The Boomtown Rats

A Tonic for the Troops

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Bob Geldof had revealed a taste for the seamy side of things in his lyrics for The Boomtown Rats' first album. On their second record, he fantasized about being Hitler in the person of the Leader of the Pack ("I Never Loved Eva Braun"), romanticized tropical suicide ("Living In An Island"), and identified with a certain wealthy recluse ("Me And Howard Hughes"). The band retained a punk energy on the album's UK hit singles, "Like Clockwork," "She's So Modern," and "Rat Trap" (the last another of Bob Geldof's Springsteen homages), but musical identity was still a song-by-song affair. (Ensign Records released A Tonic For The Troops in the UK in June 1978. In the U.S., Columbia Records took over The Boomtown Rats from Mercury, replaced "Can't Stop" and "[Watch Out For] The Normal People" with "Mary Of The 4th Form" and "Joey's On The Street Again" from the first album, resequenced the tracks, and delayed the American release until February 1979.)

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