The Undertones

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File:Undertones -You've Got My Number single picture cover.jpg
The picture cover of the Undertones' 1979 You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It!) single

The Undertones are a rock band formed in Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1975. The original band consisted of:

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 the 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 his all-time favourite. The song has been covered by many including boyband Busted (at the 2003 Brit Awards) and French band Nouvelle Vague.

They have released five studio albums: The Undertones (1979), Hypnotised (1980), Positive Touch (1981) The Sin Of Pride (1983) and Get What You Need (2003). A new album is expected in 2005. Falling sales linked to their changing musical direction and tensions within the band, leading to their temporary 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.

In 1999, the band re-formed with Feargal Sharkey replaced by former Carralines singer Paul McLoone when Sharkey refused to participate. After touring, the band released a new album, Get What You Need, in 2003.


  • Teenage Kicks (1978)
  • Get Over You (1979
  • Jimmy Jimmy (1979)
  • Here Comes The Summer (1979)
  • You've Got My Number (Why Don't You Use It?) (1979)
  • My Perfect Cousin (1980)
  • Wednesday Week (1980)
  • It's Going To Happen! (1981)
  • Julie Ocean (1981)
  • Teenage Kicks (1983) - re-issue


  • The Undertones (1979)
  • Hypnotised (1980)
  • Positive Touch (1981)
  • The Sin Of Pride (1983)
  • The Peel Sessions Album (1989)
  • Get What You Need (2003)


  • Scarcely a harsh word was ever written about the Undertones. Their genuine inability to pose or pontificate disarmed the most hardened critics. No-one could ever quite come to grips with their apparent innocence and naivity. They weren't at all naïve, of course, they just came across that way, and, to some extent, it prevented their later work from being taken as seriously as it deserved. Regarded as perpetual teenagers. No-one, it seemed, wanted them to grow up. — Mick Houghton, in liner notes to All Wrapped Up
  • I can't listen to it now without getting all dewy-eyed. And if I play it on the radio, I have to segue it into the front of another record because I can't speak after I've heard it. — John Peel on "Teenage Kicks"

External links

de:The Undertones