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I Don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats - meaning behind the lyrics


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The Boomtown Rats are most widely known for their hit I Don't Like Mondays. It may surprise many people to discover that the song was inspired by an event in early 1979. Some people initially thought the song may have been about a time in the future where an android goes berzerk or where people have chip implants that go wrong. The opening line is 'The silicon chip inside her head gets switched to overload.' While this may reflect the paranoia about technology at the time, it is nothing more than simple imagery that conveys madness.

The real inspiration for the song comes from an event in California on January 27, 1979. Brenda Spencer had taken her father's gun and opened fire on her school. Eight people were hurt, two were killed. And yes, it took part on a Monday.

There were several parts of the interview with Brenda that allows you to see where the song gets its chorus and memorable lines. In answer to why she was shooting people, she answered, 'I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day'. And 'There was no reason for it, and it was just a lot of fun'. She was also 16 at the time, giving rise to the line 'Sweet 16 ain't so peachy keen'.

With the story in mind, the following lyrics take on a darker meaning. Here are some extracts:

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload.
And nobody's gonna go to school today,
She's going to make them stay at home.
And daddy doesn't understand it,
He always said she was as good as gold.
And he can see no reason
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?

Tell me why?
I don't like Mondays.
I want to shoot
The whole day down.

*To get technical, I Don't Like Mondays was a UK number 1 in July 1979. However we consider many aspects of 1979 to belong to the 80s, hence its inclusion here. Other '80s' songs that were hits in 1979 include Pop Muzik, My Sharona and Rock Lobster.

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