Editors' Notes Legend has it Simon Cowell only took 10 minutes to decide to bring then-teenaged contestants Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne together to form a boy band on The X Factor in July 2010. And yet, no one could’ve predicted what would follow. One Direction became total global superstars with ubiquitous pop-rock hits—from the playful power pop of 2011’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, the group’s first single, to the rootsy “History” in 2015, the group’s last. In their short five-year career, One Direction became the biggest act on the planet all while challenging traditional boy-band tropes. They didn’t dance. They had tattoos. They co-wrote their songs. They traversed a multitude of musical territories, from the bubblegum of “Live While We’re Young” and “Best Song Ever” (a modern-day “Baba O’Riley”) and the midtempo folk balladry of “Little Things” to the 1980s piano rock of “Steal My Girl” and the serotonin-releasing, pitch-perfect harmonies of, well, their entire discography. Dive in here.

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