What contribution was that again?

The announcement that (Saint) Bob Geldolf is to receive an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music at this years Brit Awards has provoked the kind of spluttering disbelief, from music critics, that we’ve become accustomed to whenever Gerry Adams denies ever being a member of the Provisional IRA (see Feeney’s article). The Guardian’s rock and pop critic Alexis Petridis has a suggestion – “Give him an award by all means, but let’s not pretend his songs have anything to do with it”

Geldolf appears to believe differently, however – he’s quoted in the article as saying “It means more than the knighthood, because that was for everyone involved in Band Aid.. The Brit award is for me alone because I, after all, wrote the fucking songs.”

And which songs where they? Petridis lists the [only] well-known ones, Rat Trap.. and er.. well, Rat Trap – “Geldolf ripping up a John Travolta poster on Top of The Pops.. it was as close to punk as most eight-year-old viewers got

There are, as Alexis Petridis suggests, other more deserving recipients of an Outstanding Contribution to Music award among Geldolf’s own peers – the Clash, the Buzzcocks, Elvis Costello, even Dr Feelgood.

Instead it’s going to Geldolf, a nice[?] guy who had a couple of big new wave hits and ripped up a John Travolta poster on Top of The Pops. Give him an award by all means, but let’s not pretend his songs have anything to do with it.

That sentiment would appear to be shared by the organisers of the Brit Awards – or at least whoever maintains their website. Click on the ‘Play Music’ link beside Saint Bob’s picture and you’d expect to listen to, you’d think, a sample of that ‘contribution’.. you, and indeed Bob, may be disappointed. The only sample of his work, on which to justify the award, is “Do they know it’s Christmas”.. the 2004 version.

  • maca

    Ah c’mon! They may not have had as many hits as the Spice Girls but they were one of the memorable bands of the late 70’s & 80’s. Their music already got them Ivor Novellos, Grammys & Brits so why not an “Outstanding Contribution” award?

  • armaghman

    I have been reading his autobiography recently and in it there is a piece where he asks a soldier in Belfast to stick his gun in his mouth so that he knows what it must feel like to be so close to death. His (non) contribution to music notwithstanding he must be one of the most utterly pretentious, self indulgent, pompous individuals around today. In his various pronouncements he exudes a sanctimoniousness that for some reason Southerners have a particular genius for. By all means laud him for his Band Aid work but lets not turn him into a saint cos he sure ain’t that.

  • peteb


    Awards given out primarily for record sales in any particular year are one thing, but an Outstanding Contribution to Music award was created to allow such events the pretence of having some perspective and understanding of the medium the industry is founded upon..

    Memorable?.. I’ll ask again.. What contribution [to music] was that again?

  • maca

    “What contribution [to music] was that again?”

    How about ten albums, 6 with the Rats and 4 solo which included number ones. “I Don’t Like Mondays” was a worldwide hit! What does a band have to do to be ‘memorable’?

  • peteb

    That’s still the sales argument, maca, for which he has received his awards.

  • smcgiff

    I could be wrong, and not sure if this is enough to merit the proposed award, but weren’t the ‘Rats considered one of the first Irish bands of its type? Or at least brought this music to the fore in Ireland?

  • Emmett

    Since when did the ‘Brit Awards’ have any real credibility in the music industry anyway?

    Don’t forget peteb – The Spice Girls won this very award in 2000…

  • maca

    I’d call 10 albums a significant contribution and worth of recognition with such an award. Those albums spoke for Dublin youth the way the Sex Pistols or the Clash spoke for London youth.

    I don’t see why DrFeelgood would be more deserving, had to search Google to find out who the heck they were. 😉

  • slackjaw

    Do Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats have a new compilation coming out soon? I sense that these things tend to coincide with receiving honorary awards…

    If I recall correctly, the Boomtown Rats were a big influence on New Wave of New Wave band These Animal Men.

  • peteb

    All fine arguments.. but I’ll just remind you of Geldolf’s own self-delusional comment on this…

    “The Brit award is for me alone because I, after all, wrote the fucking songs.”

  • Alan

    The boul Bob deserves it. The songs were a breath of fresh air. Don’t forget, we had the horrors of Ballroom blitz, Johnny Don’t be a Hero etc before this. As for the Rubettes . . .!

    Mind you, around that time I had the choice of seeing U2 or Stiff Little Fingers in the McMordie ( ah, Days of innocence)and chose the Stiffs – which would still be my choice.

    Maca, shame on you not knowing who Dr F were!

  • smcgiff

    ‘All fine arguments.. but I’ll just remind you of Geldolf’s own self-delusional comment on this…

    “The Brit award is for me alone because I, after all, wrote the fucking songs.”‘

    Don’t forget we’re talking about a musician here and a music award.

    That must be one of the mildest things I’ve heard been uttered by a rocker that was later used to criticise them.

    ‘Egotistical Rocker Shocker!’

  • peteb

    add “unjustified” to “self-delusional”, then smcgiff 😉

  • Jimmy Sands

    Whether you like the records or not (and I think they’re better than the critical consensus will allow), they were an enormous part of the development of Irish rock music. Such was the dearth of infrastructure for anything bar the showbands that they were three albums along before we even got to see them play.

  • Davros

    Don’t sneer at the showbands Jimmy. Like Irish C&W they are an important part of our cultural history.

    p.s. Good for Bob G, especially his stand on Paternal rights. However , if anybody deserves recognition , I vote for Joe Dolan.
    Oh me, Oh my, You make me sigh….

  • maca

    Pete, a quote on it’s own means nothing. Was Bob smiling at the time? How do you know he wasn’t taking the piss? Does it matter either way?

    Joe Dolan? Next you’ll be saying Johnny Logan … or god forbid, Dana!!! Aaargh!!

  • Davros

    Maca- the difference is that you cannot drink enough to start enjoying Logan or Dana ….

    Make me an Island!

  • smcgiff

    ‘Make me an Island!’

    Oh, yeah. Joe Dolan, well know republican! 😉

  • D’Oracle


    I’m with you on Geldof being ” pretentious, self indulgent, pompous ” but..hey–its nothing to do with Southerners ; the mans a Belgian!

    That said , he has done some good ; Petridis has it about right – give him a medal but not for songs.