BeatleMania vs 1Devotion: How Similar is the Hysteria?

9 June 2014

By Annie

Having recently watched the intimate insight into the One Direction boys’ lives in the form of their film 1D: This Is Us, I became captivated by the speed and strength of the spread of “1D Mania”. Whilst witnessing the hordes of girls gathering in their masses outside the X Factor home, where it all began for the boys, before they had even released a single, similarities to The Beatles’ fan base became more apparent. As a huge Beatles fan, I came close to arguing that the Fab Four were all equally talented musicians and wrote their own profound lyrics throughout their amazing career. However, I was soon convinced that, whilst the quality of 1D’s music may not be as insightful as the former’s, their energetic performances could still ignite the same hysteria in young adults. One reporter even commented that after One Direction’s third album, Midnight Memories, went to Number One in the US Billboard Chart, they became the first group ever to top the charts with their first three albums. 1D’s hit single ‘One Way or Another’ was Number One in one third of the world’s countries. To compare, The Beatles hold the record for the ‘Most Hot 100 Number Ones’ in the US Billboard Chart of all time. They are also guilty of having the most consecutive Number Ones in the UK Chart, accomplishing 11 between 1933 and 1936.

The question that remains is that, whereas The Beatles’ global success was years ahead of its time and amazing, do One Direction’s conquests equal, or even rival, that of the Fab Four?

The speed in which One Direction rose to global domination is remarkable; assisted by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the group had an enormous group of followers based on the lively, fun-loving personas they portrayed on ITV talent show The X Factor. Children, teenagers and young adults all over the country were enchanted by their handsome features and found they could relate to their dedication to achieving their dreams and their passion for music. Twitter accounts sprang in their hundreds which were entirely devoted to securing recognition from the boys in the form of follows or retweets.  These accounts, complete with links to YouTube videos of 1D on stage, ignited the same hysteria with American teens, securing the infatuation halfway around the globe.

The rapid acceleration of both bands’ careers in America is a similar trait within both bands. The Beatles also began with appearances on BBC television and radio, capturing the hearts of teens everywhere with their laidback and jokey attitude. Through media they were able to convey their passion for classic American rock and roll, which caught the attention of broadcasters in America. Shortly afterwards, The Beatles made several appearances on popular TV shows in the USA, including The Ed Sullivan Show, kickstarting Beatlemania countrywide.

The nature of both bands’ support is extremely similar; masses of screaming girls meeting the bands at the airport during their tours, playing to sell-out football stadia and being hounded by paparazzi desperate for a scandal. They are also remarkably alike in that both groups starred in their own hugely successful films – with 1D: This Is Us (2013) comparatively an access-all-areas backstage pass as opposed to A Hard Day’s Night (1964) which added a new dimension to the Beatles’ phenomenon. This Is Us made a staggering $18,472,875 at its opening weekend, whereas A Hard Day’s Night made $50,445 at its first showing. Despite the clearly puny figure, in the 1960s, this was seen as a ginormous success.

In my personal opinion, I prefer the unique quality of The Beatles. Whereas their success may not have been as meteoric as that of One Direction, it cannot be denied that they influenced music for hundreds of years into the future, revolutionising rock and roll and inspiring musicians to take risks with their sound. Their records ‘Revolution’ and ‘In My Life’ stand out to me, profoundly written and beautiful, with messages to release from the control of society and to embrace life and cherish the ones you love. Whilst One Direction’s music tends to follow the pattern of superficial attraction to a female which appeals to their audience of younger girls and boys – which I appreciate as much as the next person! – I am drawn to the poetic lyrics of ‘Something’, ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ and would encourage others to experience the lesser known music of the Fab Four.



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