Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Fans give One Direction a kicking... but they get Undertones' approval

One Direction perform their Comic Relief single on stage during the Brit Awards on Wednesday night
One Direction perform their Comic Relief single on stage during the Brit Awards on Wednesday night

It was slated by music fans on social networking sites, branded a 'criminal offence' and an affront to punk rock.

One Direction sent Twitter into overdrive with their Brit Awards performance of new Comic Relief single – a mash-up of Blondie's One Way Or Another and The Undertones' Teenage Kicks.

But while some critics hailed the rendition as 'horrid', those with close links to the Derry band's teenage anthem were surprisingly less hostile to the idea.

The Undertones bass player Mickey Bradley said he had missed Wednesday night's Brits ceremony but had heard the charity One Direction song. And he said he had no problem with the young heart-throbs covering the band's classic punk single.

"To be honest, I've heard a lot worse versions than One Direction's," he said. "If they want to lift a few lines from Teenage Kicks and put it into the middle of their new single, let them batter on.

"It doesn't mean The Undertones' version has been cancelled. It's still out there. But I'm quite at ease with One Direction doing our song. Maybe they'll do My Perfect Cousin for their next single."

Billy Doherty, drummer with The Undertones, said he thought One Direction were "quite a good band" and that he wished them every success with the Comic Relief single.

"I've no objections at all to the track," he said. "It's only a song, after all. It's not life or death. And they have a very good sound and are hugely popular. I wouldn't begrudge them any success. It's all a bit of fun and at the end of the day, it's for a good cause."

Terri Hooley, (below) Good Vibrations record label boss and the man who introduced Teenage Kicks to the late legendary DJ John Peel, said he was "delighted" it was reaching a new audience.

"I can't understand why people are up in arms about it," he said. "It's a much better version than I could have ever done myself."

Former punk Stuart Bailie, of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, found the performance amusing and said it was appropriate for five teenage boys to sing a track called Teenage Kicks.

"It seemed to me that they kind of sang it as if they meant it," he said. "And if it gets a couple more kids curious about The Undertones, then that's not a bad thing.

"It certainly didn't make me feel irate or want to throw something at the television. It's quite funny that some old punks around town would feel sanctimonious about this sort of thing, when the whole idea of punk was the freedom to do whatever you wanted."

Some fans on Twitter were less forgiving, however. One slammed it as a "criminal offence". Another tweeted: "Bet John Peel is looking down thinking Teenage Kicks used to be my favourite song."

Whatever the dissenters think, the One Direction song is topping the charts in 63 countries so far.

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