In the late 70s and early 80s, the BBC had a series of programmes called ‘Sight and Sound In Concert’. These specially filmed gigs were simultaneously broadcast on BBC TV and radio. A few are available commercially – as is the case with the excellent Thin Lizzy performance from the Hitchin Regal in 1983 – but sadly, many are not. Thankfully, due to repeat showings, many fans have pristine off-airs of shows by Camel, Gentle Giant, Renaissance and others.
Despite having numerous hits, including two UK number one singles, The Boomtown Rats have never seemed to get the due they so honestly deserve. Ask anyone born after 1985 about the band and they’ll mention Bob Geldof and/or ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, if you’re lucky. Yet there are other bands from the punk and new wave era that have firmly crossed generations: Ramones t-shirts are plentiful (even worn by those who’ve never heard a note), Sex Pistols are well-documented and The Clash are revered. The Boomtown Rats are a fantastic bunch of musicians whom, as far as most are concerned, are part of an all-too-quickly forgotten musical past. ‘Diamond Smiles’ and ‘Banana Republic’ were huge hits in 1979/80, but when was the last time you heard them on the radio or played anywhere in public? For most people born after 1985, Bob Geldof is just the scruffy man who does tireless work for charity – he’s hardly ever given proper credit for being one of the best songwriters of the era.
Tying in with their current tour, The Boomtown Rats’ first six studio albums are released at the end of October as a mid-priced box set.
Each of the six discs are housed in card sleeves depicting full album artwork, while each one also features bonus tracks as presented on the previous issues*.