“Teenage Kicks” is the debut . Written in the summer of 1977 by the band’s principal songwriter, John O’Neill, the song was recorded on 16 June 1978 and initially released that September upon independent Belfast record label Good Vibrations, before the band—at the time unobligated to any record label—signed to Sire Records on 2 October 1978. Sire Records subsequently obtained all copyrights to the material released upon the Teenage Kicks EP and the song was re-released as a standard vinyl single upon Sire’s own label on 14 October that year, reaching number 31 in the UK Singles Chart.
The single was not included upon the original May 1979 release of the band’s debut album The Undertones; however, the October 1979 re-release of this debut album included both “Teenage Kicks” and the Undertones’ second single, “Get Over You”.
Influential BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel is known to have opined “Teenage Kicks” to be his all-time favourite song from 1978 until his death in 2004.
THE UNDERTONES HISTORY
The Undertones are a punk rock/new wave band formed in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1975. From 1975 to 1983, the Undertones consisted of Feargal Sharkey (vocals), John O’Neill (rhythm guitar, vocals), Damian O’Neill (lead guitar, vocals), Michael Bradley (bass, vocals) and Billy Doherty (drums). Although much of the earlier Undertones material drew influence from punk rock and new wave, the Undertones also incorporated elements of rock, glam rock and post-punk into material released after 1979, before citing soul and Motown as the influence for the material released upon their final album. The Undertones released thirteen singles and four studio albums between 1978 and 1983 before Sharkey announced his intention to leave the band in May 1983, citing musical differences as the reason for the break up.
Despite the political climate in which the band had lived, the vast majority (though not all) of the material the band released focused not upon The Troubles, but upon issues such as adolescence, teenage angst and heartbreak. The merging of instruments has led All Music to state that guitarists John and Damian O’Neill “mated infectious guitar hooks to 1960s garage, 1970s glam rock, and Feargal Sharkey’s signature vocal quaver.”
In 1999, the Undertones reformed, replacing lead singer Feargal Sharkey with Paul McLoone.
The Undertones remain the most successful band to have emerged from Derry.
The Undertones reformed in November 1999, initially to play concerts in Derry. For their reformation, the Undertones replaced Sharkey (who declined to rejoin the Undertones) with singer Paul McLoone. Since 1999, the Undertones have performed several tours across the UK, Ireland, Continental Europe, Japan, Turkey and North America and continue to perform live.
Since their reformation, the Undertones have released two albums of original material with Paul McLoone providing vocals: “Get What You Need” on 30 September 2003 and “Dig Yourself Deep” on 15 October 2007.
In April 2013, the Undertones released their first new material for over five years with the “Double A-side” single “Much Too Late / Another Girl.” This single limited to 1,000 numbered copies was released as part of the Record Store Day promotion in the UK and was recorded at Toe Rag Studios in London.