Bob Geldof Biography

Rock musician Bob Geldof used his talents to organize Live Aid concerts that strive to raise money for victims of starvation in Africa. Read this biography to learn more about his music career and philanthropy.
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Rock Musician / Philanthropist

Born: 5 October 1951
Birthplace: County Dublin, Ireland
Best known as: The singer who organized the Live Aid concerts

Name at birth: Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof

Bob Geldof was the leader of the Boomtown Rats, an Irish "new wave" band of the 1970s and '80s. The group had a string of hits in the United Kingdom and broke through to international popularity with the 1979 single "I Don't Like Mondays." In 1984 Geldof turned activist, organizing 40 British pop musicians (including Sting, Bono and Paul McCartney) to record the tune "Do They Know It's Christmas" under the name Band Aid; the goal was to raise money for victims of starvation in Africa. The song was a tremendous hit and led to the mammoth twin charity concerts known as Live Aid, held in London and Philadelphia on 13 July 1985. Geldof was given an honorary knighthood in 1986 and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2005 he helped organize another day of mega-concerts, called Live 8, urging leaders of the G8 nations to forgive African debt and increase aid to the continent. Live 8, with concerts in 10 cities around the world, was held on 2 July 2005.

Extra credit: Geldof married British TV presenter Paula Yates in 1986 and had three children with her: Fifi Trixibelle (b. 1984), Peaches (b. 1989) and Pixie (b. 1990). Yates and Geldof separated in 1995, when she began a relationship with Australian rock star Michael Hutchence... Geldof had an acting role in the 1982 film Pink Floyd's The Wall... "Do They Know It's Christmas" inspired a similar supergroup recording in the United States, "We Are the World," led by Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones... Some sources list his middle name as 'Xenon' rather than 'Zenon'; however, the BBC and CTV, among others, say 'Zenon.'

Copyright © 1998-2006 by Who2?, LLC. All rights reserved.

Enrichment Activities

  • Read about Albert Schweiter, a notable humanitarian and physician who established a mission to provide aid to Africa.
  • Discuss the meaning of hunger and the effects of malnutrition with your pupils.
  • Instruct pupils to research Bob Geldof and write a five-paragraph report about his music career and philanthropy.
  • Enhance your teaching materials with a clip art image illustrating Africa.
  • Use a map of Africa to review the geography of the continent.
  • Brainstorm ways your class could provide aid to Africa.
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