commonwealth Realm . The honorary knighthood can only be expressed by a KBE (for Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire ) after the name . Nevertheless, he is also known as Sir Bob .



  • Is that it? (Autobiography). London 1986, ISBN 0-14-009363-X .
    • German: So it was: Childhood in Dublin - the Boomtown Rats - Band Aid and Live Aid . Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 1989, ISBN 3-404-61151-9 .
  • Gero von Boehm : Bob Geldof. January 20, 1987 . Interview in: Encounters. Images of man from three decades . Collection Rolf Heyne, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-89910-443-1 , pp. 151–158.

Web links

Commons : Bob Geldof  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The Irish Times : Death of Bob Geldof snr announced , August 26, 2010
  2. The Irish Times: Funeral of Bob Geldof senior held , August 31, 2010
  3. ^ Munzinger Archive / Pop Archive International 6/90
  4. ^ Geldof, Bob: Is That It? . London, 1986, ISBN 0-14-009363-X
  5. Die Welt : [1] and, critically, the mirror : [2]
  7. ^ Bob Geldof: 'My children think I'm a tiresome loser'. In: Retrieved October 5, 2011 .
  8. Bob Geldof: first the record flops and then comes the tax office. Retrieved February 18, 2019 .
  9. a b Chart sources: DE AT CH UK US
  10. Music Sales Awards: UK
  11. GQ magazine named "Man of the Year" ( Memento from November 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  12. ^ History of the Medals and Awards. Gold medal recipients ( en ) The Royal Geographical Society. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  13. ^ UL Honors Bob Geldof and Marian Keyes . Article dated January 15, 2019, accessed January 25, 2019.