Written by Amy Dickinson
No band or singer even came as close to becoming as influential as The Beatles, until a group of 16-year-old boys met on a British reality TV show.
As we reflect on One Direction’s almighty career, there is one moment cemented clearly in our minds. The one and only San Siro Fan project.
As the lights slowly dimmed and the notes of “Right Now” delicately began to play, a rainbow of coloured banners filled the arena, held up proudly by the adoring fans. “We Are 1D family” it spelled out, causing the boys to smile brightly and point around in amazement.
If that doesn’t highlight the true impact of One Direction, then what will? One Direction are the Music Industry.
Since becoming a band on July 23rd, 2010, the band certainly dropped many monumental and phenomenal singles.
They set the bar high with their first single “What Makes You Beautiful”, which skyrocketed to number one on the UK Singles Chart and they even broke America with it – hitting Number 4 on Billboard’s Top 100.
This was an unprecedented success for a British band. This one single defined the whole of 2011 and kickstarted the unrivalled success of One Direction. We were all living for it.
The soft pop of One Direction’s first few albums “Up All Night” (2011) and “Take Me Home” (2012) was seamlessly merged with rock tones showcased in their third album “Midnight Memories” (2013). They continued this characteristic style into their final two albums “Four” (2014) and “Made In The AM” (2015).
The best performing music video “Best Song Ever” (we love the modesty boys), not only highlighted their breath-taking vocals but revealed their dazzling acting and dancing abilities.
This went down a treat with fans, smashing Vevo’s world record for the most views in 24 hours, with 12.3 million views, becoming their biggest hit to date.
Their success was astonishing, inconceivable, and truly mind blowing.
Now, in their time, One Direction have certainly been at the centre of many scandals and if you spent half the time scrolling through Twitter as I did, I’m sure you’re aware of all of them.
All bands have rivals, but after some angry tweets were sent in April 2013, One Direction declared war against The Wanted. That was certainly a cultural reset, but I think we can all agree that our 1D boys won, after all they did sell out Madison Square Garden in just under 10 minutes.
Let’s just say the boys were not seen as role models, after the infamous ‘smoking a joint’ video in May 2014 landed Zayn and Louis in hot water. Despite their management not being best pleased, this didn’t actually hinder their success.
One Direction were not only successful in the charts, they proved they were also adept influencers. After all, they did get their fans to wear orange when touring in Amsterdam.
On a more serious note however, after visiting children in Africa and wholeheartedly composing together the “One Way or Another” music video, they successfully raised €2 million for Comic Relief.
Likewise, fan favourite Harry Styles has influenced fashion around the globe, from styling flare pants to gleaming suits and more recently, flowy dresses. This man singlehandedly defeated gender stereotypes and toxic masculinity and we are most definitely living for it.
Nowadays I think it’s fair to say that fans’ outfits for any of Styles’ concerts rival the Met Gala.
The vast world of social media elevated the boys’ success globally. It blossomed friendships and created an army of adoring fans who identify as “Directioners”.
The boys’ X Factor video diaries showcased their charming personalities. To fans, they were normal people and not global sensations.
However, I must mention that it was not only social media that propelled the boys into fame and glory but also their work ethic. From being just teenagers, One Direction worked tirelessly crafting albums and performing tours year after year for 5 years straight.
Everyone thought that The Beatles would go down in history as being the greatest boyband ever. To be fair, there have been many contenders -Queen, The Backstreet Boys and Take That (who charted better), but One Direction knocked all of them off that pedestal.
Both bands created a strong fan identity. Both were undeniably talented. Both set the bar high for boybands globally.
While the competition was intensely close, One Direction stole the top spot achieving 5 top ten debut tracks on the hot 100 compared to the Beatles 4. Not only have One Direction achieved revolutionary music success, but they have also proved time and time again to be remarkably influential.
Like me, I think you too have got your fingers crossed for a reunion. Their reign of leading the music industry is not yet over. There’s “a whole lot of history” still to be made.
Featured Image Credit: Getty Images