One Direction Music Videos

One Direction
Photo by Kevin Mazur / WireImage

The group One Direction was formed during a season of the U.K. music competition show "X Factor." All of the members originally competed as solo artists. They were eliminated and then given a chance to continue competing as a five-person group. After the show, One Direction soon became one of the most popular boy bands of all time.

"What Makes You Beautiful" (2011)

One Direction What Makes You Beautiful
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by John Urbano

One Direction's first music video was filmed in Malibu, California over two days in July 2011. The group teased the release of the clip for five days. Each day was devoted to a member of the band announcing how many days left until the video premiere. It earned two MTV Video Music Awards for Best Pop Video and Most Share-Worthy Video. One Direction also took home the prize for Best New Artist. "What Makes You Beautiful" was a #4 pop hit in the U.S. and a #1 pop smash at home in the U.K. The music video has amassed nearly one billion views.

"Gotta Be You" (2011)

One Direction Gotta Be You Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by John Urbano

One Direction's second official music video turns to a quieter mood. It fits the tone of the song. John Urbano filmed much of this clip in Lake Placid, New York in the Adirondack Mountains. However, it opens on the campus of the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. The band meets a group of girls, and the music video closes with fireworks and Zayn Malik kissing his video love interest. "Gotta Be You" was a #3 hit on the U.K. pop singles chart, but it did not receive any significant promotion as a single in the U.S.

"One Thing" (2012)

One Direction One Thing Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Declan Whitebloom

Director Declan Whitebloom approached shooting the "One Thing" music video as the depiction of a day in the life of the band hanging out around London. Among the video's primary influences are classic films of the Beatles and the Monkees. The music video brims with good humor and lighthearted fun. "One Thing" became One Direction's second top 40 pop hit in the U.S. and their third consecutive top 10 pop hit single at home in the U.K. One Direction performed live with "What Makes You Beautiful" on their April 7, 2012 "Saturday Night Live" appearance.

"Live While We're Young" (2012)

One Direction Live While We're Young Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Vaughan Arnell

For their fourth official music video, One Direction turned to veteran director Vaughan Arnell. He is best known for extensive work with British pop star Robbie Williams. The "Live While We're Young" clip could be described as, "One Direction go camping." It begins with the band waking up in a tent, and the rest of the music video takes place in a camp setting. Critics praised the group for charming self-awareness and their comfort with making fun of themselves.

When released, the "Live While We're Young" video broke the Vevo record for most views in a 24 hour period. It racked up 8.24 million views beating the previous record by Justin Bieber. The song peaked at #3 on pop singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Little Things" (2012)

One Direction Little Things Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Vaughan Arnell

One Direction's music video for "Little Things" was shot entirely in black and white. The subject matter is a One Direction recording session. Director Vaughan Arnell said that he wanted the music video to fit the simplicity and directness of the song. Even though the concept was simple, it took more than twelve hours to shoot the clip. One Direction performed the song over and over again while Vaughan Arnell worked to get perfect angles and shots. "Little Things" topped the pop singles chart in the U.K. and landed inside the top 40 in the U.S.

"Kiss You" (2013)

One Direction Kiss You Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Vaughan Arnell

The music video for "Kiss You" references a wide range of 60s pop culture. Among the obvious influences are Elvis Presley's film "Jailhouse Rock," 60s beach movies, and the Beach Boys. The members of One Direction appear shooting different scenes with a green screen while they dress as sailors, surfers, skiers, and jail guards. The ambitious nature of the music video garnered critical acclaim for the group. "Kiss You" hit the top 10 on the U.K. pop singles chart and was a top 20 mainstream pop radio hit for One Direction in the U.S.

"One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)" (2013)

One Direction One Way Or Another Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by One Direction

For their contribution to the charity Comic Relief, One Direction created a "homemade" music video. It includes footage of the band in Africa, and at home, in the U.K. The specific locations included Ghana, Tokyo, London, and New York City. There is even a cameo by U.K. prime minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, his residence. The frenetic clip was praised by the music press. "One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)" became One Direction's third #1 pop hit single in the U.K. and climbed to #13 in the U.S.

"Best Song Ever" (2013)

One Direction Best Song Ever Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben Winston

"Best Song Ever" is arguably One Direction's most ambitious music video. In the clip, each band member plays another character as well as himself. The plot is a discussion with music industry figures about how to market the group. Comedian James Corden wrote the concept for the music video. Ben Winston directed it over a period of two days in Miami Beach, Florida. "Best Song Ever" is edited also to include footage from the film "One Direction: This Is Us."

With "Best Song Ever," One Direction once again broke the Vevo record for the most views in 24 hours. It racked up 12.3 million views. The single debuted at #2 in the U.S. and also reached #2 on the pop singles chart in the U.K.

"Story of My Life" (2013)

Story of My Life - One Direction
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben Winston

The music video for "Story of My Life" is a poignant exercise. The clip kicks off with the members of the band creating photographs the "old-fashioned way" by developing them in a dark room. It segues to the primary part of the music video which shows each member in old family snapshots followed by recreations in current time. At one point a recreation is particularly moving when family members who are no longer alive disappear before the current image comes into focus. Among the family members included in the video are Zayn Malik's sister, Harry Styles' mother, Liam Payne's parents and sisters, Niall Horan's brother, and one set of Louis Tomlinson's grandparents. All of the family snapshots depict the One Direction members age 10 or younger.

"Story of My Life" became one of One Direction's biggest pop hits in the U.S. It debuted on the chart at #6. It also climbed to the top of the adult pop radio chart.

"Midnight Memories" (2014)

One Direction Midnight Memories Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben Winston

"Midnight Memories" is the title song from One Direction's third studio album. The music video begins with the band at a house party where they are bored until the DJ plays their song "Midnight Memories." Later, the group roams around London riding scooters with older women, and they travel down the River Thames on a stolen police boat.  The clip concludes at London's Tower Bridge. Unusually, for most of their singles, "Midnight Memories" was a more significant hit in the U.S. peaking at #12 compared with the #39 peak at home in the U.K. 

"You & I" (2014)

One Direction You and I Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben Winston

The "You & I" music video was edited to appear as if it was filmed in one long shot. It utilizes digital video technology to show the band members morphing into each other and then later moving along to "pick up" stop-motion images of themselves. While on first viewing, it seems to be one of One Direction's simplest videos, the digital technology used is sophisticated. The music video was filmed on Clevedon Pier in England.

The clip generated controversy when many observers noticed it was very similar in concept to the "Everything You Wanted" video by Australian band Clubfeet. However, the production company responsible for Clubfeet's clip declined to claim any damages. The "You & I" video earned the Best British Video award at the 2015 Brit Awards. "You & I" was a minor chart hit in both the U.S. and U.K.

"Steal My Girl" (2014)

One Direction Steal My Girl Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben and Gabe Turner

"Steal My Girl" was the lead single from One Direction's fourth studio album "Four." It was a big production featuring actor Danny DeVito. He portrays a supposedly top-level director who has put together a video shoot for the group in the desert. He assigns a different quality to each group member. Harry is love, Louis is danger, Liam is power, Zayn is mystery, and Niall is light. The music video also features a chimpanzee, Sumo wrestlers, and a marching band among others. "Steal My Girl" peaked at #3 on the U.K. pop singles chart and #13 in the U.S. 

"Night Changes" (2014)

One Direction Night Changes Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben Winston

"Night Changes" is the final One Direction music video to feature founding member Zayn Malik. He left after production to begin a solo career. The clip portrays what it might be like to go on a date with each member of the group. All of them are disastrous. An ex of Zayn's date pours water and food on Zayn prompting his date to leave. Niall and his date end up injured on a skating rink. Liam gets sick after riding a carnival ride, and Louis is put under arrest after he tries to joke with a policeman who pulls him over. Unusually, for a One Direction music video, it does not include extensive shots of everyone together as a group. "Night Changes" peaked at #7 on the U.K. pop singles chart and #31 in the U.S. 

"Drag Me Down" (2015)

One Direction Drag Me Down Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben and Gabe Turner

"Drag Me Down" was the first single from the fifth One Direction studio album "Made In the A.M." and the first by the group as a four-piece. It features the group visiting NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and dressing up as astronauts. The clip shows them going through astronaut training exercises. "Drag Me Down" was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic peaking at #1 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S. The #3 opening on the U.S. pop chart was the second-highest song debut of the year.

"Perfect" (2015)

One Direction Perfect Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Sophie Muller

Filmed in black and white, the "Perfect" music video follows the song's lyrics by depicting the group frolicking around in a hotel while on tour. Director Sophie Muller has a music video direction resume that stretches back to memorable Eurythmics videos from the 1980s. She filmed "Perfect" at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan. The song was a second consecutive top 10 hit for One Direction in the U.S. and it peaked at #2 in the U.K. 

"History" (2015)

One Direction History Music Video
Courtesy Columbia

Directed by Ben Winston

"History" is the final One Direction music video before the group's official hiatus. It includes a wide range of video clips and images of the band throughout its five-year existence beginning with the group's original formation on the "X Factor" TV show. Former member Zayn Malik appears in much of the footage. At the end of the clip, the group members walk off the screen in different directions. The original concept for the video had the band members running back together at the end of the video, but that idea was scrapped. "History" was a final top 10 hit in the U.K. for the group but failed to reach the top 40 in the U.S.