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'But we like 1 Direction!' Rock gods The Who fend off teen Twitter hate mob

Battle of the (boy) bands: Kids threatened to KILL Pete Townshend over hit single

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Legendary rockers The Who have announced they have no plans to ask One Direction to withdraw their new track Best Song Ever after a digital mob of rabid teenage girls bombarded them with death threats.

The English rock band issued the statement yesterday, weeks after the boy band released their hit song. From the day of its release, Best Song Ever had prompted various music columnists to make comparisons with the English band's 1971 track Baba O'Riley.

The Twitterstorm first began brewing after a music reviewer on MTV.com commented about the track on 17 July: "[It] opens with a riff that sounds very similar to the Who's Baba O'Riley.

A few days later, on ClickMusic, another reviewer slated the X Factor losers' song, calling 1D's songwriting team "creatively barren" and stating that "someone should call Trading Standards".

The "Directioners" apparently tweeted and retweeted the article before the rumour began that Pete Townshend's band was actually threatening legal action, although it had not.

Hordes of adolescents then began issuing dire warnings to The Who after rumours circulated that they were planning to force "OneD" to withdraw the tune from YouTube.

Using the twitter hashtag #donttouchbestsongever, the hormonal horde of boyband obsessives told Townshend they would kill or rape anyone who dared mess with the Best Song Ever.

One Direction is a group of coiffured pop idols managed by Simon Cowell, while The Who, which started out on the mod scene in London in the early '60s, has been characterised by Rolling Stone as: "along with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones [completing] the holy trinity of British rock.

Guitarist and songwriter Townshend, famed for smashing his guitar on stage, issued the following statement last night:

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.

If you have paid any attention to the British press in recent months, you may have got the impression that nasty, nerdy male trolls were solely responsible for onine death threats. Well, it appears that teenage girls are just as bad.

Describing themselves as "psychotic and delusional", the fanbase known as Directioners made a series of threats.

Here's a taste of the wrath of young girls scorned:

Whatever the supposed similarities in the music, no one is disputing that the messages conveyed by the two songs are very, very different. The Who's Baba O'Riley conjures a world of adolescent love and hope, juxtaposed against the background of an alienating "teenage wasteland". The protagonist tells "Sally": "The exodus is here/The happy ones are near/Let's get together/Before we get much older".

Conversely, the One Direction song is about "dancing to the best song ever" which the band can't remember very well. "I think it went oh, oh, oh," they recall. "I think it went yeah, yeah, yeah."

So what have we learned from all this? Well, probably that anyone who makes death and rape threats on Twitter is unlikely to act upon them. Oh, and that The Who are way, way better than One Direction. ®

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