Brenda Spencer was the first disturbed teen in modern history to snap and shoot up a school. Last Tuesday she was denied parole again. It was the third time she had been denied parole since being sentenced to 25 years to life in 1980. Her next possible parole hearing will be in 2009.
On the morning of January 29, 1979, Spencer, 16, opened fire from inside her San Carlos home, shooting children on Cleveland Elementary's playground. With a .22 semiautomatic rifle, Spencer killed the principal and a custodian who had come to his aid. She also wounded eight schoolchildren and a police officer.
After a reporter from the San Diego Evening Tribune was able to get her on the phone during the six-hour standoff, she explained, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."
Those words became the inspiration for the Boomtown Rats' 1979 single, "I Don't Like Mondays." The song became a number-one hit in the U.K. and created a controversy in San Diego about the same time.
Rumors persist about what happened to the band when they returned to San Diego on their 1980 world tour in support of The Fine Art of Surfacing (which included "I Don't Like Mondays"). They range from the song being unofficially banned by U.S. radio stations, to the band being banned from playing in San Diego. (The Boomtown Rats did play San Diego's Fox Theater in April 1980.)
FM 103.7 DJ Jim McInnes says there was no organized movement to keep the song off the air.
"A lot of the rock stations did not play that song for two reasons: number one, it brought up an unpleasant local event...and number two, when the Rats played for a radio programming convention at the old Roxy Theatre in PB, Bob Geldof ranted about how radio was in the hands of fools! He basically killed his band's career by offending the very people who could have helped make them popular in the States."