Even now, four decades later, there’s something about Teenage Kicks by The Undertones, which stirs the blood and induces a frisson of excitement.
The late John Peel proclaimed it the greatest song ever written and played it incessantly on his radio shows. Others simply marvelled at how the track encapsulated all the hopes, dreams, desires and frustrations of a whole generation.
The Irish band never took any prisoners with their short, sharp slices of exquisite punk and pop, including such hits as Jimmy Jimmy, Here Comes the Summer, My Perfect Cousin and Wednesday Week.
And, as they get ready to perform at Aberdeen’s Garage on November 11 during their 40th anniversary tour, their drummer, Billy Doherty sounded every bit as much in love with their music as when the band used to appear regularly on Top of the Pops.
As he told the Press and Journal: “We never set out to make this a career, we did it because we loved it and nothing has really changed.
“It still leaves us slightly amazed when we see how much Teenage Kicks strikes a chord with people. We were at John Peel’s funeral and they played the song, and people had tears streaming down their cheeks, and they were singing the song outside.
“Every time we play the song, I put everything I have into it. Yes, we’re older now, but The Who sang My Generation in the 1960s and I think Teenage Kicks had a similar impact for many people in the 1970s.”
A lot of Guinness has travelled under the bridge during the last 40 years, but The Undertones must have a few pictures of Dorian Gray growing ancient in their attics somewhere.
That would explain why the group still possess a raucous enthusiasm for intermingling the past and present.
Doherty added: “When we go on tour, it brings us all back together and the reaction on this latest one has been incredible.
“There are all different ages of fans in the audience: teenagers, people in their 20s and 30s, all the way through to those who recall the hits first time round.”
“You never get tired of it. If anything, it has the opposite effect and the response at the concerts has been uplifting.”
A love of garage bands helped formulate The Undertones’ penchant for songs with strong chorus hooks and a refusal to let their music overstay its welcome.
After reforming in 1999 to perform two shows in their hometown, it wasn’t long before the band were back in the studio working on new material.
The resulting albums Get What You Need, released in 2003 and Dig Yourself Deep in 2007 both received critical acclaim and it was obvious The Undertones had no interest in merely reprising their back catalogue.
They were inspired by punk and that giddy momentum, from the days of the Sex Pistols and The Clash still propels them.
As Doherty said: “We’d love to record again, but if it happens, it happens.
“While we are on the road, though, we’re always looking to put as much energy into our gigs wherever we go.
“We’re really looking forward to coming to Aberdeen, because we’ve always had a great rapport with Scottish audiences.”
It might seem like a different world from that of the mid-70s. But The Undertones are still getting their kicks from music which never ages.
The Undertones perform at Garage in Aberdeen on November 11.