Big Fan: The Undertones
The Undertones grew up in, arguably, one of the most dangerous places in Britain at the time – Derry, Northern Ireland. Starting their career in 1975 as a cover band they were miles away from what was going on in London at the time – as seen by their keen fashion sense. When the Sex Pistols hit big in 1976 not even Northern Ireland was exempt from Punk. The boys quickly changed their name from The Hot Rods to The Undertones and set their course. Unable to get a contract, they sent their tape to England’s most influential DJ – John Peel, who financed their first recording, a 4-song EP call “Teenage Kicks”. The title song would become John Peel’s “all-time favorite song” – an opinion he held to his death in 2004. High praise indeed. All 3-chord power pop, The Undertones didn’t sing about the troubles of Northern Ireland, they sang about teenage angst, girls, cars and candy bars. They would stay together until 1983, when lead singer Feargal Sharkey went solo, citing musical differences. They have reformed, without Feargal, he becoming CEO of a British pressure group involved with rights for musicans. The others would briefly form a band called “That Petrol Emotion” with US singer Steve Mack. Where to start with The Undertones? The first LP is their absolute best – their 2nd and 3rd are pretty great too. There are about 5 greatest hits LPs out there, for some reason, though “Anthology” is the best.