Banned Biographies

Banned Biographies is an audio documentary series charting the careers of some of the most notorious bands ever to grace the world’s stages.

Teenage Kicks: The Story of The Undertones

November 28th, 2020

It all started on a two-week camping trip in County Donegal, Northern Ireland in August 1974. Friends Michael Bradley, Billy Doherty and brothers Vince and John O’Neill decided they wanted to start a band. The group had existed as an idea for about six months in the minds of John, Vince and Billy.

For a while, the unnamed group hade no instruments with which to practice, so there were no songs either. But it didn't stop them discussing the future of the band, who would play what instrument, and what kind of songs they were going to make. 

There was one more obvious problem that needed to be overcome: They didn't have a singer. Doherty invited local Irish Dancing legend and choir boy, Feargal Sharkey to join as singer and soon The Undertones were born, playing scout halls, school halls and social clubs before their big break.

This unlikely group of lads from Derry, a town which was in the midst of getting over the Bloody Sunday shootings of 1972, made a point of rebelling against the fervent political and sectarian turmoil of their surroundings by making some of the most innocent, pop-influenced music of all the 1970s punk bands, a couple of which have stood the test of time and feature on compilations to this day.

Teenage dreams really are hard to beat.


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