The next single was released in February 1982. I’ll hand over to Michael Bradley from the band to offer his take on it:-
“A strange one : probably the first song we didn’t have live. We hadn’t properly played it before going into the studio. There’s a sort of sequencer or synthesiser type thing going on there. It was a big departure for us. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea. But it came at a time when, commercially, we were down. We were very vulnerable to someone saying ‘This is shite.’ Our confidence had been weakened because Julie Ocean didn’t get into the Top 40, Positive Touch wasn’t as successful as Hypnotised and It’s Going To Happen! was a bit of a disappointment, too. Beautiful Friend was a good song, and we enjoyed it as a development, but it was never going to set the charts on fire, as they say. The whole new romantic thing was happening, suddenly we were passe. People weren’t interested in boys from Derry playing guitars.”
mp3 : The Undertones – Beautiful Friend
To say it bombed would be an understatement. It didn’t sell enough copies to scrape into the Top 100, this from a band who less than two years previous had enjoyed a run of Top 20 singles.
It was the first of their singles I didn’t buy. I thought it was dull and uninspired and I haven’t changed my mind all these years later.
The b-side was a reworking of Life’s Too Easy, a song on Positive Touch. Here’s Michael’s take on it:-
“Another strange one. It was contrived. Again, it was us doing something different, possibly for the sake of doing something different. I wasn’t happy with that one.”
mp3 : The Undertones – Life’s Too Easy
(apologies for the poor quality of this track – I had to source it from somewhere else on t’internet – it’s not worth paying 99p for via i-tunes). Worth mentioning too that Michael was a co-writer of Life’s Too Easy so his criticism of the new version has to be seen as very valid.
The band, on a new label with bosses having high expectations, were at a crossroads. The new material for the fourth LP was going to be crucial….