This is about Brenda Spencer, a 16-year-old high school student who lived across the street from Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California. On Monday, January 29, 1979, she opened fire on the school with a rifle her father had given her for Christmas, killing two adults (including the principal) and injuring nine children before going back to her home. Police surrounded her home and waited for seven hours until she gave herself up. In that time, she spoke with a reporter on the phone. When asked why she did it, she replied, "I just started shooting, that's it. I just did it for the fun of it. I just don't like Mondays. I just did it because it's a way to cheer the day up. Nobody likes Mondays."
This was #1 hit in 32 different countries, but it flopped in America, probably because the subject matter hit too close to home. Gun violence is a big problem in America.
At a basic level, this is often heard as a song lamenting the beginning of the work week. Some radio stations play it every Monday at a certain time.
Group leader Bob Geldof wrote this. He went on to organize charity efforts Band Aid, Live Aid and Live 8, earning a KBE (the equivalent of knighthood given to people born outside of England) for his efforts. The Boomtown Rats played this as part of their set at Live Aid.
While in Atlanta touring, Bob Geldof heard the news story about Brenda Spencer. Geldof composed the song on the spot, originally as a reggae number. Back in Los Angeles after the tour, a studio demo was recorded with grand piano and vocals. By the time 'I Don't Like Mondays' was introduced onstage in Loch Lomond, Scotland, the song had been transformed dramatically.
Brenda Spencer's parents tried to have the single banned in the US, without success.
The video, directed by David Mallet, was one of the first to have a narrative story to it, albeit a rather abstract one. There is no reference to the shooting that inspired the song, but we see a schoolgirl leave class and return home, where her parents are watching television.
In the UK, the song won the prestigious Best Pop Song and Outstanding British Lyric categories at The Ivor Novello Awards. It was also voted 1979's "Single of the Year" in the British Pop and Rock awards.
Tori Amos covered this on her album Strange Little Girls. Every song on the album is a different take on a song written by a man.
Bob Geldof sang this at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park, London, on July 2, 2005. Live 8 was a series of concerts that in the G8 nations and South Africa that Geldof helped organize in an effort to pressure world leaders to get rid of the debt of African nations. "I Don't Like Mondays" was Geldof's only performance at the event; he was backed by the band Travis after they played their set.
Emily - Ottawa, Canada
Geldof originally intended this to be a B-side and when Ensign put this out as a single, he protested, "You're mad, that's not a hit." However his record label people knew better.
This spent four weeks at #1 in the UK. The second week (August 4, 1978), the #2 song was "Can't Stand Losing You
" by The Police, another morbid (although fictional) song, about a kid who kills himself in despair.