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Post Info TOPIC: Did Mondo Bongo cause the Rats to lose popularity?


Someone's Looking At You

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Did Mondo Bongo cause the Rats to lose popularity?
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Hi,

 

I'm a big Rats fan. I wasn't around at the time so I've been very lucky to see them about 10 times since the reunion in 2013. I know 'Mondo Bongo' was their highest charting album at number 6 but it seems a much poorer effort that the first three records. 'Banana Republic' and 'Elephant's Graveyard' are great tracks. I also like 'Fall Down'. The rest of the album doesn't seem to make the same personal connection. Geldof is one of the most accomplished lyricists in rock and his characteristic flair is missing from this release. It's a very disappointing effort after the great work down earlier on. 

 

V Deep feels abit more cohesive than Mondo Bongo. In The Long Grass has highpoints like 'Drag Me Down', 'Dave' and 'A Hold On Me'. 

 

I wonder if the two year wait between the 3rd and 4th album coupled with it's much more under-whelming material really stuck a nail in The Boomtown Rats coffin. It did sell very well but perhaps that was an issue the material was weaker and people felt let down. Can one bad album really unravel a career? I'd be interested to know other people's thoughts who wre around at the time. They'd have much better insight than me.  



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Mondo Bongo

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I agree that the first three albums were so much better, and for me anything after that was a bit of a let down. I really wanted to like the music but somehow it never reached me in quite the same way. I did like Banana Republic, Elephant's Graveyard and Fall Down as well, but nothing else really stood out for me. I just lost interest a bit after that I suppose, really glad I have found them again, but it is always the early material that I am attached to. It just seemed so exciting and unique. Maybe they were just so brilliant that nothing could surpass their success?



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Back To Boomtown

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Somewhat. The album wasnt well received, but Banana Republic was a massive hit prior to its release.

However, it isnt quite that simple. A lot of the blame for the fall would be the Geldof/Yates relationship and the vitriol in the music press (and mainstream) about them.  The NME abortion article was the worst but there was plenty more of it.

Also many of the class of 1977 were in decline.  Some came back with a bit of a re-invention, most notably The Damned who went full goth, but many simply disappeared like Sex Pistols, Sham 69 and Buzz****s. The Rats almost came back with House on Fire being a minor hit, but following it with Charmed Lives was effectively the end.  Also music had changed a lot by 1981 and the Rats were not part of the new scene.

Band Aid gave them a late swan song with some big gigs like The Dominion in London.

Ultimately, the wane in popularity was down to not having any more hit songs after Banana Republic.  Had Mondo Bongo (UK) had Up All Night and House on Fire on it and they were follow up singles, then maybe Mondo wouldnt be seen as the beginning of the end.

 



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Back To Boomtown

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Go Man Go was a very good track as well. Should have been a single.

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Loudmouth

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ArrGee wrote:

Go Man Go was a very good track as well. Should have been a single.


 Took the words out of my mouth. Think it was released as a single in Ireland. As well as the tracks already mentioned, I quite like Hurt Hurts but Mood Mambo, Please Don't Go and Another Piece of Red were very weak. If Elephants Graveyard had gone top ten (and it was good enough to have done so but suffered through no TOTP exposure in its ascending weeks) and been followed up by Go Man Go, it would have been a slightly different story but lots of groups went into a post 81 decline like Blondie and those already mentioned, as tastes changed. The decline might have just been slower but it was not unnatural.

Drag me Down was the highlight of ITLG but the ship had sailed and 50 was respectable in the charts in the circumstances. 



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Dave

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I consider Mondo Bongo to be a very solid album with lots of good tracks. Straight  Up has a fantastic guitar riff. This Is My Room , Hurt Hurts, Elephants Graveyard, Mood Mambo, Fall Down and Please Don't Go, Go Man Go all hit the spot for me.

Only real weak tracks are the pointless instrumental Whitehall 1212 and perhaps Another  Piece  of Red.

In fact two of the album's b sides Should  have been on the album ie Real Different and Man at the Top ,whoever thought Whitehall  1212 was better than the two aforementioned  tracks needs his head examined. 

Not sure if they lost popularity  around this time as the were touring  extensively, even to Asia, India ,Thailand. Lots of reviewers on Amazon etc give the album good praise, but it's really a matter of deciding for onesself.

Being musically popular doesn't necessarily mean being any good. 

PS Geldof  has said that the Rats  were a singles band, meaning a lot of their success was down to having great singles. Many people  may have bought a single they liked, with no interest in further exploration via purchasing an l.p.



-- Edited by Noel on Thursday 30th of May 2019 05:37:34 PM

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V Deep

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I don't think it was the best album they've done but I enjoyed the bulk of it couple of poor tracks but still a fab album I've known bands who release a great single bu all th albums are dreadful so don't be too harsh on this lp (icncidentally I prefer the lp to the revamped cd but have both ) instil think go man go should have been a single but hey what do I know I'm just a rats fanatic who loves all their stuff

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Loudmouth

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Noel wrote:

I consider Mondo Bongo to be a very solid album with lots of good tracks. Straight  Up has a fantastic guitar riff. This Is My Room , Hurt Hurts, Elephants Graveyard, Mood Mambo, Fall Down and Please Don't Go, Go Man Go all hit the spot for me.

Only real weak tracks are the pointless instrumental Whitehall 1212 and perhaps Another  Piece  of Red.

In fact two of the album's b sides Should  have been on the album ie Real Different and Man at the Top ,whoever thought Whitehall  1212 was better than the two aforementioned  tracks needs his head examined. 

Not sure if they lost popularity  around this time as the were touring  extensively, even to Asia, India ,Thailand. Lots of reviewers on Amazon etc give the album good praise, but it's really a matter of deciding for onesself.

Being musically popular doesn't necessarily mean being any good. 

PS Geldof  has said that the Rats  were a singles band, meaning a lot of their success was down to having great singles. Many people  may have bought a single they liked, with no interest in further exploration via purchasing an l.p.



-- Edited by Noel on Thursday 30th of May 2019 05:37:34 PM


Real Different is brilliant, definitely could have been on the album in place of Red or Whitehall and released as a single in its own right. Quite why Mondo Bongo only provided 2 UK singles whilst ROI received 3 has often mystified me. A third single would have maintained some interest and bridged the gap between Graveyard and Million Years, possibly assisting the latter further up the charts than 62 for 2 weeks. 



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V Deep

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I prefer the single version of Banana Republic but the album version of Elephants Graveyard. Go Man Go should have been released as soon as EG went out of the top 40.
As for the album I never really got into MB or V Deep.

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Loudmouth

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Derek The Dane wrote:

I prefer the single version of Banana Republic but the album version of Elephants Graveyard. Go Man Go should have been released as soon as EG went out of the top 40.
As for the album I never really got into MB or V Deep.


 Graveyard did far better in Ireland, entering the charts at 8, dipping to 9 a week later and then peaking at 7 in week 3.

In the UK it went in at 40, shot up to 26 (highest climber that week) and then dipped to 27, 32, 42 and 46 before exiting the charts in March 1981.

A Spring release of Go Man Go would surely have done as well as, if not better than, Graveyard. 



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V Deep

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I could not wait for mondo to be released no was not disappointed when it was some tracks as I said earlier were poor but most were good I think they really changed their music style but were still popular upto mid 81 still luv it'll as an album again complete different style vdeep seemed quite electro orientated a lot of groups changed at this time I remember bob being interviewed on radio and was asked about the style of this album he said they were still a guitar based group and wouldn't go and buy 5synthesisers I wished they'd done a greatest hits in 83it might've helped when itlg came out in 84

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Loudmouth

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Mike menzies wrote:

I could not wait for mondo to be released no was not disappointed when it was some tracks as I said earlier were poor but most were good I think they really changed their music style but were still popular upto mid 81 still luv it'll as an album again complete different style vdeep seemed quite electro orientated a lot of groups changed at this time I remember bob being interviewed on radio and was asked about the style of this album he said they were still a guitar based group and wouldn't go and buy 5synthesisers I wished they'd done a greatest hits in 83it might've helped when itlg came out in 84


 Very good point, the absence of a greatest hits album to maintain interest and generate revenue in 83 or 84 was bewildering. 



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V Deep

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I must admit to keep my interest in 1983 I bought American import retrospective (6 tracks )kept me going till tonight came out


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Loudmouth

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Mike menzies wrote:

I must admit to keep my interest in 1983 I bought American import retrospective (6 tracks )kept me going till tonight came out


 Before I even knew about the existence of Ratrospective, in my head I had imagined this as a title for a Rats greatest hits (or In Ratrospect). The Jam and Blondie had as I recall brought theirs out and I found it odd the Rats weren't too bothered...

Nothing has changed? 

 



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V Deep

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I wished they'd released ratrospective in U.K. They should have also put hard times on it and released as single might've gained some interest and airplay and with the other tracks on there. Still it didn't hPpen I still live in hope of new album though

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House on Fire

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It may have hit number 6 but it plummeted from the charts soon after. I would guess it sold a small fraction of ITLG's figures.

My theory is that a certain type of fan only bought albums. The Banana Republic also spawned a number of new fans. All these people bought Bongo Crazy... sorry, I mean Mondo Bongo when it first came out, sending it up the charts for a short time. For the rest of the buying public, a new BTR album wasn't very appealing.

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V Deep

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I still think they should have put out a compilation just to keep interest as mark says maybe things would be different but it's happened. Let's move on and keep them this time and keep people's interest in them going I would certainly buy another compilation especially besides etc anything is better than some of the music out there (citizens is a fab lp ) I am more into the rats now than ever

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V Deep

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Roll on2021

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Loudmouth

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jamieuka wrote:

It may have hit number 6 but it plummeted from the charts soon after. I would guess it sold a small fraction of ITLG's figures.

My theory is that a certain type of fan only bought albums. The Banana Republic also spawned a number of new fans. All these people bought Bongo Crazy... sorry, I mean Mondo Bongo when it first came out, sending it up the charts for a short time. For the rest of the buying public, a new BTR album wasn't very appealing.


 That can't possibly be correct. You're right that Mondo Bongo was their highest charting album but it's shelf life was shorter than any of the other albums. Think it hung around for 6 or 7 weeks only.

However, In the Long Grass failed to chart at all. Given Mondo Bongo sold a few hundred thousand copies (forget the certification level, but may have been platinum, ie 300,000?), ITLG would have to have sold millions of copies for MB to be a 'small fraction' of ITLG's sales. 



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House on Fire

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Mark L wrote:
jamieuka wrote:

It may have hit number 6 but it plummeted from the charts soon after. I would guess it sold a small fraction of ITLG's figures.


 That can't possibly be correct. 


You are correct :)

I meant to say, it sold fewer than TFAOS. Doh!



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