Can One Direction’s Harry Styles Mesh His New Image And Natural Persona In Redefining What’s Cool For Musicians?

While One Direction’s Harry Styles is trying hard to project a rock star image, by dressing up like Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison, one thing stands out as different. While Styles can walk like a rock star, sing like a rock star, and make great music, just like a rock star, could Harry ever have a classic rock star persona?

When one strips away all the hype and all the restrictions that being a public figure create, who is Harry Styles really? The video below speaks for itself. Isn’t Harry Styles just too perfectly sweet, nice, and polite to be a rock star? Is this the hole in Harry’s rock star persona?

One Direction’s Harry Styles has one consistent characteristic that is way too widely reported to be fake. Harry Styles is notoriously polite. That is what everyone who has ever met him always says. From Airline stewardesses to stuntmen, and even the paparazzi, everyone says different things, but the words polite and nice always seems to come up in descriptions of Harry.

A stuntman who worked with Harry Styles on Dunkirk told Heat One, Harry is nice.

“[Harry Styles is a] nice genuine guy, super cool in fact. I got to see Harry Styles which was fun. Was he doing well? Actually, he was doing really well. It’s sort of surprising when you hear that someone like that has actually got pretty good chops.”

One Direction’s Harry Styles has surprising talent. Why is it that people assume Harry, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson are just pretty faces? Perhaps that is the real image problem, much more than all their collective politeness, but Harry, Zayn, and Horan are all proving they have real talent. Still, they are extremely nice. Is it OK for a rock star to be that nice, without even the pretense of being wild, rough, or rebellious?

One Direction’s Harry Styles isn’t just polite, he amazes and astounds people with his politeness. The Daily Mail reports a quote from a woman who shared an airline flight with Styles.

“I was struck by how extraordinarily polite he was with the cabin crew and gracious with a fellow passenger who wanted a picture and autograph for her niece. He was poised, kind and mature well beyond his years. [By the way] he wheezes when he sleeps.”

Harry Styles isn’t just the typical nice guy. He is radically nice in a way that stands out as unusual. Harry isn’t the nice guy who always finishes last either. Styles is a winner, and always comes out on top in any situation. Could his persona change?

Harry Styles of One Direction speaks so politely to the paparazzi in the video below, as he has his driver stop. Then he rolls down the window and very sweetly asks them to stop following him because he is trying to sleep in the back of the limousine. Styles even shakes hands and allows them to film and photograph him before rolling up the window.

One Direction’s Harry Styles just can’t help being compulsively polite to everyone. Fans can just forget about seeing Harry Styles flipping people off like Ozzy Osbourne, or urinating on the bar at restaurants like Jim Morrison. He’s not even likely to give anyone a scary look, like that famous evil eye of Marilyn Manson.

Harry Styles persona seems very different than the one most classic rock stars projected, but isn’t that niceness the persona that One Direction management created for him? While that might be something to consider, it is hard to imagine that he is able to project that image so consistently, unless it was his actual persona.

New One Direction image or not, and despite any required edginess, Harry Styles is probably way too polite by nature to ever stop smiling at everyone and saying thank you and please. But why should Harry really have to change? After all, this is a new century, and in 2016 peeing on a restaurant bar, or monuments at the Alamo, is not cool anymore. Even in the old days, not all rock stars were antiheroes.

One Direction crooner Harry Styles’ natural politeness does mesh with Sir Paul McCartney’s persona. Former Beatles Singer, Paul McCartney is always very nice as well, contrasting with most other classic rockers in the sixties and seventies who enjoyed being shockingly wild rebels. One could also point to the hairband heartthrob Brett Michaels. Brett was unusually nice as well and had an unimaginably peppy disposition most of the time, despite his constant struggle with diabetes.

One Direction
One Direction [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

One Direction’s Harry Styles isn’t on drugs and he doesn’t drink a lot apparently either. Although Styles can be a bit reclusive and it is hard to know exactly what goes on behind his closed doors, he’s obviously not prone to public drunkenness, or being stoned, like most rockers back in the day.

In fairness, most stars are not openly into drinking and drugs now. That was a phenomenon that was popular from the 1960s through the 1990s but seemed to dissipate in the twenty-first century. Ironically that time period also seems to mark the decline of rock and roll.

Harry Styles and One Direction had a squeaky clean image. As a boy band, they were expected to uphold an incredibly wholesome example. Their management company, according to many accounts, appears to have kept them out of trouble.

Niall Horan complained that One Direction went to a lot of exotic places, but the boys were cooped up in a hotel room when they were on the road, or on the bus. Management never allowed the boys to go sightseeing. Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne were never just unleashed upon a city, like the old style rock and rollers.

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan were kept out of any potential trouble. Malik was allegedly caught with marijuana once and it was a huge media scandal. By contrast, most successful bands in the seventies and eighties, seem to have lost at least one band member who died of a heroin overdose or something similar, and usually, the whole band got busted for drugs at least once, but it didn’t hurt their reputation. It actually seemed to help it.

Harry Styles of One Direction is such a nice guy
Harry Styles of One Direction is such a nice guy. [Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock]

One Direction and Harry Styles know that kind of drug addicted behavior won’t work in 2016. Most contemporary stars appear to stay clean and fit, and they behave in decent ways, perhaps partially because they haven’t been drinking so much.

One Direction’s Harry Styles doesn’t have the typical classic 1960’s rocker’s drug habit to contend with. He’s a very clean, nice, and respectful person. That is a good thing, but it is vastly different from the stereotypical rock and roll image.

While One Direction’s Harry Styles is polite to stewardesses, back in the 1960s Jim Morrison gave a flight crew such a hard time he was taken off the plane and accused of trying to hijack the flight. Jimmy was just drunk and disorderly as usual, but that was the norm set by the early rockers.

So, it is really up to Harry Styles, as One Direction’s new imagesetter. Will 1D try to be old school rockers or will the new music be represented by much sweeter and more sober icons?

One Direction’s Harry Styles is radically nice. It isn’t just a matter of not being a bad boy, Harry is so good and kind to everyone all the time, that it makes a huge impression.


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Harry Styles niceness is so outstandingly unusual it is almost as shocking as urinating on the bar in today’s society. Not saying that people are not nice, but Styles is shocking people with his niceness. The way Styles does things stands out as very different apparently.

One Direction’s Harry Styles is shockingly nice! Styles is surprisingly kind and he probably could not change that if he wanted to. It’s just who Harry is.

One Direction and especially Harry Styles will continue to be icons, eventually attracting a wider audience. As the most popular band since The Beatles, it is up to them to redefine what cool music is like in the early part of this century. It is also up to them to define how great musicians should act. So far in music there has been a dramatic shift, but where will it lead.

Harry Styles and One Direction could be defining the iconic image of a new style of music, but it is doubtful Harry’s politeness will be left behind.

[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]