Wildly successful U.K. pop group One Direction became one of the biggest success stories of the 2010s, breaking sales and chart records left and right. The group was formed in London in 2010 by Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson. That year they appeared in the British musical competition show X Factor, and even though they only finished in third place, X Factor creator Simon Cowell signed them to his Syco Records. The following year, the vocal group's debut album, Up All Night was released. Containing the huge hit "What Makes You Beautiful," the record reached No. 1 in the U.S. and became a multi-Platinum seller on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks largely to the female teens and tweens at the core of One Direction's audience. But it was their hook-heavy mix of pop, rock, and dance music as much as their photogenic quality that insured their success; rather than being a typical boy-band flash in the pan, One Direction managed to repeat their first record's success four more times over the next four years. They were the first artists ever to have four albums debut in the top spot on the Billboard charts. And even when the first chance for a chink in their armor appeared with the much-publicized departure of Malik in 2015, the group still managed to come out on top. Like its predecessors, the fifth One Direction album, 2015's Made in the A.M., was a hit-heavy Platinum record in both the U.S. and England, despite being the group's first release without Malik. But the departed member made out just fine on his own; his solo debut, 2016's Mind of Mine, was a worldwide No. 1 album sporting a chart-topping single in "Pillowtalk." Meanwhile, Malik's former bandmates spent 2016 on hiatus.
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