One Direction's 'Best Song Ever' defended by The Who's Pete Townshend

Posted By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   Aug. 15, 2013 at 6:39 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 15 (UPI) -- It's official. Pete Townshend "likes" One Direction.

This news comes out of an online debate involving the nature of One Direction's latest single, "Best Song Ever," which one English blogger recently called a "sterilized" version of The Who's classic "Baby O'Riley."

"We find the 1D team resorting to plagiarism once again as The Who's 'Baba O'Riley' is sterilized and repackaged for fans who probably don't know any better," the unnamed critic wrote. "And someone should call Trading Standards over the song title because this represents the laziest, most mind-numbing trends in modern pop."

The "plagiarism" suggestion somehow led to rumors that "Best Song Ever" would be removed from the internet, prompting One Direction's rabid army of fans to start the hashtag "donttouchbestsongever."


In an effort to pacify hordes of angry tweens, the great Pete Townshend actually issued a statement regarding the songs' similarities.

“No! I like the single. I like One Direction," the 68-year-old rocker said.

He also offered up a little musical history lesson:

The chords I used and the chords they used are the same three chords we’ve all been using in basic pop music since Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Chuck Berry made it clear that fancy chords don’t mean great music – not always. I’m still writing songs that sound like Baba O’Riley – or I’m trying to! It’s a part of my life and a part of pop’s lineage.

"One Direction are in my business, with a million fans, and I’m happy to think they may have been influenced a little bit by The Who," Townshend continued.

I’m just relieved they’re all not wearing boiler suits and Doc Martens, or Union Jack jackets. The funniest thing is that in Canada this year I met with Randy Bachman once the leader of Guess Who who told me that he not only copied Baba O Riley for their hit "You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet," but he even called his band after us. Why would I not be happy about this kind of tribute?”

Do you think the songs sound too similar? Compare the tracks yourself with the videos below (One Direction's music doesn't actually start until mark 2:15).

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