One Vision

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"One Vision"
One vision.jpg
Single by Queen
from the album A Kind of Magic and Iron Eagle
B-side"Blurred Vision"
Released4 November 1985
FormatVinyl record (7", 12")
GenreHard rock[1]
  • 4:02 (Single version)
  • 6:28 (12" 'extended vision')
  • 5:11 (Album version)
  • 4:38 (Classic Queen version)
Queen singles chronology
"Thank God It's Christmas"
"One Vision"
"A Kind of Magic"

"One Vision" is a song written and recorded by the British rock band Queen, first released as a single in November 1985 and then included on their 1986 album A Kind of Magic. It was originally conceived by Roger Taylor.[2][3]

The song has been speculated to be inspired by either the band's "show-stopping" performance at Live Aid earlier in 1985, or by the life and exploits of Martin Luther King, with the lyrics recounting a man battling and overcoming the odds.[3] In the 2011 BBC documentary, Queen: Days of Our Lives, Taylor stated his lyrics were "sort of half nicked off Martin Luther King's famous speech."[4] The song's music video featured a "morphing" effect of the band's famous pose in 1975's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video to a 1985 version of the same pose. The song was included in all Queen's live concert performances of The Magic Tour, as the first song of each concert.[5] They claimed they chose "One Vision" as the introduction song because its intro made a perfect concert introduction.


Distorted vocals, intro and coda[edit]

The opening of "One Vision" contains altered (pitch-shifted) vocal sounds (which on the album and extended versions, also appear throughout Roger Taylor's drum section and in the end), most prominently the vocals retained in the single version.

The most prominent vocals of this type relay alternate lyrics when played forwards—they say, "God works in mysterious ways... mysterious ways...". It is clearly shown during the portions of the studio recording session of "One Vision" on both the Magic Years documentary and the DVD Greatest Video Hits II that Freddie Mercury sings the line.

There are various other altered vocal sounds as well but what exactly they say is not yet known. Even more pitch-shifted vocals appear in "Blurred Vision". Finally, a version of the beginning pitch-shifted vocal sounds followed by other altered vocals without any music playing over them, appears in the soundtrack of The eYe video game, as Track 05 on CD 2 (The Works Domain).

Also, the live versions of the song included a different version of the intro, which starts like the single version intro, but later changes into the album version intro, but repeats the section after the vocals "Ii" near the end.

The VHS version of the 12 July Wembley show has the first part of the middle instrumental section of the studio version of "Brighton Rock" instead of the initial pitch-shifted vocals. The version of the song from the 11 July Wembley show is now included on the Queen Live at Wembley Stadium 25th Anniversary Edition DVD and the A Kind of Magic 2011 Deluxe CD. This version of the intro has never been used with a studio version of the song so far.

The progressive synthesiser music from the last part of the intro is repeated in the "I had a dream" section, complete with the last elongated note.

The ending or outro varies from version to version. In the single version, it's a simple "Vision vision vision..." echo, while the album version adds to it some synthesiser music, a random bit of altered vocal sounds and the prominent beginning pitch-shifted vocals. "Blurred Vision" adds an even longer version of the elongated note ending the normal song's intro, and a random pitch-shifted vocal.

The ending in the 1986 live versions is a flourish which varies from performance to performance but still maintaining the same basic pattern, although parts of it to the synthesizer music from the album version's ending.

"Fried chicken"[edit]

The final line of the song (in the studio, live, and "Blurred Vision" versions, in the album and extended versions the line before the final "God works in mysterious ways... Mysterious ways...") is "fried chicken", although the lyrics say "one vision". This was the result of trying to come up with the proper wording of the song, and since it was not working, Freddie Mercury at some point introduced words that had nothing to do with the song for fun.[6]

Single B-side[edit]

An extensively remixed version of the song, titled "Blurred Vision" appears as the B-side of both the 7" and 12" single releases. It is exactly the same version on both formats. This is primarily an extended and completely different (but not in structure) version of Taylor's drum section from the A-side. However, it retains the original ending, albeit with a longer version of the music from the end of the original's intro plus an additional non-altered sound over the final vocals "Vision vision vision vision..." (which are like those in the single version). It also repeats the existing famous pitch-shifted vocals, and adds new, less-prominent pitch-shifted vocals.

Chart performance[edit]

"One Vision" became another hit single for Queen in many countries, reaching the top 40 in the Netherlands (number 21), Switzerland (number 24), and West Germany (number 26).[7] It also had minor chart success on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 61,[8] and on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart, peaking at number 76.[9] It became a big hit in the band's native United Kingdom, climbing to number seven on the UK Singles Chart,[10] and in Ireland, where in reached number five.[11] It also peaked at number 10 on Australia's Kent Music Report.[12]

Music video[edit]

The music video to "One Vision" which was recorded in September 1985 mainly showed the band recording the song at Musicland Studios in Munich and was the first to be directed and produced for Queen by Austrian directors Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher, also collectively known as DoRo. DoRo and Queen developed a fruitful working relationship which would result in numerous acclaimed and award-winning videos (for "Innuendo" and "The Show Must Go On", among others).

The video also featured a "morphing" effect of the band's famous pose in 1974's "Queen II" album cover and 1975's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video to a 1985 version of the same pose. The video even shows John Deacon on the drums. There was also a video made to match the 12" inch version of the song which appears on Queen Rocks The Video VHS and Queen: Greatest Video Hits 2 DVD.

Live performances[edit]

Live performances of the song added an additional section in the beginning of the song, right after the guitar riffs without the percussion, and a big finale, which included ad-libbed vocals by Mercury. The ad-libbed vocals were not present on all performances though, the most notable being the performance at the Maimarktgelände in Mannheim, on 21 June 1986.



Chart (1985–1986) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[12] 10
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[7] 28
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[9] 76
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 5
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[13] 21
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[14] 21
Poland (LP3)[15] 33
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 24
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[10] 7
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 61
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[17] 19
West Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 26
Chart (2005) Peak
France (SNEP)[19] 76

Cover versions[edit]

  • "One Vision" has been covered by many artists, the most notable is the German-language cover by the industrial music band Laibach, titled "Geburt einer Nation" ('Birth of a Nation'), which changed the song's feel and mood from the somewhat light-hearted and optimistic original to an industrial, martial anthem. This version also starkly revealed the ambiguity of lines like "One voice one hope/One real decision". It was released in 1987, on the album Opus Dei. A video was also shot for this version, directed by Daniel Landin.
  • English Tenor Alfie Boe and popstar Kimberley Walsh have covered the track as the official song of Team GB representing Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, changing the lyric 'One Man' to 'One Team'.
  • The Protomen covered One Vision, along with other Queen songs, in their A Night of Queen show which was later released as a live album.
  • There is also a version covered by Melanie C live.

In other media[edit]

The song is featured in the film Iron Eagle and its soundtrack album. The version on the Iron Eagle soundtrack is the original single version, which preceded the album version by nearly a year. The song was recorded in September 1985 (according to the "One Vision" documentary found on The Magic Years Vol. 1 VHS and the Greatest Video Hits 2 DVD, chronicling the recording of the song). The single was released on 4 November 1985, the soundtrack album in January 1986, and a remixed version for the album on 2 June 1986.

The song appears on the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack, and in-game on the radio station "Liberty Rock Radio 97.8".

The song was made available to download on 7 December 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which allows use of a real guitar/bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits/keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony or backup vocals.[20][21] It is considered the hardest song on drums of the Queen pack.

Actor Ricky Groves and his dance partner Erin Boag performed a paso doble to the song in the seventh series of Strictly Come Dancing

The song was used as the theme for I Love My Country.

The song also featured in Ernest Cline's book Armada (novel)".

The song also appeared in the indie video game Unmanned, as the song Kirk, a military UAV drone pilot, is listening to on the way to work. It also takes the form of a mini-game where the player must choose the correct lyrics in time to earn a medal.


  1. ^ "One Vision - Queen". AllMusic. 22 June 2017.
  2. ^ A Kind Of Magic: Album Details QueenOnline. Retrieved 3 July 2011
  3. ^ a b Queen - One Vision Allmusic. Retrieved 3 July 2011
  4. ^ O'Casey, Matt, dir. (2002) Queen - Days of Our Lives. Part 2. Queen Productions Ltd. Retrieved 29 August 2011
  5. ^ Queen live on tour: Magic tour: Setlist Queen Concerts. Retrieved 8 July 2011
  6. ^ Seen during the song rehearsals.
  7. ^ a b " – Queen – One Vision" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Queen Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0622." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b "The Irish Charts – Search Results – One Vision". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 50, 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  14. ^ " – Queen – One Vision" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Notowanie nr197" (in Polish). LP3. 4 January 1986. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  16. ^ " – Queen – One Vision". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Queen Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  18. ^ " – Queen – One Vision". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  19. ^ " – Queen – One Vision" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  20. ^ Cortez, Hector (4 December 2010). "More Queen Tracks Coming To Rock Band 3". m&c. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. ^ Snider, Mike (10 June 2010). "Rock Band 3: What's New, What's Notable". USA Today. Retrieved 8 November 2012.

External links[edit]