Ten things about One Direction: A primer for adults
Their names are Liam, Harry, Zayn, Niall and Louis, and combined they make One Direction. They are, like the Osmonds, Sylvers, Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block, 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys and NKOTBSB before them, a boy band. After conquering England in 2011, the quintet set a record this week by entering the American sales charts at No. 1, the first British group to ever do this on its debut record. Step aside, Beatles.
Your daughter, granddaughter and niece have already rolled their eyes at you at the dinner table for not being able to tell Liam from Harry, for not knowing which has brown hair or who the blond kid is.
Face it: You're going to need to know something about One Direction, the latest iteration of a pop form born with the Beatles and since watered down through a combination of cynical marketing, adulthood and the criminal conviction of Lou Pearlman (former 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys manager who was sued repeatedly by band members and whose money management -- eventually landing him in prison -- contributed to the dissolution of those bands). As an aid in combating the ever-increasing generation gap between you and your child, what follows are a few essential facts about One Direction.
1. One Direction is not One Republic. Do not get them confused. One Direction is young, cute and British, and its hit song is called "What Makes You Beautiful." One Republic is older, less cute and Coloradan.
2. In texting shorthand, the group is known simply as 1D.
4. Niall and Liam are Virgos, Zayn and Louis are Capricorns, and Harry is an Aquarius. They range in age from 18 to 20, and in height from 5' 7" to 5' 10."
5. Their debut album is called "Up All Night." The deluxe version of the album has 18 songs on it. All of them are AMAZING.
6. Simon Cowell is directly responsible for One Direction. Each member of the group was a contestant on the British version of "X Factor," and Cowell and company packaged the five together in 2010. Which means that Cowell gets a cut of every dollar that One Direction earns. Responsible adults should keep this in mind when deciding how to procure a copy of "Up All Night": The more Cowell earns, the longer his reign of musical terror continues.
7. 1D is performing at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles on June 16 and at the Theatre at the Honda Center on June 17. If you have not already procured tickets, they are still available. If the tween girl in your life finds out you possessed this information and still haven't gone online, she will never forgive you, and her rebellious teenage years will be your fault.
8. All members of the group are active on Twitter, and you can keep track of their daily musings along with your daughter; following them will provide you with plenty of ideas for displaying One Direction's collectible cards.
9. 1D has already announced its spring 2013 European tour, which probably means that the group will be in the States a few more times this year. Use this information as leverage in any negotiations, as a threat in any curfew discussions, as a carrot to ensure good grades.
10. Harry, Liam and Louis have brown hair. Niall is the blond. Zayn has thick black hair. None of them will ever go bald.
Bonus: The name of the band is One Direction. It is not One Dimension. Chances are you will make this mistake a few times. It's hard not to.
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: One Direction band members (from left): Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik attend a CD signing at J&R Music World in New York. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press.