One
by U2

Album: Achtung Baby (1991)
Charted: 7 10
  • Is it getting better
    Or do you feel the same?
    Will it make it easier on you now?
    You got someone to blame

    You say one love, one life (One life)
    It's one need in the night
    One love (one love), get to share it
    Leaves you darling, if you don't care for it

    Did I disappoint you?
    Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
    You act like you never had love
    And you want me to go without

    Well it's too late, tonight
    To drag the past out into the light
    We're one, but we're not the same
    We get to carry each other
    Carry each other

    One, one
    One, one
    One, one
    One, one

    Have you come here for forgiveness?
    Have you come to raise the dead?
    Have you come here to play Jesus?
    To the lepers in your head
    Well, did I ask too much, more than a lot?
    You gave me nothing, now it's all I got
    We're one, but we're not the same
    See we hurt each other, then we do it again
    You say love is a temple, love is a higher law
    Love is a temple, love is a higher law
    You ask me of me to enter, but then you make me crawl
    And I can't keep holding on to what you got, 'cause all you got is hurt

    One love
    One blood
    One life
    You got to do what you should
    One life
    With each other
    Sisters and my brothers
    One life
    But we're not the same
    We get to carry each other, carry each other

    One, one
    One, one

    One
    One love, one life Writer/s: Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Larry Mullen, Paul David Hewson
    Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 75

  • Alexis C from Ca“You ask me to enter, within you make me crawl” makes me think of a relationship that went bad -she wants you but but it makes you suffer- “well I can’t be holding on, to what you got, when all you got is hurt” to me not being able to hold on means you’d be better off without her because of all the suffering you would have to go through to stay with her wich explains how I interpreted (all you got is hurt) and then U2 procedes with saying how you have one life and you should look for positive relationships. (That’s just my interpretation of the song)
  • Scott from NjOn The Edge's radio show on SiriusXM (Jul 2, 2020), he said the background to the song was about a gay son coming out to his father. It's not that the gay community heard it that way...it's that it was the context for the lyrics...which have since gone on to be interpreted differently.
  • Nick from La Paz, BoliviaTo me, this is the perfect heartbreak/redemption song. It's timeless as it is beautiful. Truly, a masterpiece.
  • Jimmy Wooldridge from Hull One is just heart wrenging. Even now years later just a beautiful written song. Saw them do it live in Montreal Canada. Just an awesome version. Sang it brilliant, and get this: he had sore throat and virus at the time, still did it brilliant though. Then sang Kite right after it. Just awesome.
  • P.a from Co. Spgs., CoVery pretty yet melancholy tune. My take on it is the age old philosiphical question is "one", aloneor united the better human condition? For instance, Bono or Edge were alone with composing " One" and/or the motivation/inspiration for one or both was another loved human. Which came first the chicken or the egg? Do we need both or either to compose a primo song, or have a good life? I totally love the intelligence , musicianship of U2.
  • Kunal Somaiya from Mumbai, IndiaMentioned Beatles and John Lennon seperately koz of the Paul McCartney factor..
  • Kunal Somaiya from Mumbai, IndiaSorry Rolling Stones, Sorry Beatles, Sorry John Lennon, Sorry Bob Dylan, Sorry Led Zeppelin! This is the Greatest song ever written! Pure Class, Rather a Perfect Break up song.
  • Tim from Greenwood, ScAt the bottom of the lyric page it credits Phillip Baily and Maurice White as the writers. SURELY NOT! Can someone correct this please.
  • Mike from Saint Petersburg, FlThis song is my number ONE song I have ever heard.....What it means to me is I have only "One Love, One Blood and One Life". u2 is not everybody's Favorite. However u2 has been heard by fans, protesters, politicians’, corporations and simple people across the Globe. Not many Bands continue to play Concerts, stay together and give $ away to different causes.
    There are many Bands across the World who take the money and sit on their ass, spend time in jail or rest on a Beach and retire. That’s why u2 is the most recognized Band in the World. They are a Special ONE, to me !
  • Brian from Boston, MaGreat guitar. Simple but great
  • Steph from Toronto, PeI have heard Bono say in more than one interview that it was about the possible break up of the band during a difficult period for them. "We're one, but we're not the same." = We're in a band together, but we're not the same people, we're bound to disagree. It's a beautiful and sometimes chilling song that has different meaning to all, but that's the point. When you are an artist, be it visual or musical or in any other capacity, the point is to create a reaction, a feeling. Any reaction, good or bad, but a reaction. I think with all the comments posted here, U2 can feel sure that they created a reaction. The meaning of the song is your own and that's how the band would want you to feel.
  • Kenny from Remsenburg, NyYears ago Axl Rose stated how much the song meant to him that he either did or considered sending Bono a note about it.. Axl also stated he'd like to cover it some day.....
  • Steve from Binghamton, NyTo finish the thought--- it seems to me that some of the song is someone finding out that the certitude of a particular religion, and the black-and-white exclusivity of the same, wasn't any source of comfort in a time of deep emotional turmoil.
  • Steve from Binghamton, NyI think on some level, this song is addressed to God, and that someone's faith was pretty badly shaken when it wasn't helping him get through a really tough time.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe best song U2 has ever created!
  • Stefanie from Philadelphia, PaSeems to have religious overtones to me especially the end as so many U2 songs do. Christian sites love U2. Their history lends itself to the possibility that many of their songs are a struggle with religious ideas. I think this is part of the beauty and poetry of their lyrics though not Christian myself.
  • Jeff from Casa Grande, AzTry this: while listening to this song and paying strict attention to the lyrics, think about the conflict between the two Christian faiths (very touchy in Ireland) of Catholicism and Protestantism. The words will jump right out at u2.
  • Eb from Orlando Metro, FlThis song and Annie Lennox's "Why" both remind me of a difficult time in my marriage. They just seem to say what I felt. They are darkly beautiful songs, so powerful.
  • Simon from London, EnglandIf you need an explanation of love gone bad, then listen to this. Captured perfectly, as always.
  • Terry from Ottawa, CanadaDoes anyone know how few people really care about how you interpret this admittedly great song? Part of a good song is not hearing it through other people's ears, so to speak.
  • Bill from Seattle, WaGive Mary J. Blige a break :) She "R&B'd" this song up and opened it up to an entirely new audience. She also sang the hell out of it in live performances with the band. Bono loves her, and was a bit in awe of how strong her voice is. The girl can blow!
  • Bill from Seattle, WaThis song was "inspired" by Edge's divorce. It's not a love song, and the band has always been shocked that people play it at their weddings... it's about love gone bad. In spite of the bitterness of the song, I've always found there to be a wrinkle of hope contained therein. I like the notion of "we're one, but we're not the same" to be a good message for any type of relationship. We're all different, but we can deal with each other. Unfortunately that wasn't the case in Edge's first marriage.
  • Kevin from Springfield, PaThis is the best song ever written. It has so many different meanings. Howie Day's version is a good cover.
  • Mark from Worcester, Mian all timer. A worthy entry in the debate of greatest song by a rock and roll band.
  • Sunshine from Houston, TxThis is one of my favorite songs ever!!! It's a work of art!
    Did anyone else think that Mary J. Blige butchered this song?
  • Fabricio from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaThis has to be the only song (and maybe we will rock you) that U2 fans and not U2 fans and practically everybody sing along whether they like it or not. I think that towards the is the real "anthem" part: ONE Love One Blood ONE Life You Got To do What You Should ONE Life With Each Other SISTERS BROTHERS.
    I also love the video with the buffaloes.
  • Acrobat from Adelaide, AustraliaI love this song...big time. As simple a sounding song it sounds, it is a B*TCH to learn to play and pull apart. I know Bono does the chords, but the riffs are spun out... simple, yet complex. It has taught me new respect for the awesomeness that is The Edge... and taught my guitar teacher The Edge does truly rock!

    Ahh, a convert in my midst >:)
  • Joys from Dublin, IrelandThe facts at the top are wrong, the music actually came from a riff written for Ultraviolet (Light My Way), not Mysterious Ways.
  • Grayson from Cleveland, OhGreatest song ever. period.
  • Lee from Dublin, IrelandSean from England, you're right dude. It's about Edge's break up. In respect I won't go any further into it since it's personal to him and the band. It can also be attributed to father/son, the gay issue, the aids issue if you like, but the reality is the words were primarily written about Edge's marriage break up. Funnily enough she walked by me the other day, strange.
  • Tobias from El Paso, TxOne... what a great song. So much feeling and emotion. I see the song as an HONEST love song. The song discusses the struggles a couple has..."Is it getting better, or do you feel the same, will it make it easier on you now, you've got somone to blame" and "you ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl". But shows how the couple works together for "One life, One Love" He also says "We're one, but we're not the same, we've got to carry eachother carry eachother' ONE!!! A relationship is never perfect. there will be arguements and there may be times we "drag the past out into the light", but in the end we are ONE. Tobias
  • Tearsofblood from Nowhere That Concerns YouAlex Band from The Calling did a fantastic cover of this. When I heard the first few lines of it, I wasn't sure I'd like it, it's more rocky than the U2 version and the tempo is different but once you get over that, it's abosolutely fantastic, in my mind. Anyone who can get a hold of it who is a fan of both U2 and The Calling, I suggest you do so. I came across it on www.youtube.com.
  • Sam from Provo, Utthe version of this song on live 8 is incredible!
  • Jennifer from Belfast, IrelandI liked Johnny Cash's version. It's not the best song he ever did but there's something very moving about how he sings.
  • Saguaro from Phx, AzThe song to me can only be about "One" thing and that is America's reaction to AIDS. Put it in that context and every lyric makes sense. Bono has been very critical of America's role in the world because he knows that the greatest country in the world has the ability to accomplish just about anything. When AIDS hit, the US ignored it. "Will it make it easier on you now That you got someone to blame" refers to the US calling it a cancer for gays, blaming them for AIDS. But before they knew it, it was "too late" to start recognizing the problem and it spread into every community in every country. And the references to the temple and the higher law again references America?s religious and how they should have been the first to come out with compassion but instead were the most indifferent and still are today. It?s a great song, but I don?t see how it can be about anything else.
  • T. Michels from Venlo, NetherlandsBeautiful song! The fact that 'our' Anton Corbijn, who olso did some video's for Depeche
    Mode, directed it makes it even more special.
    Funny fact is that the old man you see in the video, that priest-like man, is Bono's father. A very special appearance, not only because of their relation but olso because Bono and his father never got along very well.
    The 2006 version with Mary J. Blidge, I couldn't believe that U2 gave permission for her to 'cover' it. It's horrible!
    No, I'm happy with the U2 version. Much better!
  • Tam from Baton Rouge, LaI love this song not only for its beautiful, poetic lyrics, but also for the heart-wrenching chord progression. The way it starts out so bare and simple and builds into this voice screaming to be heard. It almost sneaks up on you. Musical perfection if there ever was.
  • Eric from Warwick, RiI think Johnny Cash's version isn't bad, but then again, he's the man
  • Veto from Delft, NetherlandsThe drag video was directed by the famous Dutch music photographer Anton Corbijn, who has always had a close relation with the band.
  • Lanto from Swansea, WalesMary Jane whatever kills this song, u2 by themselves should be the only people to sing this song in my opinion.
  • Sunset from London, United StatesThe group Lighthouse Family used the chorus of One for their hit FREE released 2002. Free is a great song, take your time to listen it. FREE by LIGHTHOUSE FAMILY
  • Matt from Los Angeles, CaJust wanted to say, that sometimes in concert there's an extra verse which is something like 'You here me coming lord, you here me call, hear me knocking, I'm knocking at your door. You hear me coming lord, you hear me scratching, will you make me crawl?'

    When they performed the song at Live8, they included that verse, but all the 'me's' got changed to 'us', which struck me as referring to the third world in general.
  • Paty from Mexico,city, MexicoI love this song this is my favorite, Bono, Larry, Adam, The Edge, you are great.
  • Trippy Rock from Llantwit Fardre, United Statesthis is really beautiful, i love the love is a temple love a higher law part.
  • Ruy from Campinas, BrazilI remember an interview with Bono at the time this song came out. The USSR had split up a little over one year before, and there was a cosmonaut at the russian space station whom none of the resulting independent republics wanted to take responsibility for. IIRC, Bono said that the situation was exactly what he was talking about in "One": we are one world, one species, one mankind. That cosmonaut might as well be shouting "Hey, I know you are all independent nations now, with budgetary problems and social unrest to solve. But you know what? I'm running out of air and food here, which are much more immediate issues! Get me out of this tin can! I'm one of you, no matter what!" Yet another great way to interpret this work of beauty, IMHO.
  • Jeff from Ft Lauderdale, FlI suppose songs can be interpreted by each individual the way they hear it, but for me this song was about a relationship following apart--both sides know it and either can't or don't know how to stop the end from coming.
    It came out about the time my 2nd marriage was falling apart.

    "...you act like you never had love and you want me to go without..."
  • Trenton from Minneapolis , MnBono said in an interview with Rollign Stone that this song was aobut many things, a gay coming out, relationships betwen the band, marriage ect. He also said that there is allot of anger and rage in the song and that he can't under why people get married to the song.
  • Spencer from Lexington, ScYou ask me to enter
    But then you make me crawl
  • Shehryar from Islamabad, Pakistanone morning i woke up and it dawned upon me that i no longer had a girlfriend. i was young, and in love. i must have played this song about 50 times that morning. then i turned the lights on, and got on with life.

    the best song ever. to this day, i cant listen to it without getting goosebumps. honest.
  • Marlow from Perthvery beautiful song this!
  • Trenton from Minneapolis , MnThis right now is my favorite U2 song of all time. "You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl" is one of the best lines I've heard in a song.
  • Rick from Humboldt, IaI used to think that this was a song that wasn't catchy but was just written beautifully. I now know after listening to it so many times that it is impossible not to sing along.
  • Roger from Los Angeles, CaBono has said this song is about a relationship that went bad. He said that he thought it was sorta funny how people use this song at weddings.
  • Scott from Columbus, OhI always considered this song to mean the relationship between the band itself. They have gone through their struggles the way nearly all bands do, yet they stick in there for what they have built together and beleive in and that's their music; "Were one, but were not the same, we get to carry each other, carry each other...ONE"

    Either way you slice it, it's a very applicable song to many situations and beautiful in all of them.

    -Scott
  • Antonio from Granada, SpainAxl Rose, from Gun´s n Roses, once said that this song helped him get over depression.
    Asong to be listened to in loneliness.
  • Grant from Annandale, VaIt is amazing that people actually play this song at their weddings--would you listen to the words? I accept people taking different interpretations of songs, but how can lyrics like "You gave me nothing, now it's all I got" or "You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl" be interpreted as joyous? Furthermore, how can you say this song is about the reuinification of cultures? This is a personal song--examine the aforementioned lyrics, as well as "You act like you never had love, and you want me to go without." Q Magazine had it right when they named this the greatest song ever. Absolute poetry. Full of regret, sorrow, pain, and hope at the same time.
  • Marius from Lüneburg, Germanyits about living together, no matter on differences
    great ballad
  • Hannah from Miami, FlThis song is so deep. I also always thought of it as the artist adressing someone that had hurt him, done him wrong, yet that the artist had forgiven. A relationship that shows that it's sometimes hurts more to hold on than it does to let go ("You ask me to enter But then you make me crawl And I can't be holding on To what you got When all you got is hurt"). A father-son relationship in which the father had been absent alot during the sons childhood always came to mind.
    "Did I disappoint you?
    Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?"
  • Ross from Independence, MoThis is #33 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.
  • Hannahbaby from Eugene, OrMy dad-who is a huge U2 fan- told me this song is about a boy telling his father he was gay and that the dad didn't speak to him until the son was in the hospital dying of aids. With that story in mind the lyrics make perfect sense. The 1st part being like the dialog between the 2 of them. Then "well it's too late, tonight, to drag the past out into the light, We're one, But we're not the same" Then the part "have you come here for forgiveness" the son asking his dad why he waited until he was dying to speak to him. This song is about accepting people for who they are, no matter what that is. 'One life, With eachother'
  • Dave from Millington, NjI've also thought it clear that U2 is singing about the reunification of Germany and the assimilation of the eastern and western cultures. They wrote the song in Berlin; the video features battered old German cars; and mot importantly, there are the lyrics. Reread them with the thought of how difficult it was for East and West Germans to understand one another shortly after the wall came down.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtJamie, I agree - I also love "Miracle Drug". Though it's not one of their greatest, How To Dismantale An Atomic Bomb is very good.
  • Katty from Saskatoon, Canadai actually love this song...the music and the lyrics are so deep and beautiful and they can mean so many things, this way i think that anyone could relate to it one way or another.
  • Jamie from Bethesda, Md"You ask me to enter..But then you make me crawl"

    What a phenominal lyric---it gives me chills listenting to this.

    "Bad" was my favorite U2 Song until "One" came out with Actung Baby.

    One of my new favorite U2 songs is "miracle drug"
  • Alvin from Sioux Center, IaI dislike Johnny Cash's cover.
  • Chris from Kingston, OtherThe version of the video that was filmed in Europe (U2 in drag version), includes Bono's late father. Look closely, he's the older man standing behind the couch, where Bono (in drag) is sitting down. There is a close up shot of him too.
  • Shoshannah from Seattle, WaWhen asked what my favorite song of all time is, that's impossible to answer--but this song is definitely one that comes to mind. I identify with it more than any song I've ever heard.
  • Jack Lee from Nottingham, EnglandThe people I know that have covered this are - REM, Johnny Cash, Robbie Williams and Howie Day
  • Pauline from Edmonton, CanadaCovered by Johnny Cash on his American III album.
  • Sean from Middlesex, EnglandI'm pretty sure Bono wrote this song about the break-up of The Edge's marriage....which was going on a the time.
    Problaby the best pop/rock ballard about love-lost etc, ever written.
  • J from Spokane, WaI think this song might also be a message to not let life pass you by because you only have "one life" and you should make the most of what you have.
  • Alejandro from Mexico D.f., Mexicoin the popmart tour version from mexico city this was dedicated to michael hutchence... when bono sung "have you como here for forgiveness... or you como to raised the dead" he was almost crying...
  • John from Madison, WiI heard this was the only song on the Achtung Baby album that Brian Eno did not like, in fact he hated it. Ironically it was the albums biggest hit.
  • Debora from Florence, Italyabsolutely beautiful.
    i think this is a song about friendship and universal love
  • Mili from Milwaukee, WiI have never been able to identify with an artistic work like I have with this song. Bono's sense of urgency and calmness in delivering this is unparalleled. Bravo.
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