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To the average person, July 23 is just another day. To One Direction fans, also known as Directioners, this day means everything. On July 23, 2010 at exactly 8:22 p.m. One Direction was formed as a group (somehow the internet knows the momentous date down to the minute). The band, consisting of Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, auditioned as solo acts on The X-Factor and were put in a group by Simon Cowell. From that point forward, the five boys completely dominated the music scene in the UK and Europe, eventually becoming the most influential and successful boy band worldwide.

So, what’s the story behind the billion-dollar boy band? Check out the highlights of One Direction’s four-year journey and how they got to where they are today.

The X-Factor Auditions (2010)

At this point in time, One Direction was not even a thought in the mind of Simon Cowell or the five boys. Each of them auditioned in their respective places in the UK and Ireland as solo artists. Not surprisingly, the boys all made their way past the first round of judging (Niall still thanks Katy Perry for that “yes” to this day).

First Performance as a Group (2010)

During an earlier elimination round of The X-Factor, all five of the boys were eliminated. However, a few minutes later, Simon Cowell called them back into the studio and told them he wanted to put them together as a group. After Harry named the group “One Direction,” the boys went on to perform their first song ever as One Direction, Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.”

Debut Single “What Makes You Beautiful” Released (2011)

Once they finished third place on The X-Factor and Simon Cowell signed One Direction to his label, the group was on their way to releasing their debut single. “What Makes You Beautiful” was released in September 2011 in the UK, but unfortunately it was not available in the United States until February 2012.

Up All Night Album Released (2011)

Their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful,” as well as the popular songs “One Thing” and “More Than This,” came off of One Direction’s debut album “Up All Night.” The album was released in the UK in November 2011 and in the United States in March 2012. The album made Billboard history in the United States by breaking the record for a UK group’s debut album to top the Billboard 200 chart the longest. The Spice Girls held this record when they topped the chart with “Spice” in 1997.

Up All Night Tour (2011-2012)

First tours are usually minor and only consist of a few shows, but not for One Direction. Not only did they tour Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America during the Up All Night Tour, but there were only two or three shows on the entire 53-show tour that were not completely sold out.

First US Tour: Opening For Big Time Rush (2012)

(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

While promoting their debut single and album in the United States, One Direction joined Big Time Rush on their Better With U Tour. This was their first live tour in the United States, as it came before their North American leg of the Up All Night Tour, and the last time they would ever be an opening act.

Take Me Home Album (2012)

In November 2012, One Direction graced us with a second album titled “Take Me Home.” Off of this album came their hits like “Little Things” and “Kiss You.” Again, the album topped the Billboard charts as their second #1 album in the United States of 2012. The album was also the fifth top selling album of 2012 (“Up All Night” was third).

Sold Out Show At Madison Square Garden (2012)

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

For anyone in the music business, playing Madison Square Garden something that everyone strives to do. One Direction played a special sold-out show at Madison Square Garden in December 2012 with opening act Ed Sheeran, which would later be featured in their 2013 movie. 

Take Me Home Tour (2013)

Taking it to the next level, One Direction’s Take Me Home Tour consisted of 129 shows in total, as they played North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The opening act for this tour was Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, who is also their opening act for the 2014 tour.

One Direction “This Is Us” Movie (2013)

In the few years since they became a group, One Direction has had so many momentous things happen, from playing Madison Square Garden to touring the world. To document it all, they made the “This Is Us” movie with director Morgan Spurlock that followed the boys on their Take Me Home Tour. The movie included both songs from the tour and behind the scenes clips.

Midnight Memories Album (2013)

One Direction’s third album “Midnight Memories” was released everywhere on November 25, 2013. However, with this album, the boys hit a snag as it was leaked a week early. But even the leaking of the album did not damper the album’s record sales, as the album was #1 in 97 countries. That really shows how dedicated their fans are.

Where We Are Tour (2014)

The Where We Are Tour is what the boys have recently been up to. Having just completed their South American and European legs of the tour, One Direction and opening act 5 Seconds of Summer are set to begin the North American leg on August 1, in Canada. The tour comes to New Jersey on August 4 and 5.

Want to attend 1D’s Where We Are Tour? Enter here for a chance to win tickets to the August 4 concert at Metlife Stadium!

–Leah Cunningham & Joe Cingrana/Fresh 102.7

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