Feargal Sharkey Biography

Sean Feargal Sharkey, 13 August 1958, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Sharkey first found fame as the lead singer of the Undertones, whose singles provided some of the best punk pop of the late 70s. The band eventually fell apart in 1983, after which Sharkey teamed up with Vince Clarke in the short-lived Assembly. The plaintive ‘Never Never’ was a Top 5 hit for the duo and highlighted the power of Sharkey’s distinctive, quavering vocal style. In 1984, Sharkey recorded the underrated ‘Listen To Your Father’ for Madness’ label Zarjazz and this was followed in 1985 by his biggest success, ‘A Good Heart’. This insistent tune, written by Maria McKee, established him as a potential major act by reaching number 1 in the UK charts. The Top 5 follow-up ‘You Little Thief’ was equally distinctive and Sharkey’s debut album, produced by David A. Stewart was well received. Sharkey subsequently moved to America, where he recorded the disappointing Wish. A long-delayed third album, Songs From The Mardi Gras, continued Sharkey’s slow drift away from the mainstream, although it did spawn a surprise UK Top 20 hit, ‘I’ve Got News For You’.

By 1993, Sharkey had established himself as A&R Manager for Polydor Records. He has continued to work in this side of the industry, holding the post of Managing Director for EXP Ltd before being appointed a member of the Radio Authority in 1998. He turned down the opportunity to join his former colleagues when the Undertones re-formed in the late 90s. In January 2004, he was appointed chairman of the Live Music Forum, a government task force formed to promote live music and monitor the introduction of the new Licensing Act.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.