One direction this is us

Story of their Life: The rise and fall of One Direction
As a One Direction hiatus looms on the horizon, we chart the highs and lows of the X Factor's most successful creation

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6. the end is near

If a pop star’s emotional well-being can be tracked by their hair – and anyone who’s followed Britney Spears’s various ups and downs will know that this is often the case – then Zayn started feeling a bit twitchy about being in One Direction towards the end of last year. Looking back, were his series of man-buns, top-knots and haunting Michael Jackson-esque soft waves (best observed in the official Band Aid promo shot. Merely a cry for help?

Zayn’s ever-changing hair wasn’t the only big 1D drama of 2014 – there was also the footage of he and bandmate Louis openly sharing what the tabloids like to refer to as a “suspicious cigarette” on tour in Peru. Men in their early twenties smoking a joint in a country where such antics are legal doesn’t sound like the scandal of the century, but these boys were supposed to be clean-living. Devoted fans on Twitter said they were “worried”, “upset” and, worst of all, “disappointed”. The shame.

By this stage in their career, 1D were on their fourth album – imaginatively entitled Four – which might not sound like much by, say, Bob Dylan’s standards, but is considered quite prolific for a bunch of young boys from a talent show. Even Take That, during their 90s peak, only made three albums. Was it time for 1D to go their separate ways, have a nice lie down and return a few years later in nice M&S suits?

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