Geldof first came to fame in the mid-1970s as leader of the Boomtown Rats, a rock group closely linked with the punk movement. In 1978, they had their first Number 1 single with Rat Trap, which was the first new wave chart-topper in the UK. The Rats did not remain for long at the top of the tree, and by 1984 their career had declined sharply. It was in November of that year that Geldof saw a BBC news report by Michael Buerk on the famine in Ethiopia and vowed to do something about it.
Using powers of persuasion which have since become a major part of the Geldof legend, he put together a group (Band Aid), consisting of leading British rock and pop musicians, all of whom were at the very top of the industry.
Their single Do They Know it's Christmas? was released just before Christmas with the aim of raising money for the relief of the famine. Geldof's somewhat cautious hope was for £70,000. Ultimately, however, the song raised many millions of pounds and became the biggest-selling single in UK chart history.
Not content with the enormous success of the Band Aid single, Geldof went on to organise and perform with the Rats at the massive charity concert Live Aid, which raised unprecedented sums for the cause, and travelled all over the globe raising money. He even challenged Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister of the UK, leading to a major re-evaluation of British government policy towards famine relief. In recognition of this work, he has received many awards, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2004 Bob Geldof launched a new international campaign against poverty in Africa - what can you find out about that?