The Boomtown Rats were an Irish punk rock band that had a series of hits between 1977 and 1985. They were led by vocalist Bob Geldof.
The band was originally formed under the name "The Nightlife Thugs," but they agreed on the name change to the "Boomtown Rats" after a gang in Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory.
The group moved to London in October 1976, and became influenced by the punk movement. They signed with Ensign Records and released their debut single, "Lookin' After No. 1", in August 1977. It was the first of nine straight singles to make the Top 40 in the UK Singles Chart.
Their debut album, The Boomtown Rats, was released in September 1977, on Ensign in the UK and on Mercury Records in the United States, and featured another single, "Mary of the 4th Form".
The Rats' second album, A Tonic for the Troops, appeared in June 1978 in the UK. It featured three hit singles, "Like Clockwork", "She's So Modern" and "Rat Trap". A Tonic for the Troops was released in the U.S. on Columbia in February 1979, with two tracks from The Boomtown Rats substituted for tracks on the UK version.
Mutt Lange produced "Rat Trap", which became the first rock song by an Irish band to reach #1 in the UK, and the first of any description by an Irish band to top the official chart used by the BBC. In addition, "Rat Trap" was also the first new wave song to claim the number one spot.
In 1979, "I Don't Like Mondays", was released. The song was written in response to a California school shooting, and also reached #1 in the UK. The song was a worldwide hit.
The Fine Art of Surfacing was the band's third album. Besides "I Don't Like Mondays" the album also contained "Diamond Smiles" which became their next Top 10 hit in the UK and another hit-single "Someone's Looking at You".
In 1980 "Banana Republic" was released, which was their last Top 10 hit, and in the following year The Boomtown Rats next studio album Mondo Bongo was issued.
Here after their popularity waned, and the band final two albums did not achieve very much attension.
Bob Geldof later got involved with the Band Aid projects which secured him a name in Pop/Rock history.