If you ask me, the world “blew it” in generally ignoring The Undertones. Actually, I’m not sure I can condemn the UK, which has seen fit to produce 2 documentaries on this little band that could, but my fellow countrymen can bite me for leaving proper appreciation for this band to what seems like a few dozen scattered Americans of my generation and the slightly younger Townsman Berlyant, who once bravely saw fit to defend the band’s lone demi-turd of an album, The Sin of Pride, at our first (and as-yet only) live Rock Town Hall symposium. Among the slightly younger generation of folks who should know better, not even Townsman Oats digs The Undertones. For shame! More power to Berlyant for his brave stance! More power to The Undertones!
Please note: the clips I’ve included are not necessarily what I consider the band’s “best” songs or available live video performances. In fact, they’re from the period that even most Undertones fans consider the end of the line, from 1980’s overlooked gem Positive Touch (their most important contribution to humanity, in my opinion) to the aforementioned swan song by the original line-up. (They’ve since re-formed with an adequate replacement lead singer for the proud Feargal Sharkey, allowing folks like myself to celebrate and pay homage to the band’s past glories.) What these clips do show and what I have valued so much since stumbling across their unbelievably energetic and creative first album is a combination of rock ‘n roll smarts, energy, and idiosyncrasy that was unmatched among a generation of bands understandably influenced by the The Ramones and Nuggets records. With no “ace” musicians, nothing more distinctive than a unique singer and an endless supply of peppy riffs, they always relied on each other as a band. There was never a song that was clearly the tertiary songwriter’s bone or an excuse for the lead guitarist to wank off. The Undertones made my music, the way me and my friends could imagine ourselves making music. I am disappointed in you, world, for not seeing things my way.
The point of this thread, however, is not to focus on The Undertones but to share what other ways the world blew it. What artist that failed to capture a larger audience and better sprinkle their magic pixie dust through the land makes you shake your head and feel the world blew a once-in-a-generation opportunity?