Thursday, June 15, 1978

The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks” released

Teenage Kicks

The Undertones

Writer(s): John O'Neill (see lyrics here)

Released: June 15, 1978

First Charted: October 21, 1978

Peak: 9 CL, 2 CO, 31 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 14.9 video, 47.65 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Undertones were a punk rock band which formed in 1975. There wasn’t much of a music scene in their hometown of Derry, Northern Ireland, but they managed to produce a record, thanks to Terri Hooley, the owner of a Belfast record shop. He financed the recording of the Teenage Kicks EP and released it on his label, Good Vibrations.

The Undertones sent the song to BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. As lead singer Feargal Sharkey said, “Our only hope was John Peel, and we sent him a copy – that was the only copy we sent anyone.” SF Peel championed the song, even playing it twice (something he’d never done before) on his September 25 show. On a scale of five stars, he rated it 28. WK In October, the band were signed to Sire Records, who then re-released “Teenage Kicks” as a single.

Peel said it was his all-time favorite song and even said in a 2001 interview with The Guardian that he wanted the opening line of the song, “Teenage dreams so hard to beat” engraved on his tombstone. WK The song was played at his funeral in 2004. SF In February 2008, a headstone with the lyric was placed on his grave. WK

The song is “a short blast of punk-pop with no filler, no indulgence; Sharkey’s singalong vocals over a summer shot of simple and catchy chords, fizzing and popping through two-and-a-half minutes.” XFM Songwriter John O’Neill told Q magazine, “I still don’t think the song’s that good. We were just the right age at the right time.” XFM

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Undertones
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia
  • XFM Mike Walsh (editor) (2010). The XFM Top 1000 Songs of All Time. Elliott & Thompson Limited: London, England. Pages 442-3.

First posted 10/14/2021.

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