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"
Released 21 July 1979 (UK)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded Trident Studios
Length 4:19
Label Ensign (UK)
Columbia (US)
Writer(s) Bob Geldof
Producer(s) Phil Wainman
The Boomtown Rats singles chronology
"Rat Trap"
"I Don't Like Mondays"
"Diamond Smiles"

"I Don't Like Mondays" is a song by Irish band The Boomtown Rats that was a number one single in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks during the summer of 1979,[1] and ranks as the sixth biggest British hit of 1979.[2] Written by Bob Geldof, it was the band's second number one single.


According to Geldof, he wrote the song after reading a telex report 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, US on 29 January 1979, killing two adults and injuring eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day".[3] 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'. 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.[4]

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.[4] Spencer's family tried unsuccessfully to prevent the single from being released in the United States.[4] Despite being a major hit in the United Kingdom, it only reached #73 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[5] The song was played regularly by album-oriented rock format radio stations in the United States throughout the 1980s, although radio stations in San Diego refrained from playing the track for some years in respect to local sensitivities about the shooting.

The strings were arranged by Fiachra Trench. Apart from Geldof, pianist Johnnie Fingers and drummer Simon Crowe are the only members of the group who appear on the recording.

A slightly extended version, including a reprise of the first verse after the last, prior to the chorus, appeared on the group's third album, 'The Fine Art of Surfacing'.

The song became Number One in the UK single charts in July 1979. In the UK it won the Best Pop Song and Outstanding British Lyric categories at the Ivor Novello Awards.[6]

Chart performance[edit]

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 to be 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 on 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. Geldof himself performed a version of the song while hosting the Live 8 concert in London, on 2 July 2005.[citation needed]

"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.

In popular culture[edit]

In "20 Hours in America, Part II", the second episode of season 4 of The West Wing, the song (covered by Tori Amos) was featured during the aftermath of a fictional bombing at Kennison State University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the story behind the song having been told in the previous episode: "20 Hours in America, Part I".

The title of the song can be seen scrawled in graffiti on a wall at the beginning of the 1985 film The Breakfast Club.

The song appeared in the television series House in the episode "Half-Wit". Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) played the piano introduction to the song for a patient (Dave Matthews), a musical savant with dystonia, who then repeated it perfectly (with House adding the distinctive hand claps between the last two phrases).

Tori Amos's cover of the song was also used in a major touring production of Romeo and Juliet by Headlong in a sequence many theatre critics commented on, where its refrain of 'Tell me why' spoke to the production's emphasis on coincidence and chance leading to the play's tragedy.

Vh1 rated the song at #65 on its list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the '80s, despite the song being released in 1979 and the Boomtown Rats having several other hits in the UK and Ireland.


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 370–1. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ "Top 100 1979 - UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  3. ^ Mikkelson, Barbara (29 September 2005). "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Music (I Don't Like Mondays)". snopes.com. 
  4. ^ a b c Clarke, Steve (18–31 October 1979). The Fastest Lip on Vinyl. Smash Hits. EMAP National Publications Ltd. pp. 6–7. 
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000). Top Pop Singles 1955-1999. Record Research Inc. p. 65. ISBN 0-89820-139-X. 
  6. ^ "I Don't Like Mondays". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  7. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  9. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2015-10-20. 
  10. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1979 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1979-12-31. Retrieved 2016-10-15. 
  11. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1979" Record Mirror 5 January 1980: 30
Preceded by
"Are 'Friends' Electric?" by Tubeway Army
UK number-one single
28 July 1979 - 24 August 1979
Succeeded by
"We Don't Talk Anymore" by Cliff Richard
Preceded by
"Do You Want Your Oul Lobby Washed Down" by Brendan Shine
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
4 August 1979 - 31 August 1979
Succeeded by
"Viva Il Papa" by Catriona Walsh
Preceded by
"Born to Be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
12 November 1979 - 25 November 1979
Succeeded by
"Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles