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The Fine Art of Surfacing was The Boomtown Rats' third album and contained the hit-single releases, "I Don't Like Mondays", "Diamond Smiles" and "Someone's Looking at You".[1] The album peaked at No. 7 in the UK Albums Chart in 1979.[6]

The Fine Art of Surfacing
Boomtown Rats - The Fine Art Of Surfacing album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released2 June 1979[1]
RecordedAugust 1978- January 1979
GenreNew wave, post-punk
LabelMulligan Records (Ireland)
Ensign Records (UK)
Columbia Records (USA)
ProducerRobert John "Mutt" Lange, Phil Wainman[2]
The Boomtown Rats chronology
A Tonic for the Troops
The Fine Art of Surfacing
Mondo Bongo
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[3]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[4]
Smash Hits3/10[5]

"I Don't Like Mondays" b/w "It's All the Rage" was released in July 1979[7] and reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in late July in the UK in the same year.[6] The song refers to Brenda Ann Spencer's killing spree on Monday, 29 January 1979 in San Diego, California.

Bob Geldof also went around America leading up to The Fine Art of Surfacing, drumming up publicity for the band in the United States. During this time the Rats learned much about both American life and breaking into the American music market. This is a recurring theme on the album, sometimes taking a serious approach in looking at American society, in songs like "I Don't Like Mondays" and "Diamond Smiles," while other times looking at it in a downright silly and mocking manner in songs like "Nothing Happened Today" and "Having My Picture Taken," the album takes aim at 1979 life in classic punk style.[citation needed]

In 2005, this album was re-released (it had previously been released but fell out of print quickly), digitally remastered by Bob Geldof and Pete Briquette with bonus tracks, mostly B-sides from various eras, that delve more deeply into the Rats' musical influences.


Track listingEdit

All songs written by Bob Geldof unless otherwise indicated.

1979 Vinyl ReleaseEdit

Side A

  1. "Someone's Looking at You" – 4:22
  2. "Diamond Smiles" – 3:49
  3. "Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)" – 4:35
  4. "Having My Picture Taken" (Geldof, Pete Briquette) – 3:18
  5. "Sleep (Fingers' Lullaby)" (Johnnie Fingers) – 5:30

* A hidden track (with lyrics including "that's not funny, I'm not laughing"), on the original LP playing through to the run-out groove.

Side B

  1. "I Don't Like Mondays" (Geldof, Johnnie Fingers)– 4:16
  2. "Nothing Happened Today" – 3:18
  3. "Keep It Up" (Geldof, Gerry Cott) – 3:39
  4. "Nice N Neat" – 2:50
  5. "When the Night Comes" – 5:00

* A hidden track of a warped voice saying "That concludes episode 3. We will return..."

2005 re-release bonus tracksEdit

  1. "Episode 3" (a combination of both hidden tracks on the vinyl release) –1:10 [1]
  2. "Real Different" (b-side of "Elephant's Graveyard") – 2:39
  3. "How Do You Do?" (b-side of "Like Clockwork") – 2:39
  4. "Late Last Night" (b-side of "Diamond Smiles") – 2:43
  5. "Nothing Happened Today" (Live in Cardiff) – 3:44




Year Chart Position
1979 UK Albums Chart[6] 7
1980 US Billboard 200[8] 103


Year Single Chart Position
1979 "I Don't Like Mondays" Billboard Hot 100[9] 73


Organization Gold Certification Platinum Certification
CRIA – Canada November 1, 1979 February 1, 1980
BPI – UK February 13, 1980 March 3, 1980


  1. ^ a b c d e Mike DeGagne. "The Fine Art of Surfacing - The Boomtown Rats | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  2. ^ a b "The Fine Art of Surfacing - The Boomtown Rats | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  4. ^ [1] Archived March 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (November 1–14, 1979): 29.
  6. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 71. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  7. ^ "The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays". Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ "The Fine Art of Surfacing - The Boomtown Rats | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  9. ^ "The Boomtown Rats | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.