‘Nobody wanted me as a musician, they wanted me to be Saint Bob, and I couldn’t stand it’: How a new Geldof emerged when the hits dried up

A new book by journalist Nick Duerden offers a fascinating account of what happens to pop stars once their moment in the sun passes. In this extract, Bob Geldof tells him about wrestling for an identity after the music faded

Bob Geldof: 'I’d just had my first baby, I was 30 years old, and I thought: That’s it? What a brutal business pop music is.’ Picture: Getty

Bob Geldof had a cunning plan, the last-gasp attempt of a desperate man who didn’t know when to quit. The ‘v’ between his unplucked eyebrows was becoming a permanent tattoo, his mood increasingly irascible. His back hurt. He’d always known, and had accepted, that pop was a lethal game – “when you’re dead, you’re dead” – but when he found his own band suddenly on their uppers when, just yesterday, they’d been superstar-bound, he thought ...