|Single by The Wallflowers|
|from the album Bringing Down the Horse|
|B-side||"6th Avenue Heartache" (Acoustic)
"Angel on My Bike"
|Released||February 24, 1997|
|Format||CD, 7" vinyl|
|Length||5:13 (Album Version)
4:38 (Single Version)
|The Wallflowers singles chronology|
"One Headlight" is a song performed by American band The Wallflowers. The song was written by lead singer Jakob Dylan, and produced by T-Bone Burnett. It was released on February 24, 1997 via Interscope Records, as the second single from the band's 1996 album, Bringing Down the Horse. In 2000, the song was listed at #58 on Rolling Stone and MTVs list of "100 Greatest Pop Songs of All Time".
The lyrics tell a fragmentary story about a former friend and her death, and the singer's emotions in the aftermath. The use of strong words and images and the incomplete story have resulted in many different interpretations of the song, which include suicide, drug abuse, death of a lover, death of one's mother, having breast cancer and/or depression.
Jakob Dylan, the lead singer and songwriter of The Wallflowers, has said that the song is about "the death of ideas" and that the many metaphors and images in the lyrics were not meant to be taken literally. Dylan explains that he and the band had very little support when they were putting together the record, hence the shout-out "c'mon try a little." The last two lines of the chorus "we can drive it home / with one headlight" are a reference to how the band were able to get through with their ideas despite being hindered (i.e. with one headlight) by the lack of support.
The song won Grammy Awards in 1998 in the categories Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. It was named "Best Video" for 1996 in a VH1 poll. The song was performed live on the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards with Bruce Springsteen, where the music video was nominated four times, including for "Viewer's Choice". The song would reach number 58 in MTV and Rolling Stone's 2000 list "The 100 Greatest Pop Songs Since the Beatles" and was The Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll's 36th best song of the year.
|1998||Grammy Awards||Best Rock Song||Won|
|Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Won|
A music video directed by Joe Perota was shot for the song and premiered in early 1997.
- "One Headlight" (Edit) – 4:38
- "6th Avenue Heartache" (Acoustic) – 4:57
- "Angel on My Bike" (Live) – 4:46
Although the song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 due to the chart rules at the time, the song was a significant radio hit in the US. It spent five weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart and a total of 59 weeks on this ranking. It also was the first song to top these three Billboard airplay charts: Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, Hot Modern Rock Tracks, and Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks.
All US charts published by Billboard.
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay||2|
|U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40||1|
|U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary||30|
|U.S. Billboard Mainstream Top 40||2|
"Blow Up the Outside World" by Soundgarden
|Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
February 1 – March 1, 1997
"Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees)" by Aerosmith
"You Were Meant for Me" by Jewel
|Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks number-one single
May 24 – June 21, 1997
"Sunny Came Home" by Shawn Colvin
- Country singers Lisa Brokop and Paul Jefferson recorded the song on their 2011 album, The Jeffersons, released in Canada.
- Relient K covered this song for inclusion on their 2011 EP, Is for Karaoke.
- John Craigie covered it on his album Leave the Fire Behind.
- Rolling Stone & MTV: '100 Greatest Pop Songs': 51-100 (compiled by VH1 in 2000)
- Songfacts: One Headlight by The Wallflowers
- "Rolling Stone & MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs: 51-100". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- "VH1: Videos: The Wallflowers: One Headlight". VH1. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 665.
- "The Wallflowers Song Chart History - One Headlight". Billboard (magazine). Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- "The Wallflowers Song Chart History - One Headlight". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- "Australian-charts.com – The Wallflowers – One Headlight". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
- "Top Singles - Volume 65, No. 5, April 07 1997". RPM. Retrieved 2011-06-20.