Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 13 Aug. '58, Londonderry, Northern Ireland) Rock singer. Began with pop band the Undertones, formed in Derry '77 with John and Damian O'Neill on guitars, Michael Bradley on bass, drummer Billy Doherty. John Peel championed them in UK, helped make 'Teenage Kicks' a minor hit '78; their appeal was their ingenuousness and na‹vet‚: during punk's overtly political, nihilistic thrust they were a quintessential pop band. Album The Undertones '79 incl. 'Jimmy Jimmy' and 'Here Comes The Summer', emphasizing O'Neills' songwriting and Sharkey's appealing, quavery vocals; Hypnotised '80 incl. biggest hit, 'My Perfect Cousin' (no. 9 UK), threatened to typecast forever-young image; Positive Touch '81 displayed more maturity with 'Julie Ocean', 'Forever Paradise', 'It's Going To Happen', but fans/critics seemed to want them to remain perpetual teenagers. The Sin Of Pride '83 was confident, but dissension in the band and disillusion with UK music scene saw them split '83; All Wrapped Up '83 was a compilation; '79 radio Peel Session issued on 12]im[ single '86. Sharkey worked with Vince Clarke in Assembly (no. 4 UK hit '83 with 'Never Never'), had solo top 30 hit '84 with funky 'Listen To Your Father'; debut solo LP Feargal Sharkey '85 on Virgin sold two million copies around the world (compared to total Undertones sales of perhaps 250,000), incl. no. 1 UK hit with Lone Justice song 'A Good Heart', effective cover of Percy Sledge's 'When A Man Loves A Woman'. He worked with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, appeared in Bob Dylan videos '85; he was one of rock's identifiable voices: second LP Wish recorded '87 for early '88 release incl. single 'More Love' with guest Keith Richards on guitar. The O'Neills formed That Petrol Emotion, made singles 'Keen' and 'V2' '85, energetic and well-received Manic Pop Thrill '86 followed by Babble, End Of The Millennium Psychosis and Chemicrazy '87--90, their own Peel Session on Strange Fruit from '87.