Over the years we’ve heard many lyric changes by both Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinoson. Most of these lyric changes happened in the later part of One Direction when the interactions between the boys on stage was limited and rare. Many fans (larries especially) believe that they changed the lyrics as a way to fight back against their forced closeting and show their management that they couldn’t be silenced.
These boys were incredibly brave for doing this, at times shocking each other and fans with their boldness, but it’s also heartbreakingly sad that this was the only way they could communicate in public, especially in the latter part of One Direction when they would glance off camera and have their faces would fall as they looked down to school their expressions.
The first of the lyric changes took place during the Up All Night Tour in 2012 during a performance of More Than This when Harry changed the lyrics from ‘more than this’ to ‘more than Stan’. Stan, as many of the One Direction fandom are aware, was Louis’ childhood best friend and while this could have been innocent when we explore more lyric changes, it becomes clear that this was Harry’s way of expressing his love for Louis.
Another Lyric change, this time from Louis where he said ‘I’m on my ski’s’ instead of I’m on my knees during another rendition of More Than This which was a nod to Harry and Louis’ ski trip with Jonny and Stan to Courchevel where apparently Louis taught Harry to ski. This was obviously an important trip for both Harry and Louis.
More Than This had one final lyric change that I’m going to explore because I feel that this alludes to a non-hetero person being forced to, or coerced into, sleeping with a woman. During this song, Louis changes the words from ‘it just won’t feel right,’ to ‘ he just won’t fuck her right;’ which yes, could be explained away as him being jealous over someone sleeping with someone he cares about, but could also be that the person isn’t into girls or is in a relationship with someone of the same sex. This is just my observation and you are absolutely free to disagree, but it does make sense when you put it in the context of two young men in love, trying to fight against a closet they never chose, but we’re coerced or manipulated into accepting.
One more lyric change during the Up All Night tour was when Harry sang, ‘you can be preoccupied, different dick every night’ during I Want when the original lyric was actually ‘different date every night.’ This was Harry alluding to the fact that he wasn’t straight in my opinion and was important because this was when the closeting of the boys began to worsen.
The final lyric change that I’m going to explore from Up All Night was from when the boys covered Use Somebody by Kings of Leon, Louis changed the lyrics from countless lovers to jealous lovers. This could be a nod to how jealous each of them were when someone else was touching the other boy. Both boys had some extreme reactions on stage when someone else from the band got a bit too handsy with the other and there are some videos from concerts where they both look extremely upset due to affection between the other boys and their love. This is understandable and something I’ll explore in a different article, but I will say this, it must have been hell to watch your person hug and mess around with your bandmates when you were getting into trouble for even looking at them.
From then there are many more, especially during Little Things when Harry changed you to Lou, or say ‘I’m in love with Lou and all his little things.’ There were many occasions where one or the other boy would turn to each other and sing emotionally charged lyrics to their love. There were other noticeable lyric changes during little things when Louis changed the lyrics on his verse to ‘makes no sense to him’ showing that the person in the verse was male and his sleep conversations wouldn’t make sense in the light of day.
He also changed the initial lyric of his verse from maybe to baby which is extremely sweet and shows that his person is his baby. Another lyric change by Louis during little things was ‘you can’t go to bed without Susan Boyle’s cup of tea,’ which Louis used in interviews when asked who his celebrity crush was, when in fact he was referring to Harry.
Another lyric change by Harry was during Take Me Home tour 2013 when he performed Rock Me in June 2013. Harry changed the lyrics of Rock Me and instead of singing Rock Me, he held the mic away from his mouth and sang ‘Fuck Me.’ This could just be because he was a horny 19 year old, but do boys often get fucked? This lyric change was one of the naughtier ones, but I also believe that it alludes again to the fact that Harry wasn’t and isn’t straight, but couldn’t say it any clearer without management breathing down their necks and punishing them for their loudness.
Fans have witnessed so many declarations of love for each other and during I Would Louis sang ‘And I can’t compete with my boyfriend, he’s got 27 tattoos.’ This is one of the loudest moments of Louis changing lyrics and it ties in with the fact that both Harry and Louis have many, many complimentary tattoos, like the ship and compass, rope and anchor, rose and dagger, and heart and arrow. The official lyrics are ‘your boyfriend’, so this change was noticeable and loud.
Another of the lyric changes was during 18 when Louis sings ‘I have loved him since we were 18’ which isn’t the official lyrics as they are, ‘I have loved you…;. This is another lyric change that was very loud and when Louis performed this part of the song he would turn to Harry or find him with his eyes which is adorable and so sweet.
During Better Than Words live, Louis changed the lyrics slightly by adding in ‘he’s the best I ever had,’ when the official lyrics are just ‘best I ever had.’ This was another time Louis was loud and shouting about his love. It was loud and clear that Louis’ partner was a male and this again shows it.
Harry also changed the lyrics during Fireproof from ‘made it so you had to walk away’, to ‘made it so Lou had to walk away.’ This was one of the more sad Larry lyric changes because Harry was telling us as fans that Lou had to walk away because of something outside of their relationship.
Harry also changed the words of Strong during live shows to ‘you’ll always keep me from falling apart’ when the official lyrics are ‘need you to keep me from falling apart’ and ‘we’ll always hold on, cause you make me strong’ instead of ‘I’ll always hold on’. Both of these lyric changes hit harder because Louis was one of the writers of Strong and are sweet because it was Harry reaffirming that for him, his love keeps him strong and that they made each other strong.
The final One Direction lyric change that I’m going to explore was during You and I which was a song that Larry fans had noticed and attributed to Harry and Louis relationship, which became especially relevant when Harry changed the lyrics on stage from ‘they will never change me and you’ to ‘they will never change me and Lou’. This was an important one and the reason I saved it for the last of the One Direction section was because it was in 2015 that Harry made this lyric change and showed that management hadn’t broken them apart.
Yet more Larry Lyric changes happened during Harry’s solo tours from Live on Tour to Love on Tour when he would change the lyrics of his own songs to show that him and Louis were still together or that he would pay for his loud behaviour.
The first song that I’m going to talk about in the Harry Solo section is Kiwi. Kiwi is rumoured to have had Louis as one of the writers and Harry has closed his shows with it for many years. It was anthemic and fun, but if you listen to the lyrics then it reads actually quite dark, especially with the lyrics stating ‘it’s like I paid for it’. Paid for what? Having a baby like the song says, but why would having a baby cost anything other than love? Yes, babies are expensive, but in the context of the song it appears deeper than just a financial burden, especially when Harry would often sing, “I’m gonna pay for this.’
In my opinion the ‘I’m gonna pay for this’, was loud in two ways. First of all, what was Harry gonna pay for? To me this is about his behaviour on stage and how management and his label view him as a Ken Doll. He’s got the sex appeal and the charisma to appeal to the masses, but on stage Harry is a little more free and has stated that he loves being on stage because he can be completely himself so when he dances around with a pride flag, or helps someone come out, then he pays for this behind the scenes.
The second way this was loud was because Harry, as far as the general public knows, Harry hasn’t knocked anyone up, so why was he gonna have to pay. He has recently stopped singing this line in his live performances, but to my mind, it was loud because the context of him paying could be watching someone he loves paying for his loudness and not being able to stop it from happening.
Another of Solo Harry’s lyric changes have occurred during Adore You when he sings, ‘I get so lost inside Blue Eyes’, which, of course, Louis has and we know Harry would get lost in them. We watched as it happened over and over again in the early years of One Direction and saw the adoration reflected in his gaze. On that note, the second lyric change fans noticed during Adore you, was changing the lyrics to ‘just let me adore Lou.’ Subtle Harry, but not subtle enough. Harry early on learned You rhymes with Lou and ran with it from One Direction days right up until this year.
During Harryween last year, 2022, fans waited with bated breath to see what costume Harry and the band would don, wondering if it was going to be possible to be louder than the previous year’s performance. Well Harry blew all of our socks off when he rocked onto stage dressed as Danny Zuko. This was loud in two ways. The first way was that it is extremely well known that Louis played Danny Zuko in his high school play and has often spoken about how Grease is his favourite movie. The second way it was loud was that Harry clearly and deliberately sang, ‘Hopelessly devoted to Lou’. The audio is clear and while it was equally as loud because this is the song of the female lead. It is also apparently Louis’ favourite song from the movie which he confirmed on the 8th December 2022 during the fan signings for his album when a fan asked.
Another Harry lyric change occurred in late 2020 when Harry started singing I’m hoping one day I’m open/ He’s open. These were exceptionally loud lyrics, especially since at the time Harry was in the most obvious stunt of his life and he looked absolutely miserable. Singing those lyrics was clearly a cry for help and fans could only sit back and watch helplessly as he struggled through interviews, filming and touring.
During Live On Tour, Harry asked Kacey Musgraves to join him on stage to perform Still The One. Apparently, according to Kacey, Harry was adamant that it had to be this song (which he later performed at Coachella with the one and only Shania Twain.) When the song started the lyrics were changed by Kacey to ‘looks like they made it’ instead of ‘Looks like we made it.’ I know this technically wasn’t a Harry Lyric change, but he was dueting Kacey and was smiling so widely as she sang these lyrics that I just had to add it in.
We’re almost done, just two more songs to go.
Another from Solo Harry who just this past year added Grapejuice to his setlist and would change the lyrics from ‘Just me and you’, yo ‘Just me and Lou’. This was last noticed in July when Harry was on his final run of Love On Tour and was loud in and of itself. It was clear that he sang this to show off his love for his Lou and make sure we all knew who it was he really loves.
And finally, we have a solo Louis lyric change to finish off my article, so at number 28, (yes I did this specifically because it’s the Larry number and yes I know I’m sad, but it’s their number so I couldn’t resist.)
Louis during Back to You changed the lyrics from ‘I love you, I hate it,’ to ‘I love him, I hate it.’ This was loud, especially because Louis has become the more reserved of the two nowadays, but his songs, especially Only The Brave and She is Beauty are both queer anthems for his fans. When fans noticed this, we looked back and saw that Louis had been doing this under our noses for a while and we missed it. The first time it was picked up on, he made a point during the next show to stop and close his lips instead, but then sang it again the show after.
As an additional note, Louis also obviously sings 7 by Catfish and the Bottleman which, although it doesn’t have a lyric change, the opening word of the song is Larry. I know that this isn’t a lyric change, but if a conspiracy theory called Larry caused such a rift in Louis’ personal life and caused so many problems then why would he choose to cover a song that has the word in it twice. It’d either be exceptionally brave, or exceptionally stupid and I for one, don’t believe Louis is stupid in the slightest, so I’m gonna go with it was him being as brave as he could be.
Both Harry and Louis have shown time and again over the years through these lyric changes and their behaviour to each other, both on and off stage, that they care deeply about one another. Pushing them apart ended up being louder than leaving them to interact and the boys, in my opinion, pushed back the only way they could, by changing the lyrics of their songs to show that they were and are in love.
Yes there were obstacles and their relationship during One Direction must have been a living hell at times because of the pressure they were under to conform, to tow the management line and to ‘behave’, but still they found ways to share their love story and shout about how in love they were. They were and continue to be exceptionally strong, brave and courageous because they fought back and kept fighting back against their closets, but one thing’s for sure, they couldn’t have done it without the love and support of their larries.
Fans who only listen to the surface of the songs miss the nuance of this and listening to Harry and Louis, accepting that they’re both in the closet and supporting them as best we can shows them that they are loved, they are valued and that we will always have their backs.
As fans we need to listen when they speak, watch for management trying to divide us more and share these articles because this is how we fight back on their behalf. The world shouldn’t force people to hide who they love, just to make music or for financial reasons and these two brave men have helped me and a great many others find their communities, their own courage to come out and helped us to be honest about who we are.
We owe them so much for sharing their art with us, so join in and let’s stop the bad guys from winning. Share this and other articles. Expose the mistreatment of artists and let’s have a future where teenage boys don’t have to change lyrics on stage just to show us who they are.
We should love people for who they are, regardless of sexuality, gender or race. Love is love and at the end of the day the world would be a much better place if we all loved a little more and hated a little less.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed
Lots of love