The Ledge #550: 1978
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been hinting that I'll be starting 2023 with a big announcement. Well, tonight's the night!
In my eyes, “Teenage Kicks” is a perfect pop song; the greatest punk-inspired single of all time. Two minutes and 27 seconds of rock and roll at its finest. The sentiments are the same youthful expressions of the original rock and roll explosion of the 1950s. Instead of Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis boogie woogie piano, it’s buzzsaw guitars that accompany Undertones vocalist Fergal Sharkey’s desire for that “girl in the neighborhood” that he wishes “was mine she looks so good”. It’s the musical template later utilized by Husker Du, Pixies, Green Day, and hundreds of other pop-punkers for decades to come (for better or worse).
Since I love the song so much, I have found myself collecting all kinds of versions over the years. In fact, a little glance at my master iTunes library a few months ago showed that I owned over 30 covers of this tune. Just two weeks ago, I discovered that a Minneapolis band I loved in the 90s had released a remake as a now rare b-side (more on that next week). With that in mind, I decided that The Ledge broadcasts of 2023 are going to include a sub-theme called “52 Weeks of Teenage Kicks”.
Every show this year is going to kick off with a version of this wonderful tune, and I want to include my musical friends in this adventure. I’m sending out a plea to labels and bands to submit new versions that I will definitely fast track onto the playlist. Don’t worry about the musical style. Want to record a solo acoustic version? I’ll take it. Want to somehow transform it into a screeching death metal rattle? Go for it! Add some loops. I’ll even accept autotune!
Tonight’s first episode of 2023 is going to begin at the source. The Undertones’ original classic kickstarts two hours of legendary tunes from one of my favorite years of rock and roll - 1978. It was the year I discovered Elvis Costello, Wreckless Eric, Boomtown Rats, Devo and so much more! The “normals” may have been somehow grooving to Kansas and Head East but I was jumping around in my bedroom to The Clash and The Jam!
I would love it if every listener bought at least one record I played on either of these shows. These great artists deserve to be compensated for their hard work, and every purchase surely helps not only pay their bills but fund their next set of wonderful songs. And if you buy these records directly from the artist or label, please let them know you heard these tunes on The Ledge! Let them know who is giving them promotion! You can find this show at almost any podcast site, including iTunes and Stitcher...or
1. Undertones, Teenage Kicks
2. Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Oliver's Army
(Note: the metadata on this track was incorrect; this Costello song actually was released in 1979.)
3. Wreckless Eric, Take The Cash
4. The Jam, News Of The World
5. The Clash, Stay Free
6. Chris Bell, I Am The Cosmos
7. Johnny Thunders, You Cant Put Your Arms Round A Memory
8. The Only Ones, Another Girl, Another Planet
9. Ian Dury, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
10. The Boomtown Rats, She's So Modern
11. The Records, Girl
12. The Buzzcocks , Ever Fallen In Love
13. The Buzzcocks, What Do I Get?
14. Ramones, I Just Want To Have Something To Do
15. Talking Heads, Thank You For Sending Me An Angel
16. Patti Smith, Till Victory
17. Blondie, Denis
18. The Suicide Commandos, Semi-Smart
19. The Suburbs, Chemistry Set
20. Fingerprints, (Now i Want to Be a) Space Girl
21. SPOOKS, Laugh It Up
22. The Saints, Know Your Product
23. Radio Birdman, New Race
24. Cramps, Human Fly
25. Nervebreakers, My Girlfriend is a Rock
26. X, We're Desperate
27. Public Image Ltd., Public Image
28. X-Ray Specs, I Am A Cliché
29. 999, Homicide
30. Wire, Practice Makes Perfect
31. Magazine, Shot By Both Sides
32. The Rezillos, Top Of The Pops
33. The Adverts, Gary Gilmore's Eyes
34. Sham 69, If The Kids Are United
35. Generation X, Ready Steady Go