When a slightly awkward-looking young Scotsman declared (tongue firmly in cheek) with his debut album title that he 'created disco', leading with electro-pop singles about getting girls and his love for the 80s, few people would have predicted that he would go on to become arguably the biggest DJ and producer in the world, landing multi-million pound Vegas residencies, festival headline spots, and chart-topping collaborations with the world's biggest pop stars.
But 15 years on, that's exactly where Calvin Harris finds himself. And with the release of hotly-anticipated Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 imminent, and another busy summer of shows ahead him including special shows SAGA presents Calvin Harris in Romania and HARD Summer presents Calvin Harris in Croatia, as well as a headline appearance at Sziget Festival, we thought it was an ideal time to look back over his career and pick just a handful of the biggest bangers that helped make him the musical titan he is today.
Given a vast array of global smash hits and under-appreciated gems to choose from, whittling down the selection to just five was no mean feat, with some serious contenders missing out. See what you make of our selections below, presented in chronological order.
'I'm Not Alone'
The lead single from his second album saw Calvin Harris ramping things up a in terms of scale, creating what he described as "a big stadium dance tune". The quirky 'boy next door' vibe of the debut album was replaced with more gloss and glamour for Ready For the Weekend, and it was clear this was a direction that was going to dividends for Harris with 'I'm Not Alone' scoring him his first solo UK number one single, with the likes of Tiësto and deadmau5 jumping on board for remixes.
Special mention should also go to 'Flashback', another absolutely huge single from his second album which signposted the meteoric rise that would follow.
'We Found Love'
If the singles from his second album confirmed him as an established new contender in modern dance music, Rihanna collaboration 'We Found Love' was arguably the moment that Calvin Harris cemented his place a genuine global music superstar. Topping the charts in no fewer than 25 countries, the Melina Matsoukas directed music video picked up the main prize at the MTV Video Music Awards.
As undeniably big an artist as he is, the suggestion that Calvin Harris would link up with the famously enigmatic Frank Ocean for a funk-fuelled, feel-good single would previously have been met with some scepticism.
Calvin Harris die-hards may have been aware that funk and soul production was a new an entirely new prospect, having previously made 'Let Me Know' with Ayah all the way back in 2004, but this sonic direction took some by surprise and even went as far as proving doubters wrong about Harris' artistic capabilities. Six summers on it still sounds as fresh as ever.
While Calvin may have had a slew of UK number one singles to his name by this point, Dua Lipa collab 'One Kiss' in 2018 saw him hit a new milestone with the track becoming the biggest-selling single of the year, beating stiff competition from Drake (both 'God's Plan' and 'Nice For What') in the process.
As a pitch-perfect slice of anthemic dance-pop, it's no surprise that the song was the de facto soundtrack to one of the hottest summers on record in the UK, as well as topping charts throughout Europe and across the globe, from Ecuador to Lebanon to Australia, as well as helping elevate the already rising talent of Dua Lipa to global stardom.
And as football fans may know, the song has even taken on a new lease of life as an anthem of Liverpool's recent success.
'Hypnagogic (I Can't Wait)'
A slightly left-field choice, especially as this one is technically not a Calvin Harris song but rather one under his Love Regenerator moniker. But coming off the back of a string of pop hits with the likes of Sam Smith, Rag'N'Bone Man, and the aforementioned Dua Lipa, 'Hypnagogic (I Can't Wait)' felt like a timely reminder of the underground credentials of one of the world's biggest DJs and producers.
Evoking "early rave, breaks, techno and house, the music I was obsessed with growing up", the absolute belter of a tune perfectly hits the brief Harris set for himself: "I’ve done everything I can to make them sound like they’ve come from a 1991 time capsule".
Book tickets for Calvin Harris' shows in Constanta, Romania on 30 July here and in Split, Croatia on 6 August here. And see more upcoming shows and festival appearances here.