Tuesday marks the unofficial international party for Harry Styles’ 28th birthday. The singer, ex-boybander and budding fashion icon had a busy year at 27 – he won a Grammy, joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, launched a cosmetics brand and performed his Love On shows Tour anywhere in the United States. himself at 28, with the next international leg of his tour, a headliner at Coachella and some big movie roles, including one in Olivia Wilde’s next film.
When he’s not busy touring or incurring the ire of Candace Owens for wearing a dress, the “Adore You” singer sometimes flexes his chops as a compelling cover artist. So in honor of his birthday, take a break from streaming Thin line for the thousandth time and check out Styles’ best and most surprising covers below.
“Girl Crush” by Little Big Town
This ballad by country band Little Big Town may seem like an odd choice for Styles. But the singer makes “Girl Crush” her own in this gloomy, brooding and obsessive rendition, which was released as a Spotify single in 2017.
“You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain
OK, so maybe country music and Harry Styles aren’t so unlikely after all. The former member of One Direction is on the file as a huge Shania fan, and in 2018 he and Kacey Musgraves turned “You’re Still the One” into a dreamy duet that wouldn’t be out of place on the soundtrack of a teen rom-com.
“Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus
It might be cheating to include a One Direction cover, but the band’s version of “Teenage Dirtbag” was a fan-favorite addition to their 2013 setlist. Take me Home tower. The hormone-driven pop-punk ditty was refreshing when compared to 1D’s catalog of originals (although the bar isn’t particularly high).
“Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks with Don Henley
This is a deep cut of Styles’ secret 2017 show at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, captured on video by fans’ iPhone cameras. The singer is joined by her lifelong musical hero, Stevie Nicks, and you can see him beam with heartfelt reverence as she sings her verses; it’s an exciting, intimate moment between a superfan and their greatest inspiration. Pray to the gods of pop music that 2022 will be the year we finally have an official collaboration between Styles and Nicks studios.
“Big Yellow Cab” by Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell is up there with Nicks as one of Styles’ main musical influences – her Thin line the song “Canyon Moon” is clearly inspired by the Canadian folk singer, right down to the name, which evokes that of Mitchell Canyon Ladies album. Styles covered “Big Yellow Taxi” for BBC Radio in 2020 and unsurprisingly crushed it.
“Juice” by Lizzo
A classic Harry Styles moment, this cover of “Juice” is a blast. BBC 1’s December 2019 performance gave fans the early Christmas present of hearing Styles declare, “No, I’m not a snack at all / Ooh baby, I’m the whole fucking meal,” and the see smiling while singing: “You better come and get your man, I think he wants to be much more than friends. It may not showcase his loudest voice, but it exemplifies what people love about him as a performer: his willingness to have fun.
“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
On his first solo tour, when he only had one short album of new songs to shoot, Styles included a cover of “The Chain” in his encore. As this 2017 performance from the BBC 1 Radio Live Lounge shows, and unlike some of the other covers on this list, he’s not too keen on making his own. It’s just a solid, straightforward tribute to a band and a song he loves.
Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel
Styles and his band covered Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” during a 2020 appearance on The Howard Stern Show. The artist told Stern he was inspired to cover the song after recording some of the Thin line at Gabriel’s Real World Studios in England. Styles seems totally at ease and confident in the song’s groovy ’80s sound, though his super-talented (and impossibly cool) drummer Sarah Jones nearly tops him. Almost. The bottom line? It would be smart to channel more funk and soul into more of his music. Maybe that should be his goal for 28.