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> One (Metallica song)

Template:Infobox Single "One" is a Grammy Award winning [1][2] song by heavy metal band Metallica. One of Metallica's most famous songs, "One" appeared as the fourth track of …And Justice for All and was released as the third single from the same album. Metallica won their first Grammy Award in 1990 for "One", winning Best Metal Performance. "One" was also the band's first Top 40 hit single, peaking at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Contents

Song

"One" was written in November 1987 by Metallica's principal composers — rhythm guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich. The song was released in 1989 as the second single taken from the album (the first being "Harvester of Sorrow" in the U.S and "...And Justice for All" in Europe[3]).

For the first 20 seconds of the song there is a series of sound effects with a battle theme; an artillery barrage and helicopter are heard and continues slightly over a clean tone guitar intro by Hetfield before Kirk Hammett comes in over the top with a clean-toned solo. The song speeds up after Ulrich's drums come in and continues until each chorus, when the guitars become heavy and distorted before returning to clean. There is a second solo by Hammett halfway through the song, before lyrics cut out and the song gradually gets more heavy and distorted until the "machine gun" guitar build up (played alongside two bass drums) before the final, often highly praised, guitar solo by Hammett, and a final dual solo by Hammett and Hetfield. The song is in 6/8 time.

"One"'s opening A-G modulation was written by Hetfield based on an idea prompted by the song "Buried Alive" by the band Venom.

Template:Cquote - James Hetfield, Guitar World 1991

Concept

The song's theme is based on Dalton Trumbo's 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun. It is based on the story of a soldier whose body was severely damaged after he was hit by a German artillery shell during World War I. His arms, legs, eyes, mouth, nose and ears were gone and he could not see, speak, smell, or hear; but his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body.

Live performance

"One" is a favorite of many Metallica fans, and thus is a fixture of the band's live shows. When played live, the song is usually played with guitars tuned down by one semitone (a permanent fixture of their Studio and Live work since the post-Black Album era) and is preceded by pyrotechnics and the same sounds of war such as machine guns, and bombs exploding as heard on the recorded version. The song was also featured on S&M — Metallica's album of live performances in collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the late Michael Kamen.

Music video

"One" was the first Metallica song for which a music video was created. The music video, directed by Bill Pope and Michael Salomon, debuted on MTV on January 20 1989. The video is almost entirely in black and white, and features the band performing the song in a warehouse. It features dialogue and several scenes from the 1971 film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun. Timothy Bottoms can be seen starring as Joe Bonham, the main character in the novel.

Metallica bought the rights to Johnny Got His Gun so they would be able to use it exclusively for the video for "One". Three versions of the "One" music video were made - the first (the longest, album version) contained scenes of both the band and scenes from the movie. The second was simply a shortened version of the first and the third lacked scenes from the movie.

Like many other music videos from the metal band, "One" puts great emphasis on the performances of the band members as musicians, with many shots of Hetfield, Newsted and Hammett's hands picking and fretting. The video features the band members in a typical early Metallica fashion - playing (as if in rehearsal) in some sort of warehouse, in tight formation around Ulrich's drum kit, and dressed in casual street clothes and with long untamed hair.

In the music video, it can be clearly seen that both Hetfield and Hammett are playing ESP guitars. It is also clear that Newsted is playing bass with his fingers at the start of the song, but later switches to a pick.

Two of the three versions of the "One" music video appear on 2 of One, a VHS released on July 1, 1990.

The music video was ranked 38 on Rock on the Net: MTV: 100 Greatest Music Videos and number 1 on Fuse's No. 1 Countdown: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Special Edition.

Personnel

Covers

Other appearances

Awards

"One" was voted as the 7th of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos" of all time by readers of Guitar World, placed between "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses (6th) and "Hotel California" by the Eagles (8th).

References

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External links

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