“I Don’t Like Mondays” was a UK number one single for four weeks during July and August 1979. Written by Bob Geldof and performed by The Boomtown Rats. It was the band’s second number one single.
Geldof wrote the song after reading a telex report at Georgia State University’s campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children playing in a school playground at Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California on 29 January 1979. She killed two adults and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was “I don’t like Mondays; this livens up the day.”
The song was first performed less than a month later at the Fox Theatre, London. Geldof explained how he wrote the song:
“I was doing a radio interview in Atlanta with Fingers and there was a telex machine beside me. I read it as it came out. Not liking Mondays as a reason for doing somebody in, is a bit strange. I was thinking about it on the way back to the hotel, and I just said ‘Silicone (sic) chip inside her head had switched to overload’. I wrote that down. And the journalists interviewing her said, ‘Tell me why?’ It was such a senseless act. It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it. So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn’t an attempt to exploit tragedy.”
Geldof had originally intended the song as a b-side, but changed his mind after the song went down well with audiences on the Rats’ US tour.
Spencer’s family tried unsuccessfully to prevent the single from being released in the United States.
Despite being a major hit in the United Kingdom, it only reached #73 on the US Billboard Hot 100, partly due to Geldof’s antagonistic attitude towards U.S. radio stations. The song was played regularly by album-oriented rock format radio stations in the United States throughout the 1980s, although radio stations in San Diego still refrained from playing the track for some years in respect to local sensitivities about the shooting.
The song became Number One in the UK single charts in July 1979. In the UK it won the prestigious Best Pop Song and Outstanding British Lyric categories at the Ivor Novello Awards.
It was subsequently covered by Tori Amos on her 2001 album Strange Little Girls and later by G4 on their 2006 album Act Three.
At a concert in London in 1995, just before the tenth anniversary of Live Aid (during which Geldof himself performed the song in the Boomtown Rats’ final major appearance), Bon Jovi covered the song after being joined on stage by Geldof at Wembley Stadium.
This recorded performance features on Bon Jovi’s live album One Wild Night Live 1985–2001, as well as on the bonus 2-CD edition of These Days. Geldof himself performed an impromptu version of the song while hosting the Live 8 concert in London, on 2 July 2005.
Germany 4 England 1 …………………..well there is always an exception to the rule!
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