1D Turns 10: Our Favorite One Direction Music Videos!


With One Direction celebrating its 10th birthday today, the Directioners on our staff wanted to take a trip down memory lane and talk about some of our favorite 1D music videos! This list is by no means exhaustive – in fact, it was so hard to choose our 10 picks that the last one was chosen for us by an online generator. But we hope watching some of these great videos will help you celebrate 10 years of One Direction and remember all the amazing times we’ve had so far with the band. So without further ado (and in no particular order) here are our top 10 One Direction music videos!

“What Makes You Beautiful” (Up All Night)

It’s the one that started it all. “What Makes You Beautiful” was released in August of 2011 and immediately became a sensation. This is the video and song that is most closely associated with 1D and is also their most viewed, with 1.16 billion views on YouTube as of July 2020. The single and video launched One Direction and established their post-X Factor identity as a group, and the fun, California vibe of the video made it an instant summer classic. “What Makes You Beautiful” is, in my opinion, one of the best pop songs ever, and the video is a great example of the band’s strengths. -Jules

“One Thing” (Up All Night)

This was the video that first made me fall in love with One Direction. It showcases all the boys’ personalities so well, with my favorite moments being when the other boys are messing around in the background while the main singer for each verse earnestly sings to the camera. The shots of London and the red double-decker bus are memorable, as is the “complementing but not matching” wardrobe that defined the Up All Night era. It’s a true throwback to the early days of 1D (released in January 2012, just before the band broke America). -Jules

“Midnight Memories” (Midnight Memories)

If I had to describe “Midnight Memories” in only two words those two would be “quiff city.” The video was part of the third single off of their third studio album, Midnight Memories. In the video, the guys attend a house party in London that they find themselves uninterested in which prompts them to head to a diner, steal a police boat, and party with grandmas on scooters. All in all, they proved you never know where you’ll end up by the end of the night. -Haley

“Kiss You” (Take Me Home)

The “Kiss You” music video encompasses the chaotic energy of the band in a nutshell. The video itself pays homage to music legends and their hits including the Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl” and Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” among many others. The video is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a music video. Between their synchronized dance moves, ski outfits, and the green screen effects, it creates a glorious unified video that goes perfectly with the song. -Haley

“Live While We’re Young” (Take Me Home)

“Live While We’re Young” was the first single off of the Take Me Home album, for good reason. The video showcases exactly why it is the perfect euphoric summer song (also nostalgic due to the state of the current world). The guys throw each other in a lake, play soccer, and show us why their chemistry works so well together. The video was also the birth of the rowing dance and teal shorts. What more could you ask for in a video? -Haley

“History” (Made in the A.M.)

There is no way to watch this video without crying. “History” is 1D’s final video before their hiatus and is dedicated to their fans. It features shots of the group from their beginnings on X Factor to their last tour alongside footage of their fans over the years. It’s a nostalgic thank you note and love letter to the Directioners and to each other, and while no one wanted to see the magical five year run end, “History” is one amazing parting gift. Here’s hoping the song’s lyrics “this is not the end” really come true. –Jules

“Best Song Ever” (Midnight Memories)

Do you need a laugh after re-watching “History”? Then you need to watch the music video for “Best Song Ever”! Seeing Niall and Louis as Harvey and Jonny the studio execs, Zayn as the sexy assistant (that everyone seems to flirt with, especially Harry), Harry as Marcel the marketing guy, and Liam as Leroy the choreographer will have you doubled over with laughter. The video was written by James Corden and Ben Winston, as well as directed by Winston, and follows the band as they meet with studio execs to talk about their new movie. As the song begins (about two minutes in), the band takes over and chaos ensues, with concert clips, behind-the-scenes footage, and cheesy dance moves thrown into the mix. Trust me, stay until the very end. –Melanie

“Drag Me Down” (Made in the A.M.)

If you want a movie-like quality music video, “Drag Me Down” is the perfect choice. You’ll love watching the astronaut training scenes, making it feel like you are watching Armageddon – One Direction edition. The picturesque hangar scenes, day and night, just add to that epic feeling. The entire video feels exceptionally powerful and extraordinary. It will leave you actually wanting a movie starring Harry, Niall, Louis, and Liam. –Melanie

“You & I” (Midnight Memories)

The video for “You & I” is beautiful, lovely, and absolutely gorgeous. Set with a coastal theme, the way they filmed the band walking is incredibly cool. It starts out with Niall in a grey sweater walking towards the camera and seamlessly transitions to Liam wearing the same sweater. That continues with Liam into Harry, Harry into Zayn, Zayn into Louis, and so on. It zooms in on Harry before panning out to everyone on the boardwalk, catching up to themselves in a really cool way. As if the song itself wasn’t incredibly beautiful, that one long shot is just stunning. I don’t use this description for music videos too often, but “You & I” is absolutely artistic. –Melanie

“Perfect” (Made in the A.M.)

Our final pick is the second single from Made in the A.M., “Perfect.” This video is one of my favorites because of how different it is in style and tone from their previous videos. It’s shot entirely in black and white, with no big set pieces or a plot. It’s just Harry, Liam, Louis, and Niall singing with New York City in the background, walking down hallways, and being themselves. The final shot of all four boys singing on the roof is beautiful and a great ending to the video. It’s subdued compared to the massive productions of videos past like “Best Song Ever” or “Drag Me Down,” and as a result the song and the band is the focus. -Jules

What other One Direction videos are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

I am a nurse and dedicated nerd from Boston, MA. When I'm not at work, I'm rewatching old favorites like Supernatural or discovering my new obsessions (too many to count!). When not fangirling, I can be found reading, writing, or listening to a true crime podcast. You can find me on Twitter @juleswritesblog for more nerdy nonsense.

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