The British/Irish five-piece singing group released the song last month, and it drew online criticism from music fans who spotted comparisons between their track and the Who's 1971 anthem "Baba O'Riley." But Townshend insists that the motifs used in their single are the same as those that have been used by musicians for many years.
In response to reports that he had asked for One Direction's track to be pulled from the airwaves, Townshend has released a statement, which reads, "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 -- not always. I'm still writing songs that sound like 'Baba O'Riley' -- or I'm trying to!"
Said Townsend: "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 ... Why would I not be happy about this kind of tribute?"