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Paul McCartney once said he didn’t like to hear fans say One Direction was the new Beatles. Despite this, he said Harry Styles and the other members of One Direction were successful for one of the same reasons The Beatles were successful. Paul also revealed what he thought of One Direction’s songs.

The Beatles' Paul McCartney with a guitar
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney | PA Images via Getty Images

Why Paul McCartney didn’t want to call One Direction ‘the new Beatles’

The Beatles and One Direction were compared numerous times over the years. Both the Fab Four and One Direction were British bands who started out making uptempo love songs and had young fans. During a 2013 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Paul said he didn’t like fans comparing other bands to The Beatles.

“I always think it’s a little bit unfortunate when you call [a band] ‘the new Beatles,'” the former Beatle opined. “It can be the kiss of death because people expect you to live up to what we did.”

Paul noted how much the world changed between the 1960s and the 2010s. “We did what we did in a particular period in time which was very different to now, obviously,” he said. “I don’t know whether it was different to be a wild success but it was different.”

Paul McCartney said Harry Styles and the other members of One Direction were successful partly because they were ‘beautiful’

While Paul didn’t want to compare The Beatles to One Direction, he revealed his opinion of the latter. “But I think these bands are great,” he said. “I like One Direction.”

Paul had a theory as to why the members of One Direction were successful. “I think they’re young, beautiful boys and that’s the big attraction,” he added. “But they can sing, they make good records, you know.”

Paul noticed a commonality between The Beatles and One Direction. “So I think that’s what would see in common was that, y’know, girls love ’em and you can fantasize that you’re gonna marry ’em or whatever,” he said. Paul smiled when he said “whatever.”


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The way listeners in the United States reacted to The Beatles’ songs and One Direction’s songs

While Paul saw a similarity between his band and Styles’, one was far more popular. The Beatles released 20 singles that topped the Billboard Hot 100. Those songs were “Hey Jude,” “Come Together”/ “Something,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” “Let It Be,” “Love Me Do,” “Help!,” “A Hard Days’ Night,” “We Can Work It Out,” “Get Back,” “All You Need Is Love,” “Yesterday,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Hello Goodbye,” “I Feel Fine,” “The Long and Winding Road”/”For You Blue,” “Penny Lane,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Paperback Writer,” and “Eight Days a Week.”

On the other hand, none of One Direction’s singles topped the Billboard Hot 100. The band’s highest-charting single in the United States is “Best Song Ever.” It hit No. 2.

Paul praised One Direction even if he didn’t like calling them “the new Beatles.”