Catching up on forty years. 1978: Teenage kicks – The Undertones

undertones Lurking under the sheen of ABBA, Boney M and the hit songs from Grease  lies a song that in 1978 probably said more about life than the music that they constantly play (to misquote The Smiths).  I won’t confess to discovering it that year but it has to be the song of the year!

It is, of course, The Undertones’ Teenage Kicks.  I turned teenager in 1978 and although far from getting any kicks , the music of the Undertones is bang on message – full of that teenage insecurity.  My perfect cousin was always spotless, clean and neat. Me and Kevin were not just the same.  Jimmy Jimmy was the boy that no one noticed.  Even the girls in Here Comes The Summer exude way too much confidence for the teenage boys!

So here’s to just over two minutes of perfect imperfection, with the perfect lyric “Teenage dreams, so hard to beat” which is, of course, engraved on John Peel’s gravestone and briefly on a Belfast flyover.

Meanwhile, we were playing Space Invaders, and I queued up for the first time for a film – Grease.  I can’t really remember if it was worth it or not!  On the TV we were watching Happy Days and The Muppet Show.

If I hadn’t chosen Teenage Kicks, it may have been anything from Blondie’s Parallel Lines, Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street or a rather weird song about Heathcliff by a woman called Kate Bush who kept weaving about on our television screens.

Definitely NOT The Smurf Song or Rasputin which are not two terms you often hear in the same sentence.


Why are we catching up on forty years?  Check it out  here.

And for a full week with the Undertones check out Living with…The Undertones…for a week.