Queen was inspired to write this by their Live Aid appearance in 1985 - millions of people sharing one vision of a better world.
When the band was approached to perform at Live Aid, they were in a rut and reticent to appear. But after their show-stopping performance, they re-entered the studio with renewed energy. They were back in Munich (a place they had previously hit trouble during the Hot Space sessions), but this time spent a lot of time working in the studio, not being distracted by drugs or other distractions - unlike the earlier sessions.
All four band members helped write this. Most Queen songs were written separately, mostly out of a desire to keep writing credits to themselves - Brian May has often hinted in interviews that he was quite possessive of his own songs. But this also made sure their songs didn't all sound alike.
The idea of writing a song together came from Freddie Mercury. He rang the other three members and asked them to come to the studio, where the writing and recording sessions were taped.
The band decided that the song would be credited to all four of them, but it was basically composed by Brian May (chords) and Roger Taylor (lyrics). Freddie Mercury was in charge of production and arrangements, and he polished what the others composed.
This was one of the first times that the band distributed a joint songwriting credit; for their entire career songs had been credited to the original band member who wrote them, even if other band members contributed. For One Vision, the band decided on a joint credit, which would become the norm from next album The Miracle onwards.
The synth part in the intro was played by guitarist Brian May. The weird voice at the start actually says "God moves in mysterious ways," although is often misheard as "on the city streets today."
Suggestion credit: Sebas - Tokyo, Japan, for above 3
The video was the first that Austrian duo The Torpedo Twins directed for Queen. They have worked on many Queen videos since.
In sports videos, this is often used as background music.
This was released as a single before the album was finished.
This was used in the 1986 movie Iron Eagle, starring Louis Gossett, Jr. It was like Top Gun, but not nearly as good.
The final line is an in-joke from Freddie Mercury, where he shouts "Fried chicken!" instead of "one vision." It's likely that this was merely a humorous aside rather than a caustic social commentary.
A documentary was made around the recording of this track, showing the band members working on the song in the studio with producer Mack (who had been working with the band since 1980). It shows the lyrics coming together (Taylor and Mercury discussing various ideas which "won't fit" before coming on "one true religion"), and a hilarious guide vocal take where Mercury sings the alternate lyrics "one dump, one turd, two tits, John Deacon!" in the chorus.
The band were reportedly unhappy with having a documentary crew around, feeling that it forced them to act up to the camera and didn't act naturally as themselves in the studio. Nevertheless, it has been included on many video compilations and the re-release of the A Kind of Magic album.
"One Vision" became the band's de facto opening song for the 1986 Magic tour, considered by many to be the band's finest ever live shows.
Milly from Swansea, United Kingdomthe lyric 'Fried Chicken' was part of a scrapped verse in which Freddie had the idea of saying to give them the Chinese they'd just eaten, it was thought too mad an scrapped, He kinda sneaked it in there.
Irfan from Bekasi, Indonesiathe last line in the song was "Fried Chicken" although it lyric say "One Vision" there's no misheard. This was a result of a prank that Freddie Mercury did in the studio, as the band had fried chicken for tea. Jim Hutton, last lover of Freddie Mercury, says in his book that Freddie Mercury wasn't sure he would include it in the final cut. Jim Hutton encouraged him saying "You are big enough" (to get away with it).
The video even shows John Deacon on the drums. It isn't known if he actually played some drum parts in the song or if it is just visual effect (or joke?).
Lindsay from Coweta, OkRight before he does the fried chicken bit it sounds like he's naming off the (edible) parts of a chicken. :)
Dodo from Hollywood, CaYeah, thank God for the fried chicken line, because the other lyrics sound pretty whacked though they may have originally started out as serious.
Angus from Sydney, AustraliaThis is a top song no doubt. But is it just me or can anyone else hear the resemblence between the music (main guitar)from one vision and that from the rolling stones song start me up. Interested to see if anyone else has picked up on this fact.
Becky from Locust Grove, GaIn an interview with Roger Taylor in (video)"the making of" this song, he claimed the song was originally about MLK, Jr., but of course by the time it was all said and done, the lyrics had been changed and Roger even said "I don't even know now what the hell the song is about."
Tom from Lehigh Acres, Flactually Andy you are correct... all I can add is that fried chicken was finalized as a lyric through the suggestion of freddie's man Jim Hutton who suggested they have enough clout to put such a lyric in a song and get away with it
Jonathon from Clermont, FlThis song is a lot of fun. Gotta love that bit at the end. The intro talks about how God works in mysterious ways and some other stuff, but nothing bad hidden there.
Rosa from Reading, Englandi adore this song. this brought round my facination with chicken lol
Jay from Glen Burnie, MdReportedly, "Fried Chicken" was used because the band had been in the studio all day, and were getting hungry
Nathan from Defiance, OhI always thought Freddie said Fried Chicken, but I couldn't believe it!
Randall from Dallas, TxThere you go... proof that Queen helped invent free-style rap...
Alicia from Tamaqua, PaI love the ending of the song when they sing "just give me give me give me FRIED CHICKEN!" Its a halerious input that Jim Hutton pursuayed Freddie to add. But was later put off as just a joke until Freddie played it for him. And at the end Freddie indeed put in the Fried Chicken Part in it. Very good song and I always crack up at the end.
Rich from London, EnglandThe strange voices at the very beginning of this track are actually a slowed down version of "God works in mysterious ways" - which can be proven by speeding it up. Given that it sounds really ghoulish, some people have come to relate it to the devil.
Dee from Indianapolis, InWhen this song came out I fell in love with it. Of course Queen just knows how to put out music that no one else can even come close to reproducing. I really wish I could've seen them while Freddie was still alive. Their songs are timeless and they still sound just as good now as they did originally.
Freddie from Orlando, FlThe Fried chicken thing was funny. They were like in the studio and they haddent made up all the words yet... so like Fred had to kind of BS it when the were practacing... and it sounded a little like this: " da da da da da da dadada. One shirt that fits- John Deacon.... woahwoahwoahwoah yeah!! woah yeah! woah YEAH! one CHICKEN! One Sex postion....." you know... lol it was really funny actually.
Marsha from Fort Worth, TxThis song, along with several other Queen songs from this album, were used in the film and promo album for the movie "Highlander." However, most of the tracks are in a different form than on the "A Kind of Magic" album.
Brian from Medford, OrFrom what I've seen recently, Roger Taylor did the initial set of lyrics for it and based them on Martin Luther King Jr. But after the band tweaked them around to fit the music, they aren't quite as direct meaning wise now.
Sandra from Tel Aviv, IsraelIn the video for the song, right before the bridge ("I had a dream..."), you can see Mike Moran, who later produced Freddie Mercury's solo albums and played piano for his Barcelona album, a duet album with the Spanish opera diva Montserratte Caballe.
Andy from Halifax, EnglandThe final line, Freddie sings the words "Fried chicken" instead of what almost certainly should be the climax of shouting "one vision". While in the studio, the band made numerous versions different 'spoof' versions of the song with altered lyrics. One of there turned the song into a shopping list. As a joke, and to confirm that they were not 'taking themselves too seriously' they left this line in the final version of the song.