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The Undertones

The Undertones

Legends of the Northern Ireland punk scene and composers/ performers of DJ John Peel’s favourite song ‘Teenage Kicks’, check out The Undertones history:

  • The Undertones were formed in Derry in 1975, and were the most successful band from Northern Ireland during the 1970s and 80s.
  • Their signature song ‘Teenage Kicks’ was written in 1977 by guitarist John O’Neill, and recorded on their first demo tape in March 1978.
  • On a budget of just £200, the track was recorded in Belfast’s Wizard Studios, and released on Terri Hooley’s label Good Vibrations.
  • John Peel played it twice on his radio show the night he received his copy, saying “it doesn’t get any better than this”. Throughout his life, he declared it his favourite song, and the lyrics “teenage dreams so hard to beat” are inscribed on his gravestone.
  • The president of Sire Records heard Peel play ‘Teenage Kicks’ and signed the band to the label in September 1978.
  • Their most successful single was ‘My Perfect Cousin’, which reached number 9 in the UK charts in April 1980. The band released 4 albums before disbanding in 1983.
  • Singer Feargal Sharkey went on to have a successful solo career in the mid-late 80s which included the number 1 hit ‘A Good Heart’.
  • In the mid-90s he began to work for record companies, and has since become one of the most important figures in the British music industry. He currently heads the organisation UK Music.
  • After The Undertones disbanded, brothers John and Damian O’Neill formed That Petrol Emotion, a band which enjoyed indie success in the late 80s and early 90s.
  • In 1998, the original members of The Undertones, minus Feargal Sharkey, reformed with new vocalist Paul McLoone. The band have continued to tour, and played Glastonbury festival in 2005.

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