One Direction cover of Undertones hit splits fans

One Direction's cover version of The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" has divided fans of the Derry punk icons.
One Direction's cover version of The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks" has divided fans of the Derry punk icons.

Fans of Derry punk legends The Undertones are up in arms at a new version of their 1970s anthem, “Teenage Kicks.”

Chart-topping boy band One Direction performed a cover of John O’Neill’s song at last week’s Brit Awards.

The One Direction version - which is a mash-up of ‘Teenage Kicks’ and Blondie’s ‘One Way Or Another’ - has been recorded as this year’s Comic Relief charity single.

The Brits performance sent social networking sites into overdrive with some die-hard Undertones fans branding the cover version “deplorable”, “awful” and, even, “sacrilegious”.

However, Michael Bradley, bassist with The Undertones, is less hostile to the boy band’s efforts.

“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.”

Terri Hooley, Good Vibrations record label boss and the man who introduced “Teenage Kicks” to late 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.”

Stuart Bailie, of the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast - which celebrates The Undertones’ contribution to the local music scene - said he found the performance amusing, adding that it was appropriate for five teenagers to sing a track called “Teenage Kicks.”

“Teenage Kicks” was The Undertones’ debut single. Written in the summer of 1977 by the band’s principal songwriter, John O’Neill, the song was recorded in June 1978 and initially released that September upon independent Belfast record label Good Vibrations before the band — at the time unobligated to any record label - signed to Sire Records in October, 1978.

Sire Records subsequently obtained all copyrights to the material released upon the Teenage Kicks EP and the song was re-released as a standard vinyl single upon Sire’s own label on October 14 that year, reaching number 31 in the U.K. Singles Chart.

The single was not included on the original May 1979 release of the band’s debut album “The Undertones”. However, the October 1979 re-release of this debut album included both “Teenage Kicks” and the Undertones’ second single, “Get Over You”.

Influential BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who died in 2004, publicly declared “Teenage Kicks” to be his all-time favourite song.

One Direction, meanwhile, signed with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records after being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of British television singing competition ‘The X Factor’ in 2010. Propelled to international success by the power of social media, their first two albums have topped the charts.