THE UNDERTONES formed in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1975 - five mates who played cover versions in youth clubs. The line up featured the O’Neill brothers – John and Damian on guitars, Michael Bradley on bass, Billy Doherty on drums and Feargal Sharkey on vocals.
Their classic debut single ‘Teenage Kicks’ was released in 1978 on the Good Vibrations label. Radio One DJ John Peel announced it to be his ‘favourite record of all time’ and played the single incessantly. ‘Teenage Kicks’ has subsequently come to be considered one of the best rock songs of all time.
Signing to The Ramones' label Sire, the bands eponymous debut album and its follow-up ‘Hypnotised’ showed that ‘Teenage Kicks’ was no mere fluke. The band earned a reputation as a ‘singles’ act par excellence, with cracking 45's such as ‘Here Comes the Summer’, ‘You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)’, and ‘My Perfect Cousin’.
Subsequent albums such as ‘Positive Touch’ and ‘The Sin of Pride’ showed a band with an increasing mastery of studio technique and a greater feel for song arrangement and structure. Sadly, internal tensions within the band reached breaking point, and in 1983 the band split up to pursue other projects.
However, in 1999 The Undertones reconvened without Feargal Sharkey to play some shows in Derry, with Sharkey’s role being taken by Paul McLoone – and they were rapturously received. As well as performing live The Undertones have released a ‘Best of’ album.
Most recently, several Undertones tracks formed part of the soundtrack to film ‘Good Vibrations’ which tells the story of the legendary record shop and label that signed them. 'Here Comes The Summer' was used by Kodak for their UK TV campaign, as well as for a Europe-wide VW Golf TV campaign and 'Teenage Kicks' was part of a Three Mobile campaign in the UK.