SXSW Music 2011 is pleased to announce Bob Geldof will be Keynote Speaker and Showcase Performer. At the end of last year, Bob Geldof was described as “one of Ireland’s greatest lyricists ever.” In a lifetime spent using rock music to change things, Geldof now comes to SXSW with his band to play music from his new album “How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell” and from his long, multi-award winning musical life. He will also be the keynote speaker on this SXSW 25th Anniversary which perfectly falls for this Irish legend – the man Bono calls “my big brother” – on March 17, St. Patricks Day.
Geldof began his life in music writing for Canada’s premier underground newspaper “The Georgia Straight” and the British “New Musical Express” and “Melody Maker.” Tiring of what music had become he began his own band the legendary Boomtown Rats, whose first record appeared alongside other classics on their first outing including The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, The Damned etc.
With their contemporaries the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Elvis Costello, etc, The Rats set about re-defining what pop music was and scored the first New Wave and Irish rock number one in the UK charts and subsequently around the world through such timeless classics as “I Don’t Like Mondays”.
Geldof always used music as he says “to talk about things. To articulate change and its desirability.”
In the 80’s sickened by the sights of the great African famine of 1984-6, he gathered the greatest artists of the rock era on two record shattering singles “Do They Know its Christmas” which he co-wrote with Midge Ure of Ultravox and which today remains one of the biggest selling records of all time and was the driving inspiration behind USA For Africa’s “We Are the World.” He joined all these together 6 months later in the greatest global concert ever seen in Live Aid – as era defining and iconic in the rock cannon as Woodstock was for its time.
For the next 20 years moving from what he called “charity to justice” he lobbied world leaders on behalf of the poor and persuaded Bono, his younger pal from Dublin, to eventually join him when they co-founded the ONE campaign.
Geldof successfully lobbied the world leaders at the British G8 of 2005 through Live8 which resulted in the cancellation of third world debt and an increase in aid for the poorest countries. He remains, as he always has, politically as well as musically active, having released five solo albums including his last, the multi-award winning, searing and brutally raw “Sex, Age and Death.” He comes to Austin with his latest album released in March the ironically entitled “How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell.”
He has been showered with national plaudits for not just his music, his lyrics or his achievements, but also for his public speaking.
“Listening to him is like listening to a bizarre mix of James Joyce meets Jesus Christ” as India’s leading daily put it.
What better way to celebrate SXSW’s 25th birthday than having the one of rocks great voices both musical and oratorical come to Austin to sing, play and speak to us. A birthday to remember!
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