Sunday 22 August 2021

Teenage Kicks

Trust me #28

The Undertones began playing Teenage Kicks, written by guitarist John O'Neill, in 1977, recording it as a demo in early 1978. The tape was sent to a number of record companies and to John Peel at the BBC.

Legend has it that Peel burst into tears upon hearing the song, not only playing it on his show, but offering to pay to send the band into a studio, in June 1978, to record it properly. Released on Belfast label Good Vibrations (check the film), Peel played the song again, Seymour Stein from Sire Records heard it and promptly (after his A&R man watched the band on their local turf) signed the band for £10,000. By October 78 the band were playing it on Top of the Pops - VIDEO

Picture by Larry Doherty

Peel often noted the song as his ultimate favourite (and he had heard a lot of songs!), even having the lyrics inscribed on his gravestone.

Quite a story ... quite a song!

Lets get into the song. It really is power punk pop perfection. Slamming into a ferocious guitar riff, The Undertones roar through verse-chorus-verse-chorus in under a minute, beginning with the incredible line a teenage dream's so hard to beat.

Teenage lust, desire and innocence pour out of the song. Fergal Sharkey delivers an exceptional vocal performance, audibly shaking with intensity at times and I still love the way he yells alright after the second chorus, into a short 15-second instrumental - just the same driving power chords.

Then the band just rip through the song again leading into another short instrumental followed by one more chorus. It's all over in under 2 and a half minutes. It's electrifying pop, the energy is infectious, the way the band just rip through the song is sensational, even on first listen you'll be singing a-long.

Teenage Kicks is simply sensational and must surely be one of the best debut singles of all time.

You can listen to all the songs I've featured in my Trust Me series in a playlist by searching for Everything Flows Trust Me on Spotify or by CLICKING HERE

You can also read about the previous songs I've written about by clicking on the links below, underneath the lyrics.

A teenage dream's so hard to beat

Every time she walks down the street

Another girl in the neighbourhood

Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight

Get teenage kicks right through the night

I'm gonna call her on the telephone

Have her over cause I'm all alone

I need excitement, oh I need it bad

And it's the best I've ever had

I wanna hold her, wanna hold her tight

Get teenage kicks right through the night

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks
25. Dreaming Of You by The Coral
26. Everlasting Love by The Love Affair
27. As Long As I've Got You by The Charmels

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