The Undertones are an Irish punk band formed in Derry, Ireland in 1975. The original band consisted of:
* Feargal Sharkey (lead vocals),
* John O'Neill (guitar),
* Damian O'Neill (guitar, keyboards and vocals),
* Michael Bradley (bass and vocals), and
* Billy Doherty (drums).
John O'Neill was the original main song writer, with his brother Damian and Mickey Bradley writing in various solo & combined variations for most of the remainder.
Sharkey's power pop tenor was distinctive, and the band regarded a tight ensemble. By 1977 they were performing their own three-chord pop punk material influenced by Nuggets-type material and Ramones, and in 1978 released their debut four-song EP Teenage Kicks on Good Vibrations. It became a hit with support from DJ John Peel, who considered that EP's title song (Teenage Kicks) his all-time favourite. The song has been covered by many including boyband Busted (at the 2003 Brit Awards), American group The Raconteurs, Swedish band Sahara Hotnights and French band Nouvelle Vague.
The original band released four studio albums:
* The Undertones (1979)
* Hypnotised (1980)
* Positive Touch (1981)
* The Sin Of Pride (1983).
Falling sales linked to their changing musical direction and tensions within the band, leading to their split in 1983. A compilation album titled All Wrapped Up featured a woman dressed in lunch meats wrapped in clear plastic on the (non band approved) cover. Several other compilations including the superb BBC sessions CD Listening In (named after a song on their first album) (2004) exist.
The O'Neill brothers went on to form That Petrol Emotion. The Undertones reconvened in 1999, initially to play a few shows in their hometown of Londonderry, replacing singer Feargal Sharkey with a similarly warbling new recruit, Paul McLoone. Since this time, the band has continued to play a small number of gigs each year in various places around the world.
The band have also released two further studio albums:
* Get What You Need (2003)
* Dig Yourself Deep (2007)
NOTE: There is another band with this name - The Undertones, a subset of the University of Notre Dame Glee Club who sing a capella arrangements of popular songs. For more information on these guys, check out www.nd.edu/~utones.
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