He suddenly found himself an unlikely celebrity.
“It wasn’t because of my superior musical excellence, like Elvis or the Beatles,” Geldof said. “Billions of people made me the man of the hour.”
The Live Aid concerts held in London and Philadelphia raised over $100 million. Those shows included performances by Queen, U2, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, and dozens of others. Twenty years later, he hosted the Live 8 concerts and got the industrialized nations to pledge an increase in aid to Africa by $25 billion.
While Geldof’s altruism helped make the world a little better, he said he was no longer able to do what he loved: play music.
“I wasn’t allowed go back to my job. I’m a pop singer. That’s literally how I make my money. That’s my job. I get up in the morning, if I’m in the mood. I’ll try and write tunes. I’ll go and try and rehearse,” he said. “And I couldn’t. And no one was interested. Saint Bob, which I was called, wasn’t allowed to do this anymore because it’s so petty and so meaningless. So, I was lost.”
Geldof is glad he and his fellow musicians pulled off their activist concerts because he doesn’t believe the world is the same today as it was during the time of Live Aid or even Live 8.
“It was the end of that political period of cooperation and consensus and compromise. Would that happen today? No. You just have to look at the clowns running the planet to understand that could never happen again,” Geldof said.