Tales of Boomtown Glory: A book to be celebrated as long overdue

Book review: Page by page, Geldof’s restless intelligence revealed itself to Joseph O’Connor

The young Bob Geldof in London, 1977. Photograph: Corbis via Getty Images

The young Bob Geldof in London, 1977. Photograph: Corbis via Getty Images

In my youth the Boomtown Rats were new, disconcerting and delightful. The era was punk, a flag of convenience to which many bands resorted, but the Rats had a musical hinterland that included high-octane rhythm and blues and the early Bowie and Bolan tracks Bob Geldof had heard in the basement coffee-bar of Murray’s record shop in Dún Laoghaire, an oasis the sands of time have long removed.

In Simon Crowe they had a tremendous drummer, and they had a powerful sense of the visual. Early promotional materials were imaginative and attention-grabbing. The piano player wore pyjamas on stage, an act of the most unprecedented sartorial insurrectionism.

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