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The Who Won't Sue One Direction over Similarities Between "Baba O'Riley" and Boy Band's Hit "Best Song Ever"

Image courtesy of Geffen (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Geffen (via ABC News Radio)

A rumor recently started online -- and was later fueled by the British press -- claiming that The Who is planning to sue U.K. boy band One Direction over their hit "Best Song Ever," because its intro is similar to the rock legend's classic 1971 tune "Baba O'Riley."  However, Who guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend says he's a fan of the young group, and doesn't mind the similarity at all.

In a statement to Uncut magazine, Townshend emphatically denied that he'd consider suing over the song, and added, "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."

Townshend went on to say, "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 then joked that he's "relieved" that the members of One Direction aren't copying The Who's fashion styles from the sixties and seventies .

It should be noted that the guys in One Direction didn't even write "Best Song Ever," so they had nothing to do with the musical similarities between the two songs.  The song's producer told MTV, "At a certain point we recognized it had the same type of intro, where there's a synth and a piano, but we really tried to make sure that there was no intellectual property stolen or anything like that."

Meanwhile, whether or not "Baba O'Riley" was the inspiration for "Best Song Ever," The Who have indeed influenced One Direction, at least in some way.  The group's Niall Horan is a massive fan, and was even spotted in the audience when The Who performed in New York City last fall.  He often wears a Who T-shirt as well.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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