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Nothing funny about history behind Undertones' 'It's Gonna Happen'



The juxtaposition in '80s videos is always an interesting topic and today's Lost and Found lesson is the Undertones' It's Gonna Happen! - a contrast of wacky humor vs. a song of subtle political protest.

The Undertones were a prolific Irish band that charted seven Top 40 singles in the U.K. over the four-year span of 1978-1981. Over four years ago, we featured My Perfect Cousin and today we tackle their last Top 40 hit, It's Gonna Happen! The video for It's Gonna Happen! has a little of a Madness-video vibe as while The Undertones play for their video, their doubles behind the camera have their own silent movie fun with a heavy emphasis on film-making puns.

While everything looks lighthearted, the inspiration behind It's Gonna Happen! is about the very serious hunger strikes in Ireland in 1981. In 1980. the Irish Republic Army (IRA) members in prison started going on hunger strikes to bring attention to their cause as they felt they were more political prisoners rather than common criminals plus they were trying to gain more freedoms and improve their treatment as prisoners.

The most celebrated hunger strike victim was Bobby Sands who started his hunger strike on March 1, 1981. In April 9, he became the youngest person ever to be elected to Parliament when at 27 years of age he won a special election, but never got to serve as he died on his 66th day of his hunger strike on May 5. The next night, members of the Undertones dedicated It's Gonna Happen! to Sands on an appearance of Top of the Pops.

By 1983, the Undertones disbanded as lead singer Feargal Sharkey went on to pursue his solo career. In 1999, the Undertones reunited without Sharkey and continue to tour today. For the most part, the conflict between the Catholics vs. Protestants/IRA vs. British Government de-escalated by the late '90s in Ireland.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:32pm]


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