Who’s Laughing Now: One Direction Do Comic Relief

It's a Harry situation.

It’s a Harry situation.

(Listen to One Direction‘s “One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)” here.)

It was announced earlier today that boy band One Direction will be singing this year’s Comic Relief charity single, “One Way Or Another”, a remake of the Blondie classic from 1979. The charity supports “poor and disadvantaged people”, the hallmark of it being a once-every-two-years telecast running roughly nine hours to celebrate Red Nose Day. Just as it says, performers and presenters alike wear the plastic noses in the name of drumming up money for the over twenty-five year old charity. Though an American version has aired for several years on cable, it’s nowhere near as big as in the United Kingdom, where 2011’s event raised over £108 million, the highest total yet. However, this year, that total could be surpassed.

Now, this is going to cause a bit of a stir in the boy band world as rivals The Wanted released the last official Comic Relief single back in 2011, “Gold Forever”. It reached a peak of #3 in March of that year. (A second release, “I Know Him So Well” by Susan Boyle and Peter Kay (as parody act Geraldine McQueen) got to #11. You’ll understand why there were two later on.) A similar case happened several years ago when Irish boy band Boyzone sang 1999’s single, a remake of Billy Ocean‘s “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going”, while rivals Westlife took on 2001’s release, a cover of Billy Joel‘s “Uptown Girl”. In both of those cases, the songs reached the #1 spot in the U.K., though the former lasted two weeks in the top spot while the latter only got one. One Direction are coming off the hype of a #1 single, their ballad “Little Things”, with the potential of another single coming in between that and “Another”, so they may have the upper hand in the boy band battle. Yet, the sales of it may be so front-loaded, it may just end up at #3 like “Forever”. (One Direction‘s track has since debuted at #1. It also became the first Comic Relief single to be released outside of Europe, hitting the Hot 100 last month.)

Here are some other top tracks to come out of Comic Relief:

  • 1986: The first charity release comes out in April of this year, a remixed version of “Living Doll” by Cliff Richard, featuring the cast of BBC2 series The Young Ones. It easily reached #1 and stayed three for three consecutive weeks.
  • 1989: Top girl group Bananarama collaborate with comedians French & Saunders and Kathy Burke, who call themselves La na nee nee noo noo (a takeoff on the group’s name), and take a remake of The Beatles‘s “Help!” to #3.
  • 1991: Hale & Pace, the comedic duo, create a line dance sensation in “The Stonk”, which hit #1 for a week in March. It also began a yearly version of Comic Relief, which lasted until 1995 before going back to a once-every-two-years format.
  • 1994: Dance duo Pet Shop Boys took their charity single on an electronic kick, featuring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley on “Absolutely Fabulous”. It peaked at #6.
  • 1995: One of the more treasured releases for the event, “Love Can Build A Bridge”, a cover of a U.S. Country hit for The Judds, brings together CherChrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton. It spent one week at #1 in May.
  • 1997: The first two-sided single representing the charity, “Mama / Who Do You Think You Are”, is released by the Spice Girls. Without much hesitation, it goes to #1 for three weeks.
  • 2005: Yet another boy band, McFly, take their double-side single of “All About You” and a cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend” to the #1 spot. However, 2005 also marks the year that a second single is issued as a part of the event, “(Is This The Way To) Amarillo”, by standards singer Tony Amarillo and comedian Peter Kay, who is credited despite not singing it (though he does appear in the music video for it.) Over thirty-three years after it was first released, it goes to #1 for seven consecutive weeks.
  • 2007: A remake of Aerosmith‘s “Walk This Way” unites rival girl groups Girls Aloud and Sugababes. The single goes to #1, as does the second more comedic release, “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, a new version of The Proclaimers hit featuring Peter Kay as Brian Potter and Matt Lucas as Andy Pipkin, two wheelchair-bound characters.
  • 2009: Continuing the chain of girl groups, The Saturdays issue a cover of Depeche Mode‘s “Just Can’t Get Enough”. However, it becomes the first Comic Relief since 1994 to fail to reach the top spot in the  U.K., peaking at #2. However, the comedy release, “(Barry) Islands In The Stream”, a takeoff of the Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton classic as performed by Vanessa Jenkins (Ruth Jones) and Bryn West (Rob Brydon) from the show Gavin & Stacey, and featuring Tom Jones and the late Robin Gibb, does reach the #1 spot, marking the first time this occurrence happened.

Check back to see what happens in the Spring! For now, One Direction’s Take Me Home is still in stores and ready for you to gift during this holiday season.

Do you have a favorite charity single that was released for the event? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

1 Comment

Filed under Music News, Playlists, Retro

One response to “Who’s Laughing Now: One Direction Do Comic Relief

  1. Of course I have a favorite one! 😉 Walk This Way was AWESOME! =D (and Sugababes was my favorite group at that time, haha!)

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