On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 18, British sensation One Direction released charity single "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)" in support of Comic Relief's 25th annual Red Nose Day, which raises money to fight poverty. The track, a cover of the Blondie classic blended with the Undertones' 1978 single, is expected to become the group's third No. 1 in the United Kingdom in less than 18 months. Through Tuesday, Feb. 20, it was outselling its nearest competitors--Baauer's "Harlem Shake" and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Thrift Shop"--by almost 2-to-1, according to the Official Charts Co.
But stateside, where Red Nose Day is little-known, it's a slightly different story: The song was released quietly, without any radio promotion--but that isn't stopping it from becoming a possible sleeper hit regardless, a testament to the act's rabid fan base. With only one day at digital retail, "One Way or Another" debuts at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 107,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and leapfrogs "Kiss You," the group's current U.S. single, which jumps 72â51. Industry sources suggest the cover song might sell 150,000 in the week ending Feb. 24. This success comes despite the fact that only one of the 1,235 stations that report to the Hot 100 Airplay panel has played it, according to Nielsen BDS: WXSS Milwaukee, with seven plays since Feb. 19.
"I wouldn't say it's a surprise," says Julian Bunetta, who co-produced the song with John Ryan. "It's really a testament to the One Direction boys and how much influence they have right now over pop culture. At this point, with One Direction, nothing really surprises me. It'd be tough to surprise me with a stat they've gotten."
But One Direction fans aren't the only ones thrilled with the cover song: For Blondie, which is currently wrapping up a new record, the attention is welcome. "I'm very happy that One Direction has recorded [it]," lead singer Deborah Harry says. "I'm happy that Blondie music, new and old, is part of a continuing stream of great musical ideas."