When I realised The Undertones debut album was released in May (1979), I asked Jules and ColDog if I could do a post on it. I visited The Undertones official site and saw under email addresses 'for anything else', and so speculatively sent a request asking if anyone would be prepared to chat with me. 48 hours later I received a response, which ended up being a much longer conversation than planned with bassist Micky Bradley. Micky has so many wonderful stories and so I have split it into 3 seperate chats and will post 2 of them as a seperate post. For now, enjoy his memories of the debut album.
In May 1979 The Undertones released their debut album of the same name, having built a following on the back of Teenage Kicks, but with the second single Get Over You failing to hit the Top 50.
Six of the 14 tracks come are less than 2 minutes long, and as Micky Bradley said in his chat with COB, “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus”!
The lead single ahead of its release was the classic Jimmy Jimmy, which made number 16 in the UK charts. The songs had all been written and developed during the bands weekly residency at the Casbah Club in Derry. Although John O’Neill was the main songwriter, all of the band with the exception of Feargal, receive songwriting credits.This was later to be a source of disagreement within the band as Feargal was not receiving any royalties, yet was the iconic voice and frontman of the band. In Micky’s book, he describes how Feargal left the band briefly, the matter being resolved when John volunteered to split all his royalties and publishing equally, something the rest of the songwriters agreed to also do.
The follow up single Here Comes the Summer, is equally classic Undertones, taking up only 1:45 of our time.
There are so many other fantastic tracks that still sound fresh today. If you haven’t listened to it for a while, why not give it another listen this weekend. If you’ve never listened to it, well then you are in for a treat!
Although many people liked the follow up, Hypnotised, I never felt it hit the heights of the debut. And after that, well, read Micky’s book and I think it becomes apparent there was never a serious plan as to what next. But who cares, the first album is, in my humble opinion, 29 minutes 29 seconds of pure pop gold.
Looking forward to hearing it all again when they play on the same bill as the Rats at the Sign of the Times festival on the 2nd July.