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Pete Townshend Responds to Furious One Direction Fans

Who guitarist not bothered by similarity between 'Best Song Ever' and 'Baba O'Riley'

August 16, 2013 10:55 AM ET
Pete Townshend of the Who performs in New York City.
Pete Townshend of the Who performs in New York City.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Clear Channel

Pete Townshend has responded to One Direction fans furious over an Internet rumor that the Who were pursuing legal action over the boy band's "Best Song Ever," which bears more than a passing resemblance to "Baba O'Riley." Not true, Townshend said yesterday in a statement.

"No! I like the single. I like One Direction," Townshend said. "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!"

Hear Readers' 10 Favorite Who Songs

In fact, Townshend appears to be flattered that has band continues to shape the contemporary pop scene: "I'm happy to think they may have been influenced a little bit by the Who," he said. "I'm just relieved they're not all wearing boiler suits and Doc Martens, or Union Jack jackets."

The plagiarism accusations arose from rumors that the Who were attempting to have "Best Song Ever" removed from YouTube. One Direction fans responded with a storm of angry tweets employing the hashtag #donttouchbestsongever. 

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