Top 10 Undertones Songs

The Undertones Songs

Photo: By Flickr user: ‘Alterna2’ (Flickr (free use authorised on Wiki. Here) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Undertones songs list looks at a band that has been vastly underrated in classic rock history. While they may have been celebrated on the eastern side of the Atlantic, in the United States, they were relatively unknown. The origins of The Undertones began as early as 1975 when the original band members were playing youth club gigs in Ireland. Like many young bands in the seventies on the Eastern Side of the Atlantic, The Undertones received their first break when John Peel became interested in the band. Over time, John Peel’s interest in the song “Teenage Kicks”  and the band’s continued club gigs brought record company interest. The band would release their first album entitled The Undertones in May of 1979 on the Ramones Sire label.  1979 was the peak year of the New Wave movement. A movement that saw the mixing of punk attitudes and feel with a pop sensibility that was driven by the popularity of bands like Blondie, The Slits, and The Knack.

Unlike many bands that came out of the New Wave era, releasing only one or two albums and then calling it quits, The Undertones released a large body of work based on six albums and nearly twenty singles. The Undertones original lineup consisted of Feargal Sharkey on lead vocals, Vincent O’Neill on lead guitar, John O’Neill on rhythm guitar, Michael Bradley on bass guitar, and Billy Doherty on drums. Damian O’Neill, who joined the band in 1976, continues to play lead guitar in the current band’s lineup. Paul McLoone replaced Feargal Sharkey on lead vocals when the band reformed in 1999.

Undertones songs seemed to be inspired by a mixture of all 1970s rock and roll genres. And that’s a good thing. There are many Undertones songs to pick from when presenting an essential list. So, if we missed your favorites, let us know. In the end, all we are trying to do is turn people on to some great music. The Undertones are often called a punk band, but that’s a mistake. The Undertones sounded closer to the Dave Clark Five than any of the punk bands that came out of the mid to late 1970s punk era. This was a great band

# 10 – Here Comes The Summer

Nothing is better than a great summer song, and this one is a knockout. There is something about Feargal Sharkey that is reminiscent of early 1970s teen idol Bobby Sherman but in a much darker, rocked-out, British style, easy come easy go, bitter-sweet way. Do you know what I mean? This fast, grooving song will get you moving right away. The video is hysterical. Check out the keyboard player; he is pretty much goofing on the whole lip-synching aspect of playing on those TV shows.

# 9 – Bye Bye Baby Blue

I know; you hear the “Smoke on the Water” guitar lick at the beginning, too. But after that, it becomes all Undertones. It’s not one of their most famous songs, but we dig this one. We also like the Fifth Dimension harmony tribute at the end. The Undertones were inspired by everyone.

# 8 – It’s Going To Happen

The great song ” It’s Going To Happen” was released as a single on April 21, 1981. The song was issued as a stand-alone single between the band’s second and third albums. It reached the top 20 on the U.K. singles charts. The Undertones always made great videos, and this somewhat tribute to silent films is a real screamer.

# 7 – Wednesday Week

“Wednesday Week” is the perfect song to utilize in the argument against The Undertones being defined as a punk band. “Wednesday Week” is perfect pop. It has that 1960s vibe, yet the song represents an originality that separates it from the 1960s-era British Invasion, as its production and musicality are pure late 1970’s. The song “Wednesday Week” was released on the band’s second album, Hypnotised, in 1980.

# 6 – Thrill Me

One of the great Undertones songs of all time was a pleasant surprise for fans of the band. The song was released on the band’s 2003 album, Get What You Need. It was the band’s first record to feature Paul McLoone, who replaced Feargal Sharkey on lead vocals in 1999.  It’s pretty rare in rock and roll when bands change lead singers and continue on successfully. It usually divides the fan base into two camps supporting opposing singers. Can anyone say Van Halen? However, Paul McLoone and the Undertones recorded a great album of material in 2003, and “Thrill Me” represents one of the album’s great tracks,

# 5 – Jimmy Jimmy

The song “Jimmy Jimmy” was the band’s second single off their debut album and their first top 20 U.K. charting song. The song was released on the band’s first album, The Undertones, in 1979. John O’Neil wrote the music. The single’s flip side contained the popular Undertones song “Mars Bars.”

# 4 – Get Over You

The Undertones’ first single from their debut album was the excellent track “Get Over You.” The song had a distinct Dave Edmonds feel, especially in the verses. 1979 was such a great year for music, with bands like Rockpile releasing some of the most enjoyable pop-rock music in years.

Both the year 1979 and bands like The Undertones have often been overshadowed by the big name bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Guns N’ Roses, and all the other dinosaurs of rock and roll that came before and after 1979. It’s a shame, but we aim to explore and promote the great bands of the late 1970s who have often been forgotten.

# 3 – Teenage Kicks

“Teenage Kick”s is the song that got the Undertones their record deal. John Peels loved the song and heavily promoted the band. It was the band’s first single before they had a major label recording contract. The song was initially released on the Belfast independent label Good Vibrations in 1978. It was left off their first album but was placed on their debut album’s subsequent reissue.

# 2 – My Perfect Cousin

If you have never heard of The Undertones, we know by the time you get to the song “My Perfect Cousin,” you will have been won over by this fantastic band. And if you haven’t, this unbelievable pop gem, “My Perfect Cousin,” should seal the deal. Labeled as one of the greatest Undertones songs by fans of the band, the song was initially released on the band’s second LP entitled Hypnotized. The album was released in 1980. The song “My Perfect Cousin,” hit the No. 9 spot on the U.K. music charts in 1980 making it the band’s only top 10 single.

# 1 – You Got My Number

This is simply great rock and roll. The Beatles and Stones’ spirit blasts through infectious guitar riffs and perfect vocals. It’s like The Beatles and Stones meet the B-52s and The Knack. It is easily one of the best songs of the new wave era and probably the most underrated and unknown. The song opens with some roaring guitar defined by a punk meets beatnik attitude. The vocals are to die for, while the hook seals the deal.

Top 10 Undertones Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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