Song Lyric Sunday: This One’s For John Peel

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Communication, Information, News, Telephone
.
The song must contain a reference to the prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it


Teenage Kicks was the debut single by The Undertones, a Northern Irish punk band. Released in 1978, the song made the giddy heights of number 31 on the UK charts. Despite the best efforts of John Peel, who said of the song: It doesn’t get much better than this! And requested a line from it be inscribed on his gravestone.

John Peel was a British DJ and a law unto himself: If he liked your music, he played it. Sometimes twice in a row, as he did with Teenage Kicks. He played any genre and didn’t care if you’d recorded it in your mum’s bathroom or a professional studio. An attitude borne out by the legendary Peel Sessions: Where bands recorded and mixed their songs in a day, giving the music a raw edge.

You may wonder why I’m banging on about a guy who half the planet has never heard of, but bear with me on this one. Peel’s eclectic playlists opened generations of young British ears to music beyond the mainstream. And he was a godsend to unsigned acts. Having your demo played on his show bought you a step closer to landing a record deal.

Such was Peel’s appeal (sorry), most Brits over thirty can tell you where they were when they heard the news he’d died. My husband was doing a course in Totnes at the time. The announcement came over the radio, and everyone, bar two people, stopped what they were doing and stared at each other in shock and disbelief.

The two guys who hadn’t clocked the gravity of the news are excused because one was a Yank and the other a Canuck. And bless them, they thought the British reserve was crumbling because the Queen had died.

But back to the song. It mentions the word telephone and combines an infectious guitar hook with adolescent angst and heartbreak. Has the mating call of the greater-spotted teenager ever been bettered?

Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night

I’m gonna call her on the telephone
Have her over ‘cos I’m all alone
I need excitement oh I need it bad
And it’s the best, I’ve ever had

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night

I’m gonna call her on the telephone
Have her over ‘cos I’m all alone
I need excitement oh I need it bad
And it’s the best, I’ve ever had

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

Songwriter(s): John O Neill
© West Bank Songs Ltd.

John Peel (30 August 1939 – 25 October 2004)

8 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: This One’s For John Peel

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