Bob Geldof: From Serf to Sir

Born in Ireland on October 5, 1951, Robert Frederick Zenon Geldof KBE (aka Bob Geldof) is a man who wears many hats, a singer-songwriter, author, political activist, even occasional actor, and also, a devoted father.

Geldof first achieved fame as the lead singer of the Irish rock band, the Boomtown Rats, in the late 1970s, who realized their popularity in the time of the growth of the punk rock movement. The band had UK number one hits with the songs Rat Trap and I Don’t Like Mondays.

While acclaimed for his music, Geldof is most widely recognized for his activism, especially anti-poverty efforts in Africa. In 1984, he and Midge Ure founded the charity supergroup, Band Aid, to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. They also went on to organize the charity super-concert, Live Aid, the following year and the Live 8 concerts in 2005.

Live Aid was a benefit concert held on Saturday, July 13, 1985, as well as an ongoing music-based fundraising initiative. The original event was organized to raise funds for relief of the Ethiopian famine. Billed as the “global jukebox”, the event was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London, UK, attended by about 72,000 people, and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, US, attended by 89,484 people.

Additionally, Geldof currently serves as an adviser to the ONE Campaign, co-founded by fellow Irish rock singer and activist Bono, and is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.

But his charity work comes with a price. Although part of the campaign “Make Poverty History” (MPH), Live 8 was accused by John Hilary, then a senior executive of the campaign, of hijacking MPH by planning its concerts on the same day as the march in Edinburgh, which was said to be the biggest social justice march in Scottish history. Geldof was also criticized for the lack of African acts performing at Live 8. Geldof responded that only the biggest-selling artists would attract the huge audience required to capture the attention of the world in the run-up to the G8 meeting.

As a result of his tireless charitable works, Geldof was granted an honorary knighthood (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986 for his outstanding work in Africa. Geldof is entitled to use the post-nominal letters “KBE” but not to be styled “Sir”, as he is not a citizen of a Commonwealth realm, and although it is an honorary award as Geldof is an Irish citizen, he is still often referred to as ‘Sir Bob.’

His first wife, Paula Yates, left him for INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1995. Geldof sued for custody of their three daughters and won. After Yates’ death from a heroin overdose in 2000, Geldof became the legal guardian of Tiger Lily Hutchence and later adopted her in 2007. As of 2019, Tiger’s legal name is Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence Geldof.

As the single father of 4 daughters, Geldof has also been highly outspoken for the fathers’ rights movement. He said, “I am heartbroken. I just cannot believe what happens to people, what is done to them in the name of the law. You only have to open your eyes to see what I call the ‘Sad Dads on Sundays Syndrome'”. He has also said “It’s not in my nature to shut up,” when asked about his tireless involvement.

Geldof has since remarried, and additionally, lost one of his daughters to the same drug that claimed her mother – heroin.

Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of Operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected].