The Real-Life Tragedy That Inspired The Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays"

Bob Geldof in 1979
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One of The Boomtown Rats' biggest hits, "I Don't Like Mondays," reached the top of the British rock charts for four weeks in the summer of 1979 and became their only charting single in America - years before frontman Bob Geldof rebranded as an activist with the Band Aid and Live Aid projects in 1984 and 1985.

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Geldof was inspired to write the plaintive, piano-driven tune by a real-life harrowing event: on Jan. 29, 1979, a teenager opened fire on a playground at a San Diego elementary school. Two people were killed and another nine wounded, including eight children. Asked to justify her actions, the shooter replied, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."

"It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it," Geldof later told the BBC. "So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn't an attempt to exploit tragedy." He later recalled that the jailed shooter wrote him to thank him for making him famous, which he called "not a good thing to live with."

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