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Date of Birth: 05/10/1951
Biography: An Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his compositions "Rat Trap" and "I Don't Like Mondays". He co-wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas?", one of the best-selling singles of all time. He starred as Pink in Pink Floyd's 1982 film Pink Floyd The Wall.
Geldof is widely recognised for his activism, especially anti-poverty efforts concerning Africa. In 1984, he and Midge Ure founded the charity supergroup Band Aid to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. They went on to organise the charity super-concert Live Aid the following year and the Live 8 concerts in 2005. Geldof currently serves as an adviser to the ONE Campaign, founded by fellow Irish humanitarian Bono. A single father, Geldof has also been outspoken for the fathers' rights movement. Geldof has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was granted an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II, and is a recipient of the Man of Peace title which recognises individuals who have made "an outstanding contribution to international social justice and peace", among numerous other awards and nominations.
Geldof was born and raised in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, and attended Blackrock College. His father, Robert, was the son of a Belgian immigrant, a hotel chef, and Amelia "Minnie" Falk, a Jewish Englishwoman. At the age of 41, Geldof's mother Evelyn complained of a headache and died shortly thereafter, having suffered a haemorrhage. Geldof attended Blackrock College in Dublin, whose Catholic ethos he disliked. He was bullied for his lack of rugby prowess and over his third forename, Zenon. After work as a slaughter man, road navvy and pea canner in Wisbech, he started as a music journalist in Vancouver, Canada, for the weekly publication Georgia Straight.
Upon returning to Ireland in 1975, he became the lead singer of the band The Boomtown Rats, a rock group closely linked with the punk movement.
In 1978, The Boomtown Rats had their first No. 1 single in the UK with "Rat Trap", which was the first New Wave chart-topper in Britain. In 1979, the group gained international renown with their second UK No. 1, "I Don't Like Mondays".
In 1980, The Boomtown Rats released the album Mondo Bongo. Its single "Up All Night" in 1981 was a hit in the U.S. and its video played on MTV with heavy rotation.
Geldof quickly became known as a colourful interview. The Boomtown Rats' first appearance on Ireland's The Late Late Show saw Geldof as deliberately brusque to host Gay Byrne and during his interview attacked Irish politicians and the Catholic Church which he blamed for many of the country's problems at the time, and responded to nuns in the audience that had tried to shout him down by saying they had "an easy life with no material worries in return for which they gave themselves body and soul to the church". He also criticised his old private school Blackrock College. The interview caused uproar across the country, making it impossible for the Boomtown Rats to play in Ireland again thereafter (apart from one gig at Leixlip Castle in 1980).
Geldof left the Boomtown Rats in 1986, to launch a solo career and publish his autobiography, Is That It?, which was a best-seller.
His first solo records sold reasonably well and spawned the hit singles "This Is The World Calling" (co-written with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics) and "The Great Song of Indifference". He also occasionally performed with other artists, such as David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy. A performance of "Comfortably Numb" with David Gilmour is documented in the 2002 DVD David Gilmour in Concert. In 1992, he performed at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert with the surviving members of Queen at the old Wembley Stadium, singing a song he had co-written with Mercury, called "Too Late God".
In 1984, Geldof responded to a BBC news report from Michael Buerk about the famine in Ethiopia by mobilising the pop world to do something about the images he had seen. With Midge Ure of Ultravox wrote "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in order to raise funds. The song was recorded by various artists under the name of Band Aid.
In its first week of release the single became the UK's fastest seller of all time, entering the chart at number one and going on to sell over three million copies, making it the biggest-selling single in UK history up to that point, a title it held for almost 13 years. The single was also a major US hit, even though Christmas was long gone by the time it could be released in the States. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" returned to the UK chart a year later, reaching number three, and eventually it raised over £8 million.
Following this massive success preparations were started for the biggest rock concerts the world had ever seen, the following summer.
As Geldof began to learn more about the situation, he discovered that one of the main reasons why African nations were in such dire peril was because of repayments on loans that their countries had taken from Western banks. For every pound donated in aid, ten times as much would have to leave the country in loan repayments. It became obvious that one song was not enough.
On 13 July 1985, Geldof and Ure organised Live Aid, a huge event staged simultaneously at the Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. Thanks to an unprecedented decision by the BBC to clear its schedules for 16 hours of rock music, the event was also broadcast live in the UK on television and radio.
It was one of the most monumental stage shows in history, with Phil Collins flying on Concorde so that he could play at both Wembley and Philadelphia on the same day.
The harrowing video of dying, skeletal children that had been made by photo-journalists setting their films to the tune of "Drive" by The Cars, contributed to the concert's success.
In total, Live Aid raised over £150 million for famine relief. Geldof was subsequently knighted, at age 34, for his efforts. His autobiography, written soon after with Paul Vallely, was entitled Is That It?. This book achieved further fame for being featured on the GCSE examination syllabus in a following year.
Geldof's longtime girlfriend and later wife was Paula Yates. Yates was a rock journalist, presenter of the cutting-edge music show The Tube, and later notorious for her in-bed interviews on the show The Big Breakfast. Geldof met Yates when she became an obsessed fan of the Boomtown Rats during the band's early days. They got together as a couple in 1976 when Yates travelled by aeroplane to Paris to surprise him when the band was playing there.
Before they married, the couple had a daughter, Fifi Trixibelle Geldof, born 1983 (and while Geldof was still conducting an affair with the young Claire King). After 10 years together, Bob and Paula married in June 1986 in Las Vegas, with Simon Le Bon (of Duran Duran) acting as Geldof's best man. The couple later had two more daughters, Peaches Honeyblossom, born March 1989, and Pixie born 1990.
In 1995, Yates left Geldof for Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS, whom she had met several years previously when she interviewed him on The Tube (TV series), and again in 1994 when she interviewed Hutchence again for The Big Breakfast. Geldof and Yates divorced in May 1996 and Yates moved in with Hutchence. Yates and Hutchence had a daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, born 22 July 1996. Hutchence later committed suicide and was found hanged in a hotel room on 22 November 1997. Geldof soon after went to court and obtained full custody of his own three daughters and has since become an outspoken advocate of fathers' rights. After Paula Yates's death from a drug and alcohol overdose in 2000, and with the approval of Hutchence's parents, Geldof became the legal guardian of Tiger Lily, believing it best that she be raised with her three half-sisters. In 2007, Geldof formally adopted her.
Geldof currently resides in Battersea, South London with his partner, French actress Jeanne Marine, and Tiger.
His father died on 26 August 2010 at the age of 96.
Geldof's wealth was estimated by Broadcast magazine in 2001 to be £30 million.