Once (Nightwish album)

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Studio album by Nightwish
Released June 7, 2004
Recorded 2003–2004
Genre Symphonic metal, power metal
Length 60:07
Label Nuclear Blast, Spinefarm, Roadrunner
Producer Tuomas Holopainen, Tero Kinnunen
Nightwish chronology
Century Child
Dark Passion Play
Singles from Once
  1. "Nemo"
    Released: April 19, 2004
  2. "Wish I Had an Angel"
    Released: September 15, 2004
  3. "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan"
    Released: November 24, 2004
  4. "The Siren"
    Released: July 25, 2005

Once is the fifth studio album by Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, released on June 7, 2004 by Nuclear Blast, and the last to feature Tarja Turunen on lead vocals. In an interview, Tuomas Holopainen (main song writer of the band) said that it is up to the listener to find out the meaning of the title Once. [1][2]


In 2008 Kerrang! interview Tuomas Holopainen remembered: "Doing this kind of really orchestral, symphonic stuff for four albums, you have to be prepared to take the next step and go 10 steps beyond, and that's how we ended up with the London Session Orchestra. At that time we also had the financial resources to do it. This was like our second breakthrough in a way; Oceanborn (1998) broke us, took us to the big league. Musically it was pretty laid-back from our side because everyone involved in the orchestra really knew their stuff, so we basically spent two days lying on the couch hearing all these people playing our songs, enjoying every moment. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life. The first song they started to play was "Ghost Love Score", we had no idea what to expect, and I just thought: This can't be happening!"[3]


The album continues the more streamlined musical approach first heard on Century Child, moving further away from the power metal-influenced sound of their previous albums into a slightly more mainstream, approachable feel. Once utilizes a full orchestra in nine of the eleven songs on the album; unlike Century Child, Nightwish chose an orchestra outside of Finland, the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It is featured in their sixth studio album, Dark Passion Play.[4]

Once is their second album to feature a full-length song in Finnish, "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan".[4] The band added new elements to their music for this album, such as the chorus riff and synthesized drum-beat of "Wish I Had an Angel", and the long Native American prayer chant on "Creek Mary's Blood".[4] The song "Ghost Love Score" is an apt example of the combined work done by the orchestra and Nightwish, which the name hints at.[4]

The angel on the album cover is a view of the Angel of Grief, a sculpture by William Wetmore Story. The original is in the Protestant Cemetery of Rome, Italy. The statue shows an angel crying on the tomb of Story's wife; after his death, Story was buried under the same statue, close to his wife.[4] The making of the album cost nearly €250.000,[5] being, at the time, Finland's most expensive recording of all time, but it was replaced by Dark Passion Play, also by Nightwish, which cost over €500.000 to produce.[1]

The cover of the album is very similar to the cover of 1998's Evanescence EP by Evanescence.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[4]
Rock Hard (de) 9.5/10[6]

During the first week of its release, Once entered the German,[7] Finnish,[8] Norwegian[9] and Greek charts as number one,[10] selling over 80,000 copies in Germany alone.[7] It was also the first Nightwish album to chart in the U.S., reaching #42 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.[11] It was also the band's first album to chart in UK, reaching #8 on the Rock Chart.[12] In 2005, Once was ranked number 383 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[13]

Once has sold triple platinum in Finland, platinum in Germany,[14] gold in Sweden and later reached #1 also in the Hungarian[15] and European album charts.[16] The single "Nemo" topped the charts in Finland[17] and Hungary,[15] and reached the top ten in three additional countries.[7][9][12] "Nemo" therefore remains their most successful single ever, and Once is in number #47 of the best of all time albums in Finland.[18] The total sales of the album have been more than 1 million copies.[2]

The success of the album allowed them to perform the Once Upon a Tour, which enabled them to play in many countries the band had never visited before. Nightwish performed at the opening ceremony of the 2005 World Championships in Athletics, held in Helsinki,[19] highlighting acclaim the band has recently gained.

Track listing[edit]

Standard Edition
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Dark Chest of Wonders"   Tuomas Holopainen 4:29
2. "Wish I Had an Angel" (second single) Holopainen 4:06
3. "Nemo" (first single) Holopainen 4:36
4. "Planet Hell"   Holopainen 4:39
5. "Creek Mary's Blood" (feat. John Two-Hawks) Holopainen 8:30
6. "The Siren" (fourth single) Holopainen & Emppu Vuorinen 4:45
7. "Dead Gardens" (feat. Jouni Hynynen) Holopainen 4:28
8. "Romanticide"   Holopainen & Marco Hietala 4:58
9. "Ghost Love Score"   Holopainen 10:02
10. "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (Finnish for Death Makes an Artist / third single) Holopainen 3:59
11. "Higher Than Hope" (in memory of Marc Brueland) Holopainen & Hietala 5:37
12. "White Night Fantasy" (United States & Platinum Edition bonus track - originally found on the "Nemo" single (Jewelcase version)) Holopainen 4:05
13. "Live to Tell the Tale" (United States & Platinum Edition bonus track - originally found on the "Nemo" single (Digipak version)) Holopainen 4:58

Release history[edit]

Country Date Record Label Catalog Number
Finland 7 June 2004 Spinefarm Records
Australia 5 October 2004[20] Century Media Records
United States
Brazil 15 December 2004
Argentina 12 February 2005 N.A.
Japan 3 December 2008[21] Universal Music Japan UICY-91258

Charts and sales[edit]

Preceded by
To the 5 Boroughs by Beastie Boys
The Cure by The Cure
European Album Chart number-one album
10 July 2004 - 16 July 2004
24 July 2004 - 30 July 2004
Succeeded by
The Cure by The Cure
Anastacia by Anastacia


Credits for Once adapted from liner notes.[36]

The band[edit]


Main crew[edit]

  • Tero Kinnunen — Sound engineer
  • Mikko Karmila — Mixing
  • Mika Jussila — Mastering engineer
  • Pip Williams — Choir and orchestral arrangements
  • Markus Mayer — Cover Artwork
  • Toni Härkönen — Photographies
  • Petteri Tyynelä — Layout


  1. ^ a b "Nightwish release Finland's costliest-ever album". Helsingin Sanomat. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d "The Band - Biography: The history of Nightwish". Nightwish's Official Website. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  3. ^ Ruskell, Nick. Kerrang! August 16, 2008, #1223. Treausre Chest. An Ultimate Portrait of a Life in Rock. Tuomas Holopainen. p 54
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Once- Nightwish". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Interviews at Metal from Finland". Metalfromfinland.com. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ Albrecht, Frank. "Rock Hard review". issue 205. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Charts- Nightwish/LongPlays". PhonoNet. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  8. ^ a b "Once Charts". [1]. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  9. ^ a b c "Extended Search: Nightwish". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  10. ^ a b ""Once" is #1 in Greece". Nightwish's Official Website. 2004-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  11. ^ a b "Nightwish- Once: Charts and Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  12. ^ a b c "NIGHTWISH: 'Nemo' In U.K. Charts For More Than A Year". Blabbermouth.net. 2005-06-04. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  13. ^ [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 56. ISBN 3-89880-517-4. 
  14. ^ "Gold/Platinum: Date bases". Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  15. ^ a b c "Archive: Nightwish". Mahasz. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  16. ^ a b "Number One in Europe". Nightwish's Official Website. 2004-07-18. Retrieved 2009-02-04. 
  17. ^ "Extended Search: Nemo". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  18. ^ Statistics by IFPI Retrieved on 2009-03-17
  19. ^ "Helsingin Sanomat". Helsinki skies open as World Championships get under way. Retrieved December 30, 2005. 
  20. ^ ""Once" Roadrunner release". Nightwish.com. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  21. ^ ""Once" Japan Release". HMV Group. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  22. ^ "Extended Search: Nightwish". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  23. ^ a b "Extended Search: Nightwish". ULTRATOP & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  24. ^ "Extended Search: Nightwish". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  25. ^ "Extended Search: Nightwish". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  26. ^ "Nightwish: Once- Charts". aCharts.us. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  27. ^ "Extended Search: Nightwish". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  28. ^ "Extended Search: Nightwish". Allmusic. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  29. ^ "Gold & Platin: Nightwish". Ifpi.at. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  30. ^ "IFPI Tilastot: Nightwish". Ifpi.fi. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  31. ^ http://www.musikindustrie.de/gold_platin_datenbank/?action=suche&strTitel=Once&strInterpret=Nightwish&strTtArt=alben&strAwards=checked
  32. ^ http://legacy.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=42450
  33. ^ "VG-Lista: Nightwish/Once". Ifpi.no. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  34. ^ "Once Sold Gold in Sweden". Nightwish.com. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  35. ^ "Hitparade". Ifpi.ch. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  36. ^ "The band- Releases:Once (2004)". Nightwish's Official Website. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 

External links[edit]