This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009)
|Single by Harry Nilsson|
|from the album Aerial Ballet|
|Harry Nilsson singles chronology|
"One" is a song by American singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson from his 1968 album Aerial Ballet. It is known for its opening line "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do". Nilsson wrote the song after calling someone and getting a busy signal. He stayed on the line listening to the "beep, beep, beep, beep..." tone, writing the song. The busy signal became the opening notes.
A better-known cover version, recorded by Three Dog Night, reached number five on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 and number four in Canada. In 1969, the song was also recorded by Australian pop singer Johnny Farnham, reaching number four on the Go-Set National Top 40 Chart.
Three Dog Night version
|Single by Three Dog Night|
|from the album Three Dog Night|
|Three Dog Night singles chronology|
Three Dog Night released One as the second single from their eponymous first album. It became their first of seven gold records over the next five years.
The original issue of the single version fades out about ten seconds before the final notes heard on the album version. Upon reissues by ABC Records and its successor labels, the label reverted to the album version which is heard on radio today.
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||1,000,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Many cover versions have been recorded. Among the most notable are:
- Johnny Farnham released "One" as a double-sided single with "Mr. Whippy" in 1969, reaching number four in Australia.
- US rock band Filter recorded a version of the song in 1998 for the first X-Files movie, re-interpreting the lyrics towards the show's main antagonist, the Cigarette Smoking Man. The song was first released on The X-Files: The Album and later featured as a bonus track on the German release of their album Title of Record in 1999.
- A cover by Aimee Mann is used in the 1999 film Magnolia. The song is the opening track for the movie's soundtrack album. This version is also used in the In Plain Sight season 5 episode 4 'The Merry Wives of WitSec'.
- "Playlist: Best Harry Nilsson songs for what would be his 75th birthday". Azcentral.com. June 16, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Coleman, Mark; Matos, Michaelangelo (2004). "Harry Nilsson". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 586–587. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Harry Nilsson – Everybody's Talkin' [BMG]". AllMusic. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
- "One (song by Three Dog Night) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Nimmervoll, Ed (September 13, 1969). "National Top 40". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Moore, Rick (2017). "Three Dog Night, "One"". American Songwriter. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
"Nilsson's 'One' was very melancholy, lacked passion," he said. "It was a song sang to the beat of a busy signal … We turned that into a rock and roll song.
- Pitchfork Staff (August 18, 2006). "The 200 Best Songs of the 1960s". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
I grew up on Three Dog Night's R&B bombast so returning to Harry's original I forget how wispy and ethereal this tune could be.
- "Cash Box Top 100 7/19/69". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2013.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "RPM's Top 100 of 1969". RPM. January 10, 1970.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1969/Top 100 Songs of 1969". www.musicoutfitters.com.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1969". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
- "American single certifications – Three Dog Night – One". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Go-Set National Top 40, 11 October 1969".
- Review of "One" on allmusic.com