The Undertones are a Northern Irish punk rock/power pop band formed in Derry in 1975.
The original line-up released four studio albums — The Undertones (1979), Hypnotised (1980), Positive Touch (1981) and The Sin of Pride (1983) — before disbanding in 1983. Allmusic stated that guitarists John and Damian O'Neill "mated infectious guitar hooks to '60s garage, '70s glam rock, and Feargal Sharkey's signature vocal quaver."
Sharkey pursued a solo career that achieved commercial success in the mid to late 1980s, and two of the other band members (John and Damian O'Neill) formed That Petrol Emotion. The Undertones reformed in 2003 with Paul McLoone taking over for Sharkey and released the critically acclaimed album Get What You Need.
The Undertones drew inspiration from Buzzcocks
, Sex Pistols
, and the Ramones
. They began practising and playing cover versions of punk rock songs at schools and scout huts under the name "The Hot Rods". Some of the band members were unhappy with the name because there was already another music act with that name. The name The Undertones was chosen by one of the band members who discovered the word in a history book. By 1977 the band were performing their own three-chord pop punk
material, and in 1978 they released their debut four-song EP
" on Belfast
's Good Vibrations record label
. The EP became a hit with support from BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel
, who considered the title song his all-time favourite. The song "Teenage Kicks" has been covered
by many acts.
Later in their career The Undertones began to change musical direction, with their later songs being of the power pop genre, which was very different from their earlier punk rock offerings. Falling sales and tensions within the band led to their split in 1983. In 1985 brothers John O'Neill and Damian O'Neill formed That Petrol Emotion with Raymond Gorman.
The Undertones reformed in 1999 to play concerts in Derry, replacing singer Feargal Sharkey with Paul McLoone
. The band released an album of original material with McLoone in 2003 titled Get What You Need
. The band were the subject of a 2004 documentary, The Undertones: Teenage Kicks
, which features the band wandering their old haunts with John Peel
and charting their history. The band toured North America
and also performed at the Glastonbury Festival
in 2005. On 15 October 2007, they released a studio album, Dig Yourself Deep
, which failed to chart.
- "Teenage Kicks" (1978) UK #31
- "Get Over You" (1979) UK #57
- "Jimmy Jimmy" UK #16
- "Here Comes The Summer" b/w "One Way Love" and "Top Twenty" (1979) UK #34
- "You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?)" (1979) UK #32
- "My Perfect Cousin" (1980) UK #9
- "Wednesday Week" (1980) UK #11
- "It's Going To Happen!" (1981) UK #18
- "Julie Ocean" (1981) UK #41
- "Beautiful Friend" (1982)
- "The Love Parade" (1982) UK #97
- "Got To Have You Back" (1983) UK #82
- "Chain Of Love" (1983)
- "Teenage Kicks" (1983) - re-issue UK #60
- "My Perfect Cousin" - re-issue (1983) UK #88
- "Save Me" (1986)
- "Thrill Me" (2003)
- All Wrapped Up (1985)
- Cher O'Bowlies - The Pick of the Undertones (1988)
- The Very Best of The Undertones (1994)
- True Confessions (Singles = A's & B's) (2000)
- The Best of The Undertones (Teenage Kicks) (1993)
- An Anthology (2008)