One of Us Song Meaning by Joan Osborne

This article is about the most famous song performed by Joan Osborne. Interestingly, One of Us was written spontaneously in a few hours and was by no means intended by Joan. Moreover, the author was not even going to offer her to Osbourne, although he not only knew her, but also actively collaborated with the singer. And with the meaning of the song, not everything is so simple, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The history of the creation of the song One of Us

The words and music of One of Us were composed by American performer and composer Eric Bazilian. At the time, he was working with Osbourne on her Relish album. Eric has repeatedly talked about the history of the creation of the song One of Us. In one of the interviews, he said the following:

This was in January 1994. My now wife had just moved from Sweden. We watched The Making of Sgt. Pepper, and when it ended, she expressed interest in the four-track recording process (that documentary mostly shows George Martin at a four-track console in Abbey Road).

I pointed to the pile of wires on my dining table, which was my portable studio, and said, “Here it is. That’s four-track recording technology for you.” She asked me to record something, and that’s when it all happened. All day long I played a riff on the guitar and mixed a little track. She said, “Sing it.” I said, “You can’t just sing. You need to write a song. You need to discuss the idea. You need to rewrite everything and then decide that the first draft was better.” And then something clicked: I turned on the record, started singing, and that’s what happened. From the first attempt turned out verses. The chorus arose from the second call.

The next day I came to work as usual. We took a break in the afternoon and I decided to play it for everyone. I didn’t plan this ahead of time. I just said, “Hey, listen to this weird song I made last night.” I put the record on and Rick Chertoff looked up and said, “Joan, do you think you could sing this?” She replied: “Yes.” I wrote down the lyrics on paper and played the guitar while she sang. Like this. This was our first demo.

Meaning of One of Us song

One of Us invites listeners to ponder the question, “What if God were one of us?” At the same time, Basilian argues that the composition is not directly related to faith or the church:

In my case, it’s not a religious thing, and I’m not a religious person. My relationship with the absolute is very intimate and personal. I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their point of view. You don’t write these songs, they write you. When I write songs, I don’t have a plan. I myself often learn a lot by thinking about a particular topic from the songs I write about it. It wasn’t a conscious decision to write a song with the B word in it, but I ended up inadvertently summarizing my understanding of the world in words that somehow spilled out of me then.

To better understand the intention of the author and the main idea of ​​the song, another explanation by Eric Basilian will help:

For me, this song is more about what happens to you when you look at something that completely changed your view of the world. It could be a meeting with God. It could be an encounter with an alien. It could be being on the brink of the grave. It could be something like this.

Release and achievements

One of Us became one of the tracks on the album Relish (1995) and was released as a single, which climbed to number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was nominated for a Grammy in three categories. Channel VH1 included it in the list of the hundred best tracks of the nineties.

Clip One of Us

The music video for One of Us was filmed in Coney Island. Mark Zeliger and Fred Woodward worked on it.

Interesting Facts

  • The album version of One of Us begins with an excerpt from the gospel song Heaven’s Airplane.
  • The song was the theme song for the television series Joan of Arcadia. For him, Osbourne recorded a new version of the track.
  • The composition also sounds in many famous films: “Bruce Almighty”, “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me”, “Vanilla Sky” and others.

One of Us Lyrics

If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to his face?
If you were faced with Him in all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see if, seeing meant
That you would have to believe in things like heaven
And in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

Just tryin’ to make his way home
Like back up to heaven all alone
Nobody callin’ on the phone
‘Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

Just tryin’ to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just tryin’ to make his way home
Nobody callin’ on the phone
‘Cept for the Pope maybe in Rome

One of Us lyrics by Joan Osborne

If God had a name, what would it sound like?
Could you call him by his first name?
If you would meet Him in all His glory,
What would you ask, having the right to only one question?

And yes, yes, God is great
Yes, yes, God is good
And yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
What if God were one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Who’s trying to get home?

If God had a face, what would it look like?
And you would want to see him if after that
Would you have to believe in things like heaven?
And in Jesus, and in the saints, and in all the prophets?

And yes, yes, God is great
Yes, yes, God is good
And yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
What if God were one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Who’s trying to get home?

Who’s trying to get home
As if returning to heaven alone
Nobody’s on the phone
Maybe other than the pope

And yes, yes, God is great
Yes, yes, God is good
And yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
What if God were one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Who’s trying to get home?

Just trying to get home
Like a holy tumbleweed
Returns to heaven alone
Just trying to get home
Nobody’s on the phone
Maybe other than the pope

Song quote

I wrote this song – I’ve never written another song so quickly – one night to impress a girl. Which worked because we got married and had two kids.

Eric Basilian

Buy Me A Coffee
Rate article
Add a comment