The ultimate John Peel band. The Undertones' 'Teenage Kicks' of 1978 was named as the great man's favourite ever track. However, the Derry quintet who formed in 1976 - based around the voice of Feargal Sharkey, the song writing of John and Damian O'Neill and Michael Bradley, along with Billy Doherty - almost packed it in until Terry Hooley - a Belfast record shop owner - financed the 'Teenage Kicks EP'. Immediately championed by Peel (he once said, 'I still play Teenage Kicks to remind myself how a great record should sound') the band bagged a deal with Sire, who issued the equally essential adolescent odes, 'My Perfect Cousin' and 'Jimmy Jimmy'. The first album, 'The Undertones' and it's follow up 'Hypnotised' had immediate success whilst subsequent, more mature-sounding albums, 'Positive Touch' and 'The Sin Of Pride' didn't do as well and The Undertones split in 1983. Feargal Sharkey embarked on a brief solo career, before becoming an A&R man, whilst John O'Neill and Raymond Gorman formed That Petrol Emotion, with Damian O'Neill joining later. Since 1999, The Undertones have been back playing live shows: with Paul McLoone as the new lead singer, their first album for twenty years, 'Get What You Need', was released in 2003.
"We were a bunch of late teenagers having a good time. By January 1979 we were over supporting the Rezillos so we could do a session at Maida Vale. But the biggest thing that struck me at the time was that John Peel had paid for us to do that first tape the previous autumn out of his own pocket. I don't know of any other DJ that I've met who would care to that extent, show that much drive and commitment to the music."
- Feargal Sharkey (In Session Tonight by Ken Garner)