Friday, August 16, 2013

Pete Townshend pats One Direction fans on the head

To save time with their new single, One Direction simply got some grown-ups to take an old Who song and pretended it was theirs.

When the world pointed out that Best Song Ever is pretty much just Baba O'Riley, One Direction fans reacted with the usual misplaced groupthink, and decided to launch a pre-emptive attack on The Who.

After every blue police phone box had been reduced to a smouldering wreckage, they suddenly realised The Who was a band, and so off they danced to Twitter to circle their wagons and wave their tiny little fists:

Not entirely clear how being able to "crash twitcam" is going to change the basics of copyright law but good luck with that. I'd love to see it in court:
"So, we have heard from the lawyers for The Who publishers, and their musical experts and precedent. What argument do you have for One Direction?"
"Well, your honour, I have only one very weak argument, but I shall call upon a couple of thousand teenagers to make the same weak argument over and over again in case that changes the facts."

Heartwarmingly, it even turned into a crossover between two sets of fandamentalists:
Into this teen-tinged tag-team Twitter takedown storm stepped Pete Townshend. His statement is masterful:
"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?"
Of course, bringing the Guess Who into the story will mean One Direction fans will be attacking Toys R Us to destroy that face guessing game, but there's always collateral damage.

You'll note that not only does Pete calm the fears that The Who are calling for the song to be banned, but he also does nothing that would prevent his publishers suing One Direction's publishers for a lovely large payday.

And that's the difference between experience and enthusiasm.