Meaning of One by Metallica & The Story Behind

The famous rock ballad One  by Metallica would not have been born if, in the early thirties of the last century, the American writer Dalton Trumbo had not read a newspaper article about a soldier terribly maimed during the First World War.

Influenced by that story, he wrote the anti-war novel Johny Got His Gun, which won the National Literary Award, but also brought the author a lot of trouble from the government.

The story of creation and the meaning of the song One by Metallica

The novel was read by James Hetfield and was so impressed that, together with Lars Ulrich, he wrote the song One based on the work. It conveys the thoughts of the protagonist, deprived of limbs and almost all senses as a result of the injury, which makes him a prisoner in his own body. But at the same time, he retains clarity of thought. All that remains for him is to pray to God for a speedy death.

The title of the song One was inspired by a passage from a novel in which an unfortunate cripple muses about how likely it is that one can survive without losing such a large part of the body. He comes to the conclusion that at least one in a million, and he was unlucky to become that one.

The musical accompaniment of the song included the sounds of shots and explosions, as well as the noise of a helicopter (the latter is considered by many to be inappropriate in a song dedicated to a soldier who participated in the First World War, when such equipment was not yet available).

Release and achievements

The song One was released as the last single from the album …And Justice for All. She climbed to number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. The composition became the most popular track from this record, and since then Metallica has been constantly performing it at concerts.

In 1990, One received a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.

Video of One by Metallica

One was the band’s first song to feature a video clip. It uses many footage from the film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun, directed by Dalton Trumbo. In addition to the full version of the clip, there are two shortened versions.

Cover versions

One has been recorded by Korn, Apocalyptica, Die Krupps and other bands.

Interesting Facts

  • James Hetfield said that he borrowed the idea of ​​the musical introduction from the song Buried Alive by the rock band Venom.
  • One is the fourth most played song by Metallica.
  • It was the band’s first single to be recorded with bassist Jason Newsted.
  • The song One is included in the computer game Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, where it is considered the second most difficult song.
  • Listeners of the New Zealand radio station The Rock several times recognized the composition One as the best rock song of all time.
  • Readers of Guitar World magazine ranked One’s Kirk Hammett solo seventh on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

Lyrics of One by Metallica

I can’t remember anything
Can’t tell if this is true or dream
Deep down inside I feel the scream
This terrible silence stops it there
Now that the war is through with me
I’m waking up, I can’t see
That there’s not much left of me
Nothing is real but pain now

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please god, wake me

Back in the womb it’s much too real
In pumps life that I must feel
But can’t look forward to reveal
Look to the time when I’ll live
Fed through the tube that sticks in me
Just like a wartime novelty
Tied to machines that make me be
Cut this life off from me

Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please god, wake me

Now the world is gone I’m just one
Oh god help me
Hold my breath as I wish for death
Oh please god, help me

Darkness imprisoning me
All that I see
Absolute Horror
I cannot live
I cannot die
Trapped in myself
Body my holding cell

Landmines has taken my sight
Take my speech
Take my hearing
Take my arms
Take my legs
Take my soul
Left me with life in hell

One Lyrics by Metallica Alternate

I remember nothing,
Can’t tell if this is reality or a dream
Deep in my soul I feel a cry
This terrible silence drowns him out there.
Now that the war is done with me
I wake up I can’t see
What’s left of me is not much
Now only the pain is real

I held my breath waiting for death
Oh please God wake me up

Back in the womb – it’s all too real
In the pumps the life I must feel
But I can’t look forward to
The time when I will live
They feed me through a tube that sticks out in me
Such is the novelty of wartime
Tied to the machines that make me exist
Disconnect this life from me

I held my breath waiting for death
Oh please God wake me up

Now the world is gone and I’m all alone
Oh God help me
I held my breath waiting for death
Oh please God help me

I am enclosed in darkness
All I see is
Absolute horror
I can not live
I cannot die
Captivated by myself
My body is a camera

The mines took my sight
They took my voice
They took my hearing
They took my hands
They took my legs
They took my soul
Left me with a life in hell

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