Inspiration for the Boomtown Rats second number 1 single “I Don’t Like Mondays” struck when the band were touring in the US at the beginning of 1979 and they heard the first reports of a school shooting in San Diego, California.
The line itself was a quote from the 16-year-old shooter Brenda Ann Spencer. A post shoot-out Brenda had barricaded herself in her house while negotiating with police. When asked why she had just unloaded her semi automatic rifle, a Christmas gift from her father, into a crowd of Elementary School children and staff, she explained her actions by saying,
“I don’t like Mondays, this livens up the day”.
It’s worth noting that Brenda, albeit via the Boomtown Rats, may have achieved a certain notoriety through her words, the song itself is still a staunch reminder of the terrible harm that gun violence can cause. She was sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment. A year after the shooting, Brenda’s father got married to her 17-year-old former cell mate.
Her family tried unsuccessfully to prevent the Boomtown Rats single from being released in the United States. In 2001 the song was covered by Tori Amos on her album “Strange Little Girls”.
As of 2018, Brenda is still in jail.