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Members of boy band sensation One Direction see a little of the young Fab Four in themselves.
“We watched that film of The Beatles when they first touched down in America and we saw a real likeness with our personalities,” member Harry Styles, 18, he of the dimples and sideswept hairdo, told the U.K.’s Daily Star before BBC Radio 1’s Teen Awards on Monday.
“They loved having a laugh like us,” added blonde bandmate Niall Horan, 19.
Styles and Horan’s comments are inevitably going to draw eyerolls and snickers from rock purists. After all, One Direction is a Top 40 confection, its various members having met on the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2010, where they were combined by music svengali and reality TV star Simon Cowell.
But even though they don’t write their own songs, nor are they associated with specific musical instruments, the extent of their seemingly overnight success on both sides of the Atlantic has earned them comparisons to the Beatles.
In March, Sir Paul McCartney dismissed the talk, calling it the “kiss of death.”
“So many bands, they all get called the next Beatles,” McCartney told U.K. morning show Daybreak. “It puts an awful lot of pressure on them to be the next Beatles. Oasis were the next Beatles once, if you remember. It’s pressure because suddenly you have got to live up to all the things that we did.”
McCartney added, “It was a different time back then. So let’s just call [One Direction] the next terrific band.”
“Terrific” may be in the ear of the beholder — but there’s no debating that the term applies to One Direction’s record sales.
The band’s first album, Up All Night, debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 — making it the first British group to do so, and earning them a spot in The Guiness Book of World Records. The album has gone on to sell 3 million units worldwide and earned the five members, who range in age from 18 to 20, an estimated $160 million in just two years.
Their follow-up album, Take Me Home, is scheduled for a Nov. 12 release. The video for its first single, “Live While We’re Young,” shattered Justin Bieber’s VEVO record for most views in a 24-hour period: 8.24 million to Bieber’s 8 million.
As for any recent lapses in humility, the band may be unwittingly taking cues from the Beatles themselves: In August 1966, John Lennon made his infamous comments to American teen magazine Datebook that the band had become “more popular than Jesus.” The ensuing uproar was so great, it led their manager, Brian Epstein, to consider canceling the band’s U.S. tour. The quote would go on to become an enduring part of Beatles lore.
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