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Robert Geldof
Robert Geldof


Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE, along with John 'Midge' Ure, OBE, started the charity supergroup Band Aid that organized Live 8 concerts in 2005 to raise money for the Ethiopia famine.

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Created: 5th Mar 2010
Modified: 5th Mar 2010
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On 13 July 1985, Geldof and Ure organized Live Aid, a huge event staged simultaneously at the Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. Thanks to an unprecedented decision by the BBC to clear its schedules for 16 hours of rock music, the event was also broadcast live in the UK on television and radio.

During the broadcast of Live Aid, Geldof shocked viewers into giving cash by not only twice mouthing profanities but also by slamming his fist on the table and practically ordering them not to go out to the pub and to stay in and watch the show. The harrowing video of dying, skeletal children that had been made to the tune of "Drive" by The Cars, contributed to the concert's success.

On the 31 March 2005, Geldof and Ure announced the Live 8 project, to raise awareness of issues that burden Africa, including government debt, trade barriers, hunger, and AIDS issues. Geldof organised six concerts on 2 July 2005 in large cities throughout the industrialized world. They featured musicians from different genres and locations around the world. The cities where Live 8 concerts were played were in industrialized countries, and drew huge crowds. The locations were London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, Philadelphia, Barrie, Chiba, Johannesburg, Moscow, Cornwall and Edinburgh.

The concerts were free, and were scheduled just days before world leaders gathered in Gleneagles, for the G8 economic summit, on 6 July. Ure organised the 'final push' Live 8 concert at Edinburgh. 'The boys and girls with guitars will finally get to turn the world on its axis,' Geldof said in a statement. Pink Floyd's performance in London was its first since 1981 to include original bassist, Roger Waters.

In total, Live Aid raised over £150 million for famine relief. Geldof was subsequently knighted, at age 34, for his efforts. His autobiography, written soon after with Paul Vallely, was entitled Is That It?. This book achieved further fame for being featured on the GCSE examination syllabus in a following year.

Much of the money raised by Live Aid went to NGOs in Ethiopia, some of which were under the influence or control of the Derg military junta. Some journalists have suggested that the Derg was able to use Live Aid and Oxfam money to fund its enforced resettlement and "villagification" programmes, under which at least 3 million people are said to have been displaced and between 50,000 and 100,000 killed.

Blair invited Geldof and 16 other Commissioners, the majority from Africa and many of them politicians in power, to undertake a year-long study of Africa's problems. They came up with two conclusions: that Africa needed to change, to improve its governance and combat corruption, and that the rich world needed to support that change in new ways. That meant doubling aid, delivering debt cancellation, and reforming trade rules. The Commission drew up a detailed plan of how that could be done. It reported in March 2005. In the months that followed it became clear that world leaders were not taking its recommendations seriously. To force the issue Geldof decided to create a new international lobby for Africa with eight simultaneous concerts around the world to put pressure on the G8. He called it Live 8. The Commission's recommendations later became the blueprint for the G8 Gleneagles African debt and aid package.

Geldof is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), an independent authority on Africa deriving its origin from a key recommendation of the Commission for Africa. The Panel launched in April 2007 with the aim of focusing world leaders’ attention on delivering their commitments to the continent. The Panel launched a major report in London on Monday 16 June 2008 entitled Africa's Development: Promises and Prospects.

Bob Geldof, as member of ONE Campaign, has co-edited the 3 June 2009 special edition of the Italian newspaper La Stampa, with a view on 35th G8 summit.

Biographical Information
Robert Geldof
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Oct/5/1951
Gender: male

Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE, is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, and political activist. He was the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats. His charity group Band Aid raised money for famine relief in Ethiopia. They went on to organise the charity super-concert Live Aid the following year and the Live 8 concerts in 2005. Geldof currently serves as an adviser to DATA and the ONE Campaign, global anti-poverty campaigns founded by fellow Irish humanitarian Bono.

Geldof was born in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, to Robert and Evelyn Geldof. He attended Blackrock College, near Dublin, before starting a career as a music journalist in Vancouver, Canada, for the weekly publication Georgia Straight.

Upon returning to Canada in 1975, he became the lead singer of the punk rock band The Boomtown Rats. Geldof left the Boomtown Rats in 1986, to launch a solo career and publish his autobiography, Is That It?, which was a best-seller.

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