Some of you may have noticed that the chord progressions in the new One Direction single “Best Song Ever” are VERY similar to The Who’s 1970s hit, “Baba O’Riley.” In particular, the opening riff of the One Direction song sound like a direct homage to The Who classic.
Another band may have taken the case to court. But Who leader, Pete Townshend? He ain’t mad. Here’s what he has to say about Simon Cowell’s lads:
“No! I like the single. I like One Direction. 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. 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?”
Not only did the boys get a compliment from Pete, but also a dose of his generous spirit. So One Direction fans? Let’s take the legendary rocker’s lead and all hold hands across that great generational divide! If you aren’t caught up on the controversy, apparently the Directioners became a wee big defensive at the notion that their boys (or their “people” really) were plagiarizers.
Check out the similarities for yourself.
The Who – Baba O’Riley
One Direction – Best Song Ever