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Niall Horan Helped Create One Direction's Biggest Hits — Here Are the 1D Songs He Wrote

Niall Horan's singer-songwriter roots can be traced back to One Direction's very first album, Up All Night.

By Jill Sederstrom

Niall Horan’s solo career has been defined by mega hits like “Slow Hands” and “This Town,” but it isn’t the first time the Irish singer-songwriter has put pen to paper to bring a chart-topping song to life.

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The Voice Coach got his songwriting start with One Direction after joining the world-famous boy band at just 16 years old. 

What One Direction Songs Did Niall Horan Help Write?

Niall Horan at SiriusXM Studios.

Horan was chosen along with fellow bandmates Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Liam Payne to form the hugely successful boy band as part of The X Factor UK in 2010, earning the group’s members teen heartthrob status almost instantaneously. 

RELATED: Simon Cowell Says Niall Horan Becoming a Coach on The Voice Is a "Weird, Full Circle-y Thing"

The boys proved they had more than just staggering good looks and talented vocals when they earned their first songwriting credits the next year with their first studio album, Up All Night. All five bandmates are credited with contributing to three of the album’s tracks: “Taken,” “Same Mistakes,” and “Everything About You,” according to Showbiz CheatSheet.

While Horan wasn’t the bandmate who wrote the most songs for One Direction (that honor goes to Tomlinson), he certainly made his mark in the years that would follow. 

In the group’s sophomore album, Take Me Home, Horan had a part in creating “Back for You” and “Summer Love,” according to Second Hand Songs.

What Are Niall Horan's Favorite Songs He's Written?

Niall Horan performs on The Voice.

One Direction’s third album, Midnight Memories, includes one of Horan’s favorite tracks to write, “Don’t Forget Where You Belong,” an anthem about staying true to yourself and your roots no matter where life takes you.

Horan told Entertainment Weekly he’s proud of the track, which he wrote alongside the British pop-rock group McFly, because it “gets a good reaction during [live] shows, and yea, when I was writing it there was a lot of sentiment behind it.” 

All five bandmates — along with songwriters Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, and Jamie Scott —also had their hand in the album’s hugely popular “Story of My Life,” which spent a whopping 32 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 List.

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In 2014, just four whirlwind years after their The X Factor UK run, One Direction released its fourth album, aptly titled Four. Horan proved his songwriting chops once again by contributing to three of the album’s songs: “Change Your Ticket,” “Fool’s Gold,” and “Night Changes.”

Malik parted ways with the group in March 2015 after announcing on Facebook that he had to do “what feels right in my heart.” 

“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight,” he wrote, adding that he made “friends for life” with his four bandmates.

When the group released their final album, Made in the A.M., later that year, some fans speculated that A.M. meant after Malik, but Horan took to YouTube to explain the album’s actual roots. 

“We literally wrote a lot of it at night time and into the early morning,” he said, adding that they’d taken time away from their busy touring schedule to fit the writing sessions in.

Horan contributed to four of the album’s songs: “A.M.,” Never Enough,” “Temporary Fix,” and “Wolves.” 

He told Entertainment Tonight he was the most proud of “Never Enough” because it was a “new sound” for the group. 

“It’s very different,” he said. “I was happy with the way we had written it, and the way we came about it. We were just on the piano one night in Julian [Bunetta]’s house, and we were sitting around and having a couple of beers and then it just kinda popped up on the piano and it’s now played by trumpets. So, when things like that happen, you feel proud.”

The group performed for the last time together in December of that year before going on an extended hiatus, ending their epic run — at least for now.

What Songs Did Niall Horan Write After One Direction Ended?

Niall Horan in the judges chair on The Voice.

In the years since, One Direction’s members have gone on to explore their own solo careers, including Horan, who was part of the songwriting team behind his hits “Slow Hands,” “Still,” “This Town,” “Heartbreak Weather,” and more.

RELATED: This Audition Made Blake Shelton Accuse Kelly Clarkson of Calling Niall Horan a 'Liar'

In 2023, Horan joined The Voice as a Coach to share the advice he picked up along his path from reality show winner to successful solo artist.

Today, he may be forging his own path ahead, but he told Esquire this year for its Explain This segment that when it comes to songwriting, sometimes he still turns to advice from his famous One Direction friends.

“If I feel like I need an opinion, I’ll always send it out,” he said. “This time I sent it to Louis and he gave me like his honest opinion on it, which is always handy, ‘cause we’ve released enough songs over the years and we know what’s decent and what’s not.” 

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