The Undertones – Teenage Kicks ….Powerpop Friday

The Undertones were a Northern Irish punk band led by Feargal Sharkey. This song got them a record deal when British DJ John Peel played it on his show. Peel was a very influential and well-respected DJ, and he raved about this, even playing the song twice in a row, something he never did before. With Peel’s endorsement, it became a punk anthem and got the group signed to Sire Records.

The song peaked at #31 in the UK in 1978. The Undertones had 7 Top 49 UK hits.

 

From Songfacts

Sharkey: “Our only hope was John Peel, and we sent him a copy – that was the only copy we sent anyone”

Peel died October 25, 2004. This was played at his funeral. 

Guitarist John O’Neill (from Q Magazine): “In 1978 we didn’t think ‘Teenage Kicks’ was the best song. True Confessions was the one we thought people would go for and we only named the EP after it because we were teenagers and it seemed appropriate. When John Peel played it twice on his show we were in shock. I came-up with the title. I was an MC5 fan and they had a song called Teenage Lust and we used to cover Route 66, so with the licks in the chorus I just made the connection. I was actually shocked that there wasn’t already a song called Teenage Kicks because it’s an obvious cliché. To be honest, I still don’t think the song;s that good – it’s the band’s performance on record that gives it the special quality. We were just the right age at the right time. It’s the strength of the voice, and the urgency of the drums and guitars, it seemed to capture the moment.”

A boy band called Busted performed this at the Brit Awards in 2003.

The Undertones went on to have several UK hits, including “My Perfect Cousin.” They split in 1983, but reformed in 1999 with Sharkey replaced by former Carralines singer Paul McLoone when Sharkey refused to participate. Sharkey had a solo hit with his cover of the Maria McKee song “A Good Heart,” which went to #1 in the UK in 1985. In the ’90s, Sharkey worked in the business end of the music industry as A&R manager for Polydor Records.

The line, “teenage dreams so hard to beat” from this song was carved on John Peel’s gravestone. His widow, Sheila Ravenscroft said: “We have put the words on the stone that he would have wanted. I wouldn’t dare do anything else.”

Bass player Mickey Bradley never rated the song. He told Mojo magazine April 2013: “We didn’t mind it being released, but we didn’t think it was special on its own. I remember someone at the Casbah saying, ‘Teenage Kicks’ – that’s your big song isn’t it?’ So we recorded some newer songs, which we thought were as good. But they weren’t.”

 

Teenage Kicks

Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Everytime she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night

I’m gonna call her on the telephone
Have her over ’cause I’m all alone
I need excitement, oh, I need it bad
And it’s the best I’ve ever had

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Everytime she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

I’m gonna call her on the telephone
Have her over ’cause I’m all alone
I need excitement, oh, I need it bad
And it’s the best I’ve ever had

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

13 thoughts on “The Undertones – Teenage Kicks ….Powerpop Friday”

      1. Yes it is… Oh…I’m a dad so I have to say it…its my excuse…he made the deans list…straight A’s….we will see what the next semester holds.

        Liked by 1 person

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