Rat Trap

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For other uses, see Rat trap (disambiguation).
"Rat Trap"
Single by The Boomtown Rats
from the album A Tonic for the Troops
B-side "So Strange"[1]
Released October 14, 1978 (1978-10-14) (UK)
Format 7" vinyl[1]
Genre Punk rock, new wave, glam rock
Length 4:55
Label
Writer(s) Bob Geldof[1]
Producer(s) Robert John "Mutt" Lange[1]
The Boomtown Rats singles chronology
"Like Clockwork"
(1978)
"Rat Trap"
(1978)
"I Don't Like Mondays"
(1979)

"Rat Trap" was a single by The Boomtown Rats, which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in November 1978,[2] the first single by a punk or new wave act to do so.[3] It was written by Bob Geldof,[4] and produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange.[1] It replaced "Summer Nights", a hit single for John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John from the soundtrack of Grease, at number one in the UK chart after "Summer Nights" seven week reign at the top.[5]

Song[edit]

It is a rock ballad, telling the tale of a boy called Billy who feels the depressing town he lives in is a "Rat Trap".

When the band performed the song on Top of the Pops (which is also mentioned in the song) as the UK new number one, the band members began by tearing up pictures of Travolta and Newton-John to emphasise the fact that the pair - who had spent a total of 16 weeks out of the preceding 22 at the top of the charts - had been deposed. Geldof mimed the saxophone part on a candelabra, a jest referring to the TOTP practice of bands miming to a backing track.[citation needed]

In the music video, various members of the band are seen reading copies of the novel Rat Trap by the Welsh author Craig Thomas, although the book has no connection to the song. The lyric about "pus and grime..." was changed to "blood and tears pour down the drains and the sewers".[citation needed]

One of the more popular Boomtown Rats songs, it was performed by them at Live Aid and is still performed by Geldof to this day. During the Live Aid performance, Geldof's microphone went dead (apparently from the cable being damaged), causing Simon Crowe's harmony vocals to become the only audible voice on the last half of the song. This performance was not included on the DVD.[citation needed]

In 1996 Geldof recorded a self-mocking cover version of the song with Dustin The Turkey which reached number one in Ireland.[citation needed]

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Boomtown Rats, The - Rat Trap (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2002), The Virgin encyclopedia of 70s music (3rd ed.), Virgin Publishing, p. 45, ISBN 1852279478. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 71. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ "Bob Geldof". bobgeldof.com. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  5. ^ Pegg, Nicholas (2006), The complete David Bowie (6th ed.), Reynolds & Hearn, p. 76, ISBN 1905287151. 
Preceded by
"Summer Nights" by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
UK number-one single
18 November 1978 - 25 November 1978
Succeeded by
"Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" by Rod Stewart