Music

The Undertones

Formed 1975.

northern irish punk rock band

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Damian O'Neill of The Undertones: My 70s

Damian O'Neill from The Undertones speaks to Johnnie about his memories from the 1970s.

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Biography

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 AllMusic 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."

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Teenage Kicks: The Very Best of The Undertones

    Teenage Kicks: The Very Best of The Undertones 2010

    Reviewed by Sean Egan
    Always likeable and rarely boring, the Derry pop-punks are neatly summarised on this set.
  2. Review of Dig Yourself Deep

    Dig Yourself Deep 2007

    Reviewed by Daryl Easlea
    ...'like the Beatles, only with bad complexions and no girlfriends'.
  3. Review of The Undertones

    The Undertones 1979

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    In the summer of 1979 five lads from Derry were the best geeks on the block.
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