One Direction: Who Wrote The Most Songs In The Band?

Even though One Direction has been on a band hiatus since 2015, the group’s influence on pop culture has remained apparent in the years following their break through their dedicated fan base and continued relevance in the music industry. The band’s five members, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik all worked together to become one of the most successful boy bands of all time. And there’s no way that would’ve happened without well-written tunes.

Read on to find out which member of One Direction wrote the most songs in the band.

One Direction
One Direction at the Brit Awards in 2014 | Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

The songwriting in One Direction’s early days

The boys started out in the band in 2010 as teens, just starting to find their voices and musical talents. They auditioned for The X Factor, a reality singing competition, and were placed in a band together by Simon Cowell. Their first studio album, Up All Night, came out in November 2011.

All five band members wrote on three of the 13 song tracks — “Taken,” “Everything About You,” and “Same Mistakes.” The boys heavily relied on more established songwriters for this album, but when it came time for album two, Take Me Home, in 2012, the bandmates had more input for the writing. They worked on four of the 17 total tracks, including the limited yearbook edition version of the album.

By their third album, Midnight Memories, which was released in 2013, Tomlinson was beginning to stand out as a lead songwriter in the group. He wrote on 12 of the 18 songs (including the bonus tracks), with Payne closely following behind, being credited with nine songs.

‘Four’ and ‘Made in the A.M.’ continued to prove the boys’ songwriting talents

Four, the band’s fourth studio album (clever, right?), came out one year later, in 2014. Payne wrote one more song than Tomlinson, but all of the band members contributed to at least one songwriting credit on what was Malik’s last album as part of the group.

Made in the A.M. was the band’s fifth and final album, released in 2015. Tomlinson took the songwriting lead yet again with this album, writing on seven of the total 17 songs.

Who from One Direction wrote the most songs?


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Tomlinson takes the top spot for which One Direction member wrote the most songs — he wrote 38 while in the band, according to SecondhandSongs. Payne trails closely behind in second place, with 31 total writing credits for the band, according to the same site. Horan, Styles, and Malik also contributed their songwriting abilities but didn’t write as much as Tomlinson and Payne did.

Tomlinson had writing credits on the song “No Control,” which fans decided to “release” as a single to radio stations back in 2015 to highlight the oldest band member. Tomlinson spoke about the incredible feat on The Late Late Show with James Corden at the time, with Corden ribbing Tomlinson for some of the steamier lyrics.

Since his time in One Direction, Tomlinson released his own solo album, Walls, in January 2020. He also put on a live digital concert in December 2020, selling over 160,000 tickets, per Simon Jones PR.

While we don’t know if or when One Direction will return, we’ll surely continue to see Tomlinson amaze global listeners with his writing skills in the future.