2017 was a huge year for Louis Tomlinson, as he came into his own as a solo artist: releasing ‘Just Hold On’ with Steve Aoki at the end of 2016, ‘Back to You’ with Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals, ‘Just Like You’ especially for fans, and, finally, ‘Miss You’ as his first official solo solo single.
The Doncaster-born, LIam Gallagher-loving, fan-defending, middle finger-brandishing singer hasn’t disappointed a single supporter. To celebrate his 26th birthday today (and give you all an early Christmas present), here are our 26 favorite Louis moments of the past year.
26. Performing ‘Just Hold On’ with Steve Aoki on ‘The TODAY Show’
After releasing ‘Just Hold On’ with Steve Aoki back in December 2016, Louis kicked off 2017 with some promotional performances — including this one, on ‘The TODAY Show’ in New York City. During a quick interview, when asked about a future One Direction reunion, Louis was quick to reassure everyone: “There’s time for that,” he said. “Nobody knows when. I think we’re enjoying a bit of time to ourselves, exploring our own solo things.”
25. Defending his fans after they went to battle for him
When a radio host gave her interview with Louis a less-than-kind intro, Louis’s fans flooded her Twitter with their disappointment, forcing her to put her Twitter on private. When the host returned to tweet a weak apology, Louis joined forces with his fans with a tweet of his own:
Afterward, he restored peace by tweeting, “Let’s draw a line under it and let it be. Love to you all x.”
24. Teaching Freddie how to play guitar
They’re never too young to learn! Louis posted a photo on Instagram of his son Freddie, who turns two in January, getting his hands on a white electric guitar. We’re ready for a lad and dad duet.
23. Throwing it back
Our favorite grown-up Donny lad posted this throwback photo, captioning it, “Donny chav.” Peep that peace sign, beer, and gelled hair.
22. Winning the 2017 BRIT Award for British Music Video of the Year
Okay, this one wasn’t all Louis — but he was obviously a big part of it! One Direction, despite being on hiatus, won the British Music Video of the Year award at the BRITs in February for ‘History’. Just goes to show, they’re still the greatest team that the world has ever seen.
21. Recording part of the charity single for the Grenfell Tower tragedy
When London’s Grenfell Tower caught fire in June, resulting in the death of more than 70 residents, Louis joined a long list of stars (including Liam Payne, as well as Stormzy, Robbie Williams, and Rita Ora) to record a cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. It sold over 120,000 units on the first day alone.
20. Performing ‘Back to You’ at the iHeartRadio Music Festival
September’s iHeartRadio Music Festival was a huge weekend for One Direction fans, because not only Louis performed — Harry Styles and Niall Horan did, too. Who forgot to call Liam and Zayn?
19. Performing ‘Back to You’ at the Teen Choice Awards
Not only was Louis nominated for three Teen Choice Awards (Choice Collaboration, Choice Male Hottie, and Choice EDM Song), he and Steve Aoki took home the award for Choice Collaboration for ‘Just Hold On’ and Louis performed ‘Back to You’ with Bebe Rexha during the show. Quite a night!
18. Making up with Zayn Malik
In an interview with ‘The Sun’, Louis revealed how it was his mother Johanna’s last wish before passing away after a battle with leukemia that he repair his relationship with Zayn, which suffered after Zayn left One Direction. “My mum said, ‘You’ve got to get back in contact with Zayn. Life’s too fucking short’,” Louis explained. “We will always have that love for each other. I can’t speak on behalf of him but we really care about each other.”
17. Teasing a snippet of ‘Always You’
Because he loves to torment his fans (lovingly, of course!), Louis was “just listening to the album on [his] way home,” according to a tweet, when he decided to give everyone a tiny sneak peek of an unreleased song. The lyrics in the 12-second clip went, “I went to Amsterdam without you/And all I could do was think about you.” Safe to say we can’t wait to hear the rest.
Anyone work out the lyric yet ?
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) August 24, 2017
16. Fighting with food companies about discontinued products
After Louis famously left Dominos for Pizza Hut in 2015 after Dominos stopped making their mozzarella dippers, he’s become a sort of champion for discontinued food products everywhere. This year, he went after Maltesers for not planning on bringing back their white chocolate version and Kellogg’s for stopping production on Ricicles.
this isn't good enough . BRING THEM BACK !!!
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) October 12, 2017
15. Releasing ‘Just Like You’
A song that was written especially for his fans, Louis’s ‘Just Like You’ came with a lyric video in mid-October. The video has had more than 14 millions views to date on YouTube, with lyrics reminding us all that Louis’s “just like [us],” even though “his problems look nothing like [ours] do.” It resonated so deeply with fans that they got it to No. 1 on the Worldwide iTunes Songs Chart.
14. Performing at Key 103 Live
Louis’s set at Key 103 Live in Manchester, England had two unbelievable moments: a cover of One Direction’s under-appreciated ‘Little Black Dress’, and his first-ever performance of ‘Miss You’. He also had his new band backing up him up.
13. Making fun of Niall Horan’s reaction to ‘Stranger Things’
In yet another great Nouis historical moment, Louis tweeted a screenshot of an article about the Netflix show ‘Stranger Things’ being “too scary for kids” when Niall tweeted that he “hid behind a pillow for 55 mins” watching the first episode.
should have read this before hand lad ! pic.twitter.com/jMc0P8wVDB
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) October 31, 2017
12. Winning the MTV EMA for Best UK & Ireland Act
As a newly-minted solo artist without an album (yet!), it was pretty awesome to watch Louis take home the MTV Europe Music Award for Best UK & Ireland Act. A fan-voted award, Louis’s loyal band of Louies proved that One Direction or not, they’re here for him — in big numbers.
Ohhhhh shit ! Thanks so much for voting !! You guys are fucking amazing. Yet again put a massive smile on my face. Love you all ! #MTVEMA
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) November 12, 2017
11. ‘Flying Solo’ with Highsnobiety
In an interview titled ‘Just Hold On: Louis Tomlinson is Flying Solo’, Louis speaks with the online fashion and lifestyle publication Highsnobiety about… well, it was hard to pay attention because of all the stunning photos they peppered in throughout the article. When asked if there was anything in his career he would’ve done or handled differently, Louis answered, “I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
10. Performing ‘Back to You’ with Bebe Rexha on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’
Jimmy Fallon is one of the biggest stars in the US, and ‘The Tonight Show’ is one of the biggest late-night TV programs there, too. That means it was an especially huge deal for British Louis Tomlinson, along with Bebe Rexha, to perform their single ‘Back to You’ on it.
9. Appearing on the cover of ‘SID’ magazine
Louis graced the cover of the fall/winter issue of ‘SID’, a London-based luxury menswear biannual magazine.
8. Performing ‘Just Hold On’ at Ultra Music Festival in Miami
On March 25, Louis took to one of the biggest stages in the electronic music world: Ultra Music Festival, with a total audience of 165,000. Accompanied by Steve Aoki, he performed their single ‘Just Hold On’ to a crowd that probably showed up not knowing the name Louis Tomlinson — but he made sure they remembered it.
7. Appearing on the cover of ‘The Observer’ magazine
In a heartbreaking yet revealing cover story on the June 25 issue of ‘The Observer’ magazine, Louis explained how he felt he was “not the best singer, not the high-energy guy, not the dude” in One Direction. But “he was the one in the band who was most tuned into backstage logistics – the one who paid attention when ‘the 20th approval form’ was passed around for a signature.” This humble but self-deprecating admission even inspired us to pen an open letter of thanks to him.
6. Performing ‘Miss You’ at the Royal Variety show
Recorded on November 24 and aired on television on December 19, Louis joined acts like The Killers, The Script, and James Blunt on the list of performers for England’s famous Royal Variety show at the Palladium. Afterwards, he met some pretty important people backstage — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
5. Releasing ‘Back to You’ with Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals
Louis officially dropped ‘Back to You’ on July 21, along with a music video shot in his hometown of Doncaster with Bebe Rexha. ‘Back to You’ reached No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 8 on the UK Singles chart; it’s certified Silver in the UK and Platinum in Australia, and the music video currently has more than 226 million views on YouTube.
4. ‘Being Louis Tomlinson’ with Noisey
Over the summer, Louis interviewed with Noisey (the music side of Vice). He spoke of his new single ‘Back to You’, Doncaster, and One Direction, confirming all the boys were and are still mates. As if that wasn’t enough, all of this was accompanied by a gorgeous photo shoot.
3. Reminding Niall Horan he “taught him everything” he knows about spittin’ bars
When Louis tweeted, “I like these little Irish lads but enough with the rapping” about an act on ‘X Factor’, Niall tweeted back a cheeky reply. Hilarity ensued.
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) November 5, 2017
2. Releasing ‘Miss You’
Louis released ‘Just Hold On’ with Steve Aoki and ‘Back to You’ with Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals; ‘Just Like You’ wasn’t an official single. This made ‘Miss You’ Louis’s first true solo single, a monumental moment in his post-One Direction career.
1. Performing ‘Miss You’ at the ‘X Factor’ finale
What could round out an amazing year for Louis better than performing his single where it all began — in front of Simon Cowell, the legendary creator of One Direction, on the ‘X Factor’ stage in London.
Happy birthday, Louis! Congratulations on amazing year and looking forward to what 2018 brings (*cough* tour *cough*).
Did we leave out your favorite Louis moment of the past year? Leave a comment below and let us know.