The rise and fall of one direction. Lafictioner
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The Rise and Fall of One Direction.

One Direction, formed in London, England, is a five-member boy band of Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson. Syco Records signed them after they finished third in The X Factor’s singing competition in 2010. When they started, they were teen idols and managed to gain global fandom. 

Albums of One Direction

  1. Up All Night (2011)
  2. Take Me Home (2012)
  3. Midnight Memories (2013)
  4. Four (2014)
  5. Made in the A.M. (2015)

They topped the charts in several countries. Their hit singles are Best Song Ever, Live While We’re Young, What Makes You Beautiful, Story of My Life, and Drag Me Down. One Direction is the first band to have their first four albums debut at no.1 in Billboard 200 history.

One Direction around the world – The Rise

2013 – 2nd highest-earning celebrity under 30 – Forbes; World’s best-selling artist; 

Global Recording Artist of the Year – IFPI 

2014 – Where We Are Tour – Highest-grossing concert tour; highest-grossing tour by a vocal group in history; 15th highest-grossing concert tour of all time, grossing $290.2 million.

2015 – 4th highest-earning celebrities in the world – Forbes

2016 – 2nd highest-earning celebrities in the world – Forbes

2020 – 70 million records sold worldwide

One Direction performed four world tours, broke many records, and set new records for themselves, making them one of the best-selling boy bands. 

One Direction – Awards & Fandom

Total awards – 200 approximately.

  1. Brit Awards – 7
  2. MTV Video Music Awards – 4
  3. Billboard Music Awards – 6
  4. American Music Awards – 7
  5. Teen Choice Awards – 28

One Direction was one of the first groups to actively interact with their fans and gain global recognition through social media. Twitter played a part in One Direction’s fame of success in Europe. From Europe to America, they soon became an international success. One Direction was named the first megastar boyband of the social media Era by The Detroit News.

The beginning of the fall of One Direction

While Up All Night sold 2,095,000 copies, their 2nd album, Take Me Home, sold 2,043,000 copies only. However, the slight drop could be because of overexposure. It is difficult for any artist to gain good album sales over one calendar year. 

Midnight Memories, their third album, sold only 1,552,000 copies, a significant drop in album sales, considering they were still top-selling artists. As the album had genres like soft rock and folk, their fans weren’t too interested in the genre.

The band’s fourth album continued to see a significant drop in its sales as it sold only 1,064,000 copies. People began to feel outgrown by the group, and the album lacked hit singles. 

The Fall

One Direction released a statement on 25th March 2015 that Zayn Malik would be leaving the group. Zayn has claimed that ‘He never wanted to be a part of the group and wanted to leave in the first year itself.’

The On the Road Again tour ended on 31st October 2015, grossing only $208 million, seeing a significant drop in the tour sales. 

The then four-member boy band released a new single, Drag me Down, and a new album, Made in the A.M., in 2015. It was the first album without Zayn Malik and the fifth and the last album by the boy band. After this album, they broke the Beatles’ record for the top ten hot 100 debuts among bands. With the boy band selling fewer and fewer copies with new albums made in the A.M. sold only 853,000 copies. 

The four-member boy band’s last performance as One Direction was on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on 31st December 2015. After that, One Direction announced that they would be on hiatus in 2016 to focus on their solo music careers. By May 2017, all boy band members have launched their solo music careers. 

Controversies after the split of One Direction

Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik had a public spat on Twitter. Louis wrote, “How does it feel to be riding on the back of someone else’s career?”. Zayn responded by tweeting, “remember when you had a life and stopped making bi**hy comments about mine?”

Despite having a couple of calls with Louis Tomlinson after Louis’s mom died and agreeing to come to Louis’s performance, Zayn Malik did not show up to “The X factor.” Louis has stated that it bugged him. Zayn, in a tweet, later apologized for being a s**t person and soon deleted the tweet. 

Zayn Malik shaded One Direction’s music when he signed a solo contract with RCA Records with the hashtag “real music.” He also stated that he suffered from an eating disorder and wasn’t in his best state because of overworking schedules.

Zayn Malik has also stated chatting with British Vogue that he couldn’t enjoy the experience of performing the songs. And that the fast progression of the group has affected him as he was still 17, 18 at that time. 

In an interview with Men’s Health Australia, Liam Payne said he wasn’t always happy performing at concerts. Certain parts were a little toxic. Payne also told the Evening Standard that it “nearly killed him” to be in this environment for so many years. He also admitted that going on a hiatus relieved him.

Liam Payne has also admitted that they were angry and disappointed that Zayn Malik left on “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” And in a later interview with GQ, Liam said that Zayn left without a goodbye, which he felt was strange.

Niall Horan confessed that Zayn ghosted him and that he never really spoke to the boy band members after he left. Niall Horan admitted that if they did not sit down, talk, and decide to go on a hiatus, they would have killed each other. 

Harry Styles also admitted that he didn’t know how much Zayn was struggling, and they were sad when Zayn left the group. 

Not only this, the members have thrown shade at One Direction’s and each other’s solo music in a few instants. Zayn also said that there was never room for him to experiment creatively in the band.

Liam Payne has recently stated in the podcast IMPAULSIVE, wondering about the escape button from rising fame. Liam also said that the formation of One Direction was due to Simon’s promise to him and that he was the honorary member of the band. 

Also, Louis was pretty wild, and Liam did not like being around rowdy boys, which led to both hating each other. 

He also said that he and Zayn had a different upbringing and that he noticed that Zayn went through some things and couldn’t sit and judge him for a few things. Liam went on to say that he can’t be on the side of Zayn for some of the things Zayn did and that he understands and hopes that Zayn would like to receive the help Liam’s willing to give. 

It did not sit well with fans. It got misinterpreted because of the tabloids surrounding this conversation, and soon Liam received heavy online backlash.

Liam also spoke about his first solo song, ‘Strip that down.’ He said that it received a billion streams and outsold everybody within the band. He was surprised as he was the last guy to leave the band. 

Even though a few tabloids and fans stated that he did not outsell the rest of the boy band members with that song, Billboard’s chart says he wasn’t lying. The song reached no.1 on 4th November 2017, marking Payne as the first solo artist from an all-male vocal group to top the Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart. He eclipsed his fellow members, who also had top tens on the same chart. 

Constant public scrutiny and never-ending schedules made the boy band members live and work in a toxic environment. There were also claims of drug and alcohol usage among the young members. Even fans seem to forget that the members were too young to handle everything they went through maturely.

Will One Direction reunite and rise again?

Zayn Malik has said, “If I wanted to come back in 10, 15 years, then yeah, why not?” and stated that it depends on time. On The One Show, Louis Tomlinson said that a reunion is likely to happen and that they’d be stupid not to. 

Niall Horan told Billboard that he felt he was still in the band and revealed to The Telegraph that a reunion was possible if asked. Harry Styles told Rolling Stone that the reunion could work if everyone wanted. Liam Payne has also hinted a few times that he looks forward to a reunion.

Not to forget that when One Direction started, Niall, Liam, and Zayn were 16, Harry was 15, and Louis was 18 years old. If a reunion were to happen one day, we hope that it is in the best interest of the members’ physical and mental health. 

Despite the maybe or may not be of the reunion talk, it is difficult to predict the success of One Direction’s music if they ever release a new album or even a single tonight. So, for now, the reunion and rise of the boy band are questionable.