One Direction reworked Blondie's 1978 track
with a bit of the Undertones' classic punk track "Teenage Kicks
" mashed in, as the official Comic Relief single for the 2013 charity campaign. The song was recorded to mark the 25th anniversary of Red Nose Day, a fundraising event held by the organization televised lived by the BBC on March 15, 2013.
The quintet did not receive any payment regarding their contribution to the charity single, with the proceeds going to those affected by famine in Africa. Louis Tomlinson said: "Red Nose Day is a great excuse to have a lot of fun and to raise money, please get involved."
The single was produced by Julian Bunetta, who'd previously worked with the band on their Take Me Home
tracks "C'mon, C'mon," "I Would
," and "They Don't Know About Us." He has also helmed songs for the likes of Leona Lewis, JLS, Sean Kingston and Natasha Bedingfield.
The song was supposed to be released as a download on February 17, 2013, but leaked a fortnight previously. Tomlinson expressed his concern over what its premature appearance on the web might mean for proceeds. "I hear the charity single has been leaked. Very sad to see. Don't forget together we are trying to raise money for Comic Relief," he tweeted. "Please get behind an incredible charity and make a real difference."
Bunetta revealed to MTV News that it was Simon Cowell who came up with the idea for covering the Blondie track, "because obviously it's a really cheeky song and it's very fun and also it was very unexpected." He added. "And I think that he wanted to do something that was out of the ordinary that people wouldn't expect. And, it obviously is fun and that works with the whole Comic Relief thing and the whole Comic Relief idea."
The One Direction guys began their work on the track with Bunetta, in late 2012. "It was an interesting process... because we had to re-imagine it we only could do that once we heard the boys sing it. We didn't produce the track first and then have them sing it. I had them sing to just an acoustic guitar track only, that's it," he recalled to MTV News "We went in the studio, all the boys had known the song. And we listened to it over and over and we basically laid down an acoustic guitar and we picked out favorite parts and we sang them.
"We had a lot of fun and then I came back to L.A. with all the vocal files and then spent a good amount of time trying to re-imagine it and how it could work and how I could make the sound fit," he continued. "It took a little bit of time, but I'm really pleased with the results, and I hope the 1D fans are really pleased with the results. They gave the song a new twist and a new life so I had to make sure I built it from there and accentuated and magnified what they brought to it. I built a box around them."
The One Direction boys decided to film the song's music video themselves during trips around the world in order to save money for the charity. As well as scenes shot on the road in London, New York, Tokyo and Ghana, the clip also features an appearance by British Prime Minister outside his official residence at 10 Downing Street. We see Mr Cameron hugging Harry Styles as the 1D member sings the line: "I wanna hold you, wanna hold you tight." The PM said he "enjoyed" his cameo adding "Glad to help with the filming location!"
The song topped the singles charts in several countries including Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands and the UK.
The song was one of the fastest-selling Comic Relief singles ever, hitting #1 on iTunes charts in 63 countries during its first week on sale.
Blondie frontwoman Deborah Harry told The Daily Star she thought One Direction did a good job with their version of her band's hit tune. "Making a mash-up of our song by putting it together with The Undertones' track was entirely appropriate," she said, adding: "One Direction's take had a similar spirit to our early cover versions. They seem good kids."