I Don't Like Mondays

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"I Don't Like Mondays"
I Don't Like Mondays single cover.jpg
Single by the Boomtown Rats
from the album The Fine Art of Surfacing
B-side"It's All the Rage"
Released13 July 1979 (UK)[1]
October 1979 (US)[2]
RecordedTrident Studios
Length4:19 (LP)
3:47 (single/video)
LabelEnsign (UK)
Columbia (US)
Songwriter(s)Bob Geldof, Johnnie Fingers
Producer(s)Phil Wainman
The Boomtown Rats singles chronology
"Rat Trap"
"I Don't Like Mondays"
"Diamond Smiles"
Music video
"I Don't Like Mondays" on YouTube
"I Don't Like Mondays" on YouTube

"I Don't Like Mondays" is a song by Irish new wave group the Boomtown Rats about the 1979 Cleveland Elementary School shooting in San Diego. It was released in 1979 as the lead single from their third album, The Fine Art of Surfacing. The song was a number-one single in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks during the summer of 1979,[3] and ranks as the sixth-biggest hit of the UK in 1979.[4] Written by Bob Geldof and Johnnie Fingers, the piano ballad[5] was the band's second single to reach number one on the UK chart.

Background and writing[edit]

According to Geldof, he wrote the song after reading a telex report[6] at Georgia State University's campus radio station, WRAS, on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children in a school playground at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, on 29 January 1979, killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime; her explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day".[7] Geldof had been contacted by Steve Jobs to play a gig for Apple, inspiring the opening line about a "silicon chip".[6] The song was first performed less than a month later.

Geldof explained how he wrote the song:

I was doing a radio interview in Atlanta with Johnnie Fingers and there was a telex machine beside me. I read it as it came out. Not liking Mondays as a reason for doing somebody in is a bit strange. I was thinking about it on the way back to the hotel and I just said 'silicon chip inside her head had switched to overload'.[6] I wrote that down. And the journalists interviewing her said, 'Tell me why?' It was such a senseless act. It was the perfect senseless act and this was the perfect senseless reason for doing it. So perhaps I wrote the perfect senseless song to illustrate it. It wasn't an attempt to exploit tragedy.[8]

Geldof had originally intended the song as a B-side, but changed his mind after the song was successful with audiences on the Rats' US tour.[8] Spencer's family tried to prevent the single from being released in the United States, but were unsuccessful.[8]

In later years, Geldof admitted that he regretted writing the song because he "made Brenda Spencer famous".[9]

In 2019 Bob Geldof and Johnnie Fingers reached an agreement in their dispute over who wrote the song, until then credited solely to Geldof. Fingers received a financial settlement and co-credit.[10]

Chart performance[edit]

Despite reaching number-one in the United Kingdom, it only reached number 73 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[11]

In the UK the song won the Best Pop Song and Outstanding British Lyric categories at the Ivor Novello Awards.[12]

Live performances[edit]

On 9 September 1981, Geldof was joined on stage by fellow Boomtown Rat Johnnie Fingers to perform the song for The Secret Policeman's Ball sponsored by Amnesty International. A recording of that performance appears on the 1982 album The Secret Policeman's Other Ball.

The Boomtown Rats performed the song for Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985. This was the band's final major appearance. On singing the line, "And the lesson today is how to die", Geldof paused for 20 seconds while the crowd applauded the significance to those starving in Africa that Live Aid was intended to help.

At a concert in London in 1995, almost ten years later to the day, Bon Jovi covered the song after being joined on stage by Geldof at Wembley Stadium. This recorded performance features on Bon Jovi's live album One Wild Night Live 1985–2001, as well as on the bonus 2-CD edition of These Days. Bon Jovi was again joined by Geldof for a performance of the song at The O2 Arena on 23 June 2010, the 10th night of their 12-night residency.

"I Don't Like Mondays" was subsequently covered by Tori Amos on her 2001 album Strange Little Girls and later by G4 on their 2006 album Act Three.

Music video[edit]

A music video directed by David Mallet was used to promote the song. The video begins with the Boomtown Rats performing in a choir with children in the pews miming the chorus ("Tell Me Why?"). It then cuts to a family living room with the daughter just coming back from school but here the chorus is mimed by the other three band members to lead singer Bob Geldof. It then transitions to a soft piano fill with Geldof in front of a white background wearing sunglasses singing the final verse of the single version. After the line "And the lesson today is how to die" a series of jump cuts of Geldof quickly appear before he sings the last few lines. Afterwards the final chorus is presented this time mimed with the same children from the beginning. The clip ends with the Boomtown Rats looking at a chroma key image of a house in a grassy plain.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Boomtown Rats singles".
  2. ^ "Record World" (PDF). 20 October 1979. p. 36. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 370–1. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Top 100 1979 - UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  5. ^ Hermann, Andy (25 January 2017). "10 Underrated '80s Bands You Need to Hear Now". L.A. Weekly.
  6. ^ a b c "BBC Radio 6 Music – Classic Singles, I Don't Like Mondays". BBC.
  7. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (29 September 2005). "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Music (I Don't Like Mondays)". snopes.com.
  8. ^ a b c Clarke, Steve (18–31 October 1979). The Fastest Lip on Vinyl. Smash Hits. EMAP National Publications Ltd. pp. 6–7.
  9. ^ Bob Geldof reveals the truth of "I Don't Like Mondays"!. Event occurs at 2:08. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Geldof and Fingers reach settlement over 'I Don't Like Mondays'". The Irish Times. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000). Top Pop Singles 1955–1999. Record Research Inc. p. 65. ISBN 0-89820-139-X.
  12. ^ "I Don't Like Mondays". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Kent Music Report No 288 – 31 December 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1979". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 10 January 2023 – via Imgur.com.
  14. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  15. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6884a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Don't Like Mondays". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1979" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  19. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays". Top 40 Singles.
  21. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays". VG-lista.
  22. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – March 1989". Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  23. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  24. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays". Singles Top 100.
  25. ^ "The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays". Swiss Singles Chart.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ "The Boomtown Rats Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  28. ^ Downey, Pat; Albert, George; Hoffman, Frank (1994). Cash Box Pop Singles Charts, 1950–1993. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, Inc. p. 33. ISBN 1563083167. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  29. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Boomtown Rats – I Don't Like Mondays". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1979". Ultratop. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  31. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1979". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  33. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1979". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  34. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1979 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 31 December 1979. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  35. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1979". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  36. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1979" Record Mirror 5 January 1980: 30
  37. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved 8 August 2021.
  38. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - December 20, 1980" (PDF).