Bob Geldof “I Don’t Like Mondays” after reading a telex report about a shooting incident at an elementary school in California, while at Georgia State University’s campus radio station, WRAS, on January 29, 1979. The shooter was 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer.
Speaking with a San Diego Evening Tribune reporter, she stated her reason for shooting elementary school students was simply: “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” She told police negotiators: “It was a lot of fun seeing children shot.”
In all, she injured eight students and one police officer, and killed the school principal as well as the school custodian both of whom had rushed out to protect the students as Spencer fired off rounds.
Six months later, “I Don’t Like Mondays” was released and it became a Number One hit single in the UK for Irish band “The Boomtown Rats” for four weeks in the summer of ’79. The song also did well on the music charts in other countries.
Brenda Ann Spencer’s family launched a lawsuit to prevent the song from being released in the U.S. They were unsuccessful in blocking its release. That being said, the single only reached #73 on the US Billboard Hot 100 before falling off the charts. But whether it was on the charts didn’t stop it from being recognized the world over for decades afterwards.
Spencer pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. She has been up for parole four times (1993, 1998, 2001, and 2005 although she withdrew her request for appeal filed in 1998) and can apply for parole again in 2019.
Art — whether it’s literature or music or any other discipline — records moments in time for posterity. Sometimes what it records is beautiful. Sometimes it’s horrific. But let it never be said that what’s recorded lacks pieces of facts and grains of truth.