Now that the members of One Direction have (seemingly indefinitely) gone their separate ways, it’s all too easy to be nostalgic for their time as a band. Five years of memories amounts to a lot of iconic moments, but here we have assembled the ten best times to be a One Direction fan!
One Direction's X-Factor Video Diaries
These are the OG memories of any old school One Direction fan: the video diaries. During their time on The X-Factor which helped launch the band’s career, the five boy band members sat down before a camera and spoke to their fans. In retrospect, these videos are hilarious at the same time that they will make you cry. The source of countless old fandom jokes (such as the cringe worthy “I like girls who eat carrots”), the diaries served as a connection between the band and the small group of fans voting them through The X-Factor. These videos were also the source of the ever nostalgic quote “from the bottom of the stairs to the top of the world” as the five boys progressed from filming videos on the stairs of the X-Factor house to being an award-winning, world famous band. For a trip down memory lane, they will always be the go-to.
The last show of the "Up All Night" Tour
One Direction’s first album was titled Up All Night, which they toured in Europe, North America, and a select few shows in Asia. The last show was in Orlando, Florida and boy was it iconic. Throughout this tour, some band members had launched live streams following the shows, talking about the songs, replying to fan questions, and generally sitting down with the fanbase to have a chat. Due to all this attention, the connection between the band and their fans was incredibly strong, and watching this chapter of their lives close was an emotional night. The boys switched their stage outfits (as seen below), there was silly string, and so many lyric changes you probably forgot half of them! What a night!
One Direction's "Best Song Ever" music video breaking the Vevo record
To many people, “Best Song Ever” was the moment people realized One Direction was big. Not “people know this band” big or “they’ve had a radio hit” big but “the fandom is big enough and dedicated enough that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to” big. When the six minute music video dropped, people were skeptical that such a long music video would be able to break the Vevo record for the music video with the most views in the first 24 hours after being released. If you were in the fandom at the time, you’ll remember making YouTube playlists to cycle through the music video for you, knowing to refresh after the first 30 seconds (and no earlier!) to count as a view. You can watch the music video below if you want to give it a few more views for old time's sake!
The release of the One Direction documentary,This Is Us
This Is Us was perhaps the peak of being in the One Direction fandom. This was one of the moments when the world outside the fandom got to see what One Direction was about; not just a boyband, but music artists. The movie was incredibly anticipated for the fans, and it was a must to hashtag posts about it on social media so that fans in countries with later release dates would not see spoilers. The lucky fans who went to the private screenings early in the U.S. released one bit of information: the scene in which the band performed “Teenage Dirtbag” was to die for. On the day of the red carpet, you’d be lying if you didn’t say you tuned in to watch the arrival of the band members. They walked the carpet with their families, signed countless autographs, and took even more pictures. There was also a big rumor that Zayn and his then girlfriend, Perrie Edwards, were engaged. She walked the carpet with her own bandmates in Little Mix and bore a large diamond ring. It’s not a One Direction event without drama! Below are some of my favorite moments from the red carpet in London!
The leak of Midnight Memories
Just nine days before the third album was scheduled for release, it leaked! Although an artist’s worst nightmare, the marvelous thing about the One Direction fandom is that despite leaking, album sales are always off the charts. Perhaps it is because only dedicated fans who run fan blogs become aware of the leak and these are also the fans who have already preordered the album and are planning on buying a physical copy. It’s a testament to how much the fans love the music and Midnight Memories was no exception. When the album leaked, the fandom was at it’s most intense. I distinctly remember staying up too late, ruining my next school day with lack of sleep, and crying in front of my computer. These Tumblr posts sum up most of the feelings that Sunday night:
“You & I” ended lives with Zayn’s high note (you can’t forget the first time you heard it). “Through the Dark” introduced a new folk vibe to their music. Everyone wanted to know who “Diana” was about. “Little White Lies” had a base drop. “Why Don’t We Go There” had the best solo of Niall’s. Overall, the songs were something new for One Direction and staying up late to memorize all the lyrics ASAP caused a lot of unbridled emotion. Niall voiced annoyance over the leak on Twitter, but still assured fans they were the best ones in the world!
Who could forget the eight hour livestream One Direction hosted just days before Midnight Memories released? Perhaps the funniest part (despite stacking toilet paper, eating bugs, and tandem bicycling on stage) was witnessing the five band members pretend their album had not leaked.
Despite full well knowing the majority of the fandom already knew the lyrics to every song, they kept up the charade. On stage was a “listening booth” for fans watching in the studio to listen to the album for the “very first time” (this they stressed adamantly each time they referenced the booth). Other iconic moments of 1D Day? The video of the boys backstage tour antics set to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me”, Harry nearly cracking his head open leaping onto Paul’s shoulder, “Harry Pottery”, and Liam participating in a wrestling match. What a strange but wonderful day!
Harry missing One Direction winning the Global Success award at the 2014 Brits
It’s a moment that lives in infamy; Harry missed taking the stage at the 2014 Brit Awards because he was in the bathroom. The band won the award for Global Success! The moment was iconic as Louis panicked, Liam took charge, and Harry remained MIA until they made it to the microphone and began their acceptance speech. When Harry finally appeared, running from the back of the O2 Arena, he said the ever iconic line “I’m really sorry, I was having a wee.” Then, he didn’t even know what award they had won. Bless him. The fallout of jokes within the fandom from this moment was epic!
Watching snippets of the first show of "Where We Are" Tour via Vine
On tours past, fans at the first show had managed to rig a live stream to the rest of the fandom, or live Tweet their experience. With the birth of Vine in 2014, the first show of Where We Are Tour was presented to the rest of the fandom in the form of six second clips. And boy was it a good time. The desperate nature of watching bits and pieces of the show through Vine did not escape the fans, but we persisted anyways. Many thanks to the Columbian fan who posted all the Vines! Lost to history with the app's end, the original videos are near impossible to find but the memories of this silly experience live on.
One Direction on The Late Late Show's Carpool Karaoke
Perhaps the best known segment of James Cordon’s The Late Late Show is Carpool Karaoke. The first time he ever utilized his backseat was to drive One Direction around L.A. for an interview. Between their stop at McDonald’s, performing choreography with James (see above), and singing along to their own singles (RIP Liam’s ears, see below), the ride was quality entertainment. The fandom knew in advance that the segment had been filmed (the McDonald’s employee of course took to the internet immediately following the car’s appearance in the drive through) and the Carpool Karaoke airing became highly anticipated. Rumors and speculation circulated for several days of which songs they would cover. In the end, the only disappointing thing about the video was that the McDonald’s footage was cut!
The Project No Control Thunderclap
As a fandom, One Direction fans agree overall on few things. However, one widely accepted truth is that One Direction and their management were...not great at picking singles. When Four released, “No Control” was a fan favorite which many believed would have made a better single than “Steal My Girl”. This belief was so strong that, along with the fandom’s undying love for Louis and his voice, it birthed Project No Control. This was a fan run single release, meaning the fans promoted the song as a single to the best of their abilities. Fans who had not purchased the song on iTunes all did so in one day in order to push it into the charts and people endlessly streamed it on Spotify. Others called radio stations to request the song. This was so insistent that one radio host in New Zealand (Cam Mansel) fell in love with the song and played “No Control” seven times back-to-back and nothing but One Direction songs for around three hours of airtime. “I might get fired for this but I don’t care,” he said, “I’m giving the people what they want, and they want One Direction.” The fans’ efforts did not go unnoticed, especially by Louis who wrote and sings the bridge of the song:
This is soooo incredible guys ! Another example of how good you are to us !! https://t.co/63w6sjMBNo— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) May 12, 2015
If you want to reminisce, here's a fan compilation of the experience!