How The One Direction Hiatus Compares To The Beatles Split: Why Styles, Tomlinson, Horan, And Payne Need Time

One Direction has been compared to the Beatles, though Harry Styles has often conceded that the Beatles music was far more developed. Harry does like being compared to Paul McCartney, and he struggles to live up to that expectation. Styles has also cultivated a friendship with Ringo Starr.

Beatles experts who also appreciate One Direction could break it down further, saying Zayn Malik is more like John Lennon, Niall Horan is similar to Ringo, and perhaps Louis Tomlinson is a bit like George Harrison, but who really knows. It could also be speculated that if the Beatles had a version of Liam Payne, they too may have had a hiatus rather than a breakup.

One Direction and the Beatles both faced similar pressures on the road and in the studio to produce and keep on producing quality music year after year. The circumstances they lived under were also similar, from the adoring fans clamoring to see them to the long rides to distant places. These two bands experienced life in much the same way, just at different times. In both cases, tight schedules and long journeys ruled over everything else in their lives.

One Direction fans are becoming increasingly impatient with the hiatus. They are fretting that their favorite band may not be getting back together, at least not anytime soon. Despite assurances that the band is just taking a break, both fans and press have hashed and rehashed the possibility that One Direction is done. Still, the original statement was clear, when a source told E! News about the hiatus in August of 2015.

“They are taking a hiatus so they can work on individual projects for a while but they are not splitting up. They will remain together and plan to work together in the future. They are great friends and fully support one another. They are very aware that they are able to work on their own stuff as well as remain together. This is an exciting time for them creatively and as a group.”

The Beatles had a similar situation in 1966, and yes, they broke up, at about the same time in the band’s life cycle as when One Direction decided to take a break. Why? There has been a lot of conjecture over the years, but Paul McCartney recently explained it this way to Rolling Stone.

“We’d had enough of playing rain-soaked stages with lousy PA’s.”

It was actually the road that broke up the Beatles, according to Paul McCartney. The exhaustion, the rain, the long trips, being away from home, and the pressure to perform nearly every night all take their toll on musicians. It is hard for someone who hasn’t been there to relate to how difficult it can be.

Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon by Fox Photos
Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon [Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images]

One Direction can probably relate. Nowadays, big bands hold most of their concerts indoors, but the principle is the same. There have been many songs written by so many different bands about life on the road, and while Willy Nelson “can’t wait to get on the road again,” a lot of other songs about being on the road don’t express those kinds of feelings at all. Bob Seger perhaps said it best in his tear-jerking ballad, “Turn The Page.” Who can read or listen to these lyrics without weeping for their favorite musicians?

“Out there in the spotlight
You’re a million miles away
Every ounce of energy
You try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body
Like the music that you play.”

For the Beatles, it was the last tour that really finished them off. They were simply exhausted from the hard schedule of putting out album after album and doing tour after tour on a schedule very comparable to what our 1D boys have to put up with.

One Direction has earned a break, not just for a few months, but a long break, away from each other and those specific pressures of being on the road together. They deserve to be given a chance to do some creative work with their music as well to keep that sound from becoming stale. They need time to develop their art and just live their lives for a time. A hiatus is far better than a breakup, and it will accomplish the same goals if it is allowed to continue.

Paul McCartney of the Beatles explained how he felt about dealing with meetings after his group broke up. It was so sad, as he just could not stand to be around them at all.

“I see Ringo a lot [now] because he’s a lovely boy… As for meetings, I’m a bit detached from it. I went off Apple during the heavy breakup period – I sent John Eastman in and said, ‘You tell me what everyone is saying, because I can’t bear to be sitting at that table.’ It was too painful, like seeing the death of your favorite pet.”

The Beatles breakup was painful. It cost the guys a lot, monetarily as well as in terms of personal feelings. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were childhood best friends.

Unlike One Direction, who just met each other half a decade ago, these guys were lifelong best buddies who had a major disagreement that probably started because they were exhausted and grouchy from traveling around too much. It is far better to take a break when tired than to keep on pushing until you either fall out with each other or just fall over and collapse.

One Direction, like the Beatles 40 years ago, is tired of the road, so give Styles, Tomlinson, Horan, and Payne the time they need apart.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]