This was written by Harry Nilsson, a popular songwriter who had hits as a singer with "Everybody's Talkin'" and "Without You." Nilsson was inspired to write "One" from the rhythm of a telephone busy signal that he kept hearing.
This is about loneliness. It was used in the film Recess: School's Out when the character of TJ is lonely and bored after all his friends go to summer camps.
Suggestion credit: Brett - Edmonton, Canada
This was the first song on Three Dog Night's first album. It was one of 21 US Top 40 hits for the group, who did very well with songs written by other artists. Other hits by Three Dog Night include "Joy to the World" (written by Hoyt Axton), "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" (written by Randy Newman) and "The Show Must Go On" (written by Leo Sayer).
Aimee Mann covered this for the 1999 film Magnolia. It was used in the title sequence, and became part of a soundtrack that put Mann back in the spotlight. In the '80s, she was lead singer of the group Til Tuesday.
Three Dog Night had three members at the time that were capable of singing lead vocals. This track went to Chuck Negron.
In Episode 6, "Mistaken Identity" of Season 1 of the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will and Carlton are locked in with a criminal who sings this song at the end of the show.
Suggestion credit: Stephen - Cupertino, CA
This song was used on the Family Guy episode "Brian Wallows And Peter's Swallows," were it was played at a laser show.
Suggestion credit: Sean - Surrey, BC, Canada
The Beta Band did a cover of this (titled "Won") on their album Hot Shots II, which had nothing to do with the movie Hot Shots Part Deux.
Austin from Pathis song was used in the LEGO batman movie right?
Joseph from DenverThree Dog Night could both sing and jam - for evidence of the latter, listen to One Man Band - and for one of the best ballads of all time, listen to pieces of April.
Spencer from ChicagoClint from Mount Vernon, Mo: This song was not in the musical Hair. You're thinking of Easy To Be Hard i think.
Teri from UsaPretty sure they are singing about heroin addiction but hey whatever.
Markantney from BiloxeJun 2015,
Yes Esskayess, it's actually the best episode of that great series to me.
And though when the prisoner sang "One" it was funny, when he sang "McArthur's Park" earlier,..it was one of the funniest things I ever seen on TV. He couldn't been more serious (In delivery) if he were having a Hear Attack:):)
Susan from Atlanta, GeorgiaThanks, Bruce from La Verne, CA -- I was also under the misapprehension that "One" was from "Hair".
Markantney from Biloxi, MsJun 2014: I like looking back at these songs from my youth and reading others that comment on them. I'm SHOCKED this song didn't make it to the top of the Charts? Between this song and the fact Creedence Clearwater Revial NEVER had a #1 Song, lends (ironic) creedence to there indeed isn't a G-O-D and no Heaven:):):) and/or perhaps our government is too powerful and there's a CONspiracy:)
Oh and I'm certain there's a Cooler Name for a Group than "3Dog Night"; I just can't think of one?
OK, Wild Cherry, Average White Band, and Player, just made the list:)
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 27th 1969, "One" by Three Dog Night entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; and on June 22nd it peaked at #5 (for 3 weeks) and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100... It reached #5 on the Canadian RPM Singles chart... As already stated it was composed by Harry Nilsson; and in 1969 he had two Top 100 hits of his own, "Everybody's Talkin'" (peaked at #6) and "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" (reached #34)... Between 1969 and 1975 Three Dog Night had twenty-one Top 100 hits; eleven made the Top 10 with three reaching #1 ("Mama Told Me (Not To Come)" for 2 weeks in 1970, "Joy to the World" for 6 weeks in 1971, and "Black and White" for 1 week in 1972).
Esskayess from Dallas, TxAnyone else here ever see the "Fresh Prince" episode where Will and Carlton are in jail and their fellow prisoner sings "One" as they are released and he's left there alone? Great song and great voice.
Cherie from Huntington Beach, CaBefore Three Dog Night became famous in 1969, they played at my high school, Fountain Valley High School, California. They had a poor turn out because no one had heard of them and their song "One." They became one of my favorite bands and they still are. I wish I had gone to that concert... I have their CD The Best of Three Dog Night, The Millennium Collection, 2000, so I can think back to that time of record players, 33s, 45s and how much I loved their music as a teenager. Cherie, Huntington Beach, CA
Camille from Toronto, OhI agree with Paul from Detroit MI and John from Millersville, MD, Three Dog Night is an under-rated band and some of their songs, classic and capturing special moments in time, have also been under-rated. And I also agree that more of their songs should be showcased on Songfacts, my favorite website to go to for song facts!!!!!!
Richard from Tustin, CaI do love Aimee Mann's version, along with 'Wise Up' on Magnolia, which I just loved, but Chuck Negron, and the build-up to the climax at the end is just...phew! It's amazing. Nillson's is great, too. They really are, all unto themselves, great versions. The true test of a great song, I suppose.
Paul from Detroit, MiLove this one, along with the underated Out in the Country and Celebrate. Many great memories listening to TDN songs.
Rick from Belfast, MeDebra.....I hear you!...a lot of albums from the 60's and 70's had songs that were as good, if not better, than the 45's that were released from the album.....that was a great thing about albums back than......there was no "fluff" or "filler" in between the songs that were released as singles!!!!!!!!!!
Steve from Whittier, CaI didn't know that it was on "House"..I recall Aime Mann's use of it in Magnoliga, though!!!!
Sal from Brentwood, NyThis has been my Favorite song since it came out. I guess I am and always a loner on the inside. Such a great tune.
Debra from Lee's Summit, MoEven though "One" started out being my favorite--TDN had so many more good songs, I'm surprised there are so few on songfacts. "Out In the Country" and "Easy to Be Hard" will always be my personal picks. This is one of the few bands my husband will listen to!
Peter from Seabrook, TxThis is a great song and a very good version. I personally like the author, Harry Nilsson's version better. He sings it slower and with much more feeling. It is a sad song and he sings it that way. Harry Nilsson sings a lot of his songs with great feeling.
Tony from Chicago, IlGreat breakup song!!! love it
Nicholas from Austin, TxAmiee Mann's cover of this song was also in the 2001 film Just Can't Get Enough. The theme of the song parallels perfectly with the movie's central character Steve.
Andrea from Toronto, OnThis song is mistakenly thought to be by The Beatles, occasionally. This is an excellent song, I want everyone to know that it is by a great band.
Bruce from La Verne, CaCorrection for Clint in KC MO...One was NOT in the HAIR soundtrack...it was another Three Dog Night song...Easy To Be Hard
Clint from Mount Vernon, MoThis was originally in the first rock musical "Hair"
Mike from Hueytown , AlThree Dog Night's best song
Henry from Kingston, NyThis song sounds so good, it's a shame that the lyrics are crap. I can't believe Nilsson wrote this.
Jon from Oakridge, OrI like Aimee Mann's cover a lot. Probably even better than the original.
Jim from Dayton, OhThe band Filter recorded this tune and released it as a B-side to "Welcome To The Fold" off their LP "Title Of Record".
Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI really like the singing. and the guitar.
Howard from St. Louis Park, MnA song of isolation. A song of loneliness. It's the song that put Three Dog Night on the musical map. Also memorable is the voice at the end who hed the word "One!"
John from Millersville, MdIn my opinion, the second most udnerrated band ever, behind only Steve Miller. Great song, and no shortage of others like it from these guys.
Confusing from Sydney, AustraliaJohn Farnham's version of the song was released in the same year.
Clare from Hmilton, CanadaI thought this song would have more comments too. Its so good, I especially love the elody. I don't really know why though. However I agree with the rhyming of the word one with itself
Lisa-beth from Tampa, FlI completely love this song. I heard it awhile in a movie (but don't remember what it was), and then yesterday I heard it on 'House' and remembered how much I love it. It's very simple but sad.
Shana from Detroit Rock City, CanadaI love this song, I've known it forever but could never find who actually did it. I thought this song would have more comments about it...weird.
Nickc from Ft. Wayne, InOne of the most brilliant lyrics ever, referencing the fact that you can be just as lonely when you're with someone as when you're by yourself, viz. "Two can be as bad as one / It's the loneliest number since the number one." I won't comment about rhyming the word, "one" with itself. :)
In The Beatles "When I'm 64," Paul McCartney asks a woman if she'll still be there for him when he's 64. In 2006, he got his answer when shortly before his 64th birthday, he and Heather Mills separated.
If counterpoint and polyrhythms are your thing, you might love these guys. Even by Progressive Rock standards, they were one of the most intricate bands of the '70s. Then their lead singer gave us Bon Jovi.