Happy 10-year anniversary, One Direction!
One Direction is one of the defining pop groups of the first half of the 2010s — partially because the U.K. boy band was also one of the most prolific pop artists of that time period, releasing five full-length albums in five years.
Over the course of their time together, 1D exploded in popularity and reached stadium status, bringing a slew of colorful hit singles to the masses and conjuring unholy screams from thousands of teenage girls. Zayn, Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis released singles as diverse as “Little Things,” “Midnight Memories” and “One Thing,” eventually becoming a mainstay on the U.S. singles chart.
In honor of their 10-year anniversary today (July 23), check out the 10 biggest One Direction songs, including each song’s Hot 100 peak position and debut date.
10. One Direction – “Little Things”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 33
Debut Date: Jan. 12, 2013
One Direction’s only straight-up ballad to appear on this list, “Little Things” draws its hushed imagery from co-writer Ed Sheeran, who helped the boy band display its sensitive side following playful hits like “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Live While We’re Young.”
9. One Direction – “One Thing”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 39
Debut Date: July 7, 2012
It’s no easy task following up a breakthrough hit like “What Makes You Beautiful,” but this bouncy One Direction song performed admirably as the second single from Up All Night, entering the Top 40 of the Hot 100 and confirming that One Direction was no one-hit wonder.
8. One Direction – “Steal My Girl”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 13
Debut Date: Oct. 18, 2014
The lead single from Four continued to inject some lighters-up arena rock into the upper reaches of the Hot 100, debuting at No. 13.
7. One Direction – “Night Changes”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 31
Debut Date: Dec. 13, 2014
The second and final single from 1D’s fourth studio album Four, the sweet (and bittersweet) “Night Changes” is the group’s last single to feature Zayn Malik, who left the group in March 2015.
6. One Direction – “Live While We’re Young”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 3
Debut Date: Oct. 20, 2012
One Direction mania had officially invaded the United States by the time “Live While We’re Young” was released as the lead single from second album Take Me Home, and the carefree anthem immediately shot into the Hot 100’s Top 5 upon its release.
5. One Direction – “Perfect”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 10
Debut Date: Nov. 7, 2015
The aptly-named “Perfect,” from 1D’s fifth studio album Made in the A.M., still slaps five years later.
4. One Direction – “Best Song Ever”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 2
Debut Date: Aug. 10, 2013
A No. 1 single on the Hot 100 chart still eludes the One Direction boys, but “Best Song Ever” got darn close when it debuted in the runner-up spot in summer 2013. The “Baba O’Riley”-riffing intro is a great touch, but the entire second verse — better known as dentist dad versus dirty mouth — has to be the highlight on this one.
3. One Direction – “Drag Me Down”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 3
Debut Date: Aug. 22, 2015
Perhaps the group’s strongest single following Zayn Malik’s departure, “Drag Me Down” is an utterly catchy pop rock masterpiece. “The best news for One Direction fans is that the quartet does not sound incomplete: the group compensates for Malik’s absence by giving each member ample time to shine, and the harmonies admirably resonate on the call-and-response portions of the pre-chorus,” Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz wrote at the time.
2. One Direction – “Story of My Life”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 6
Debut Date: Nov. 16, 2013
Although it’s slower than “Best Song Ever” and took a longer time to get going on the Hot 100, the folk-tinged “Story of My Life” eventually became the bigger hit and one of the group’s signature hits thanks to its longer life-span on the chart.
1. One Direction – “What Makes You Beautiful”
Hot 100 Peak Position: No. 4
Debut Date: Apr. 21, 2012
For many Americans, “What Makes You Beautiful” was their introduction to the zippy British harmonies of One Direction — and with its immaculate pop melodies and charming lyrics, what an introduction it was. “What Makes You Beautiful” triggered a quarter-decade of pop culture domination for the five-piece.
This chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 through the chart dated July 25, 2020. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates over various periods.