One of Us (Joan Osborne song)

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"One of Us"
JoanOsbourneOneOfUsCDSingleCover.jpg
Single by Joan Osborne
from the album Relish
B-side
  • "Dracula Moon"
  • "Crazy Baby" (live)
Released
  • February 21, 1995 (1995-02-21)
  • December 28, 1995 (1995-12-28) (re-release)
Recorded1994–95
Studio
GenreAlternative rock
Length
  • 5:21
  • 4:15 (edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)Eric Bazilian
Producer(s)Rick Chertoff
Joan Osborne singles chronology
"One of Us"
(1995)
"St. Teresa"
(1996)
Audio sample
"One of Us"

"One of Us" is a song recorded by American singer Joan Osborne for her debut studio album Relish (1995). Written by Eric Bazilian of The Hooters and produced by Rick Chertoff, the song was released on February 21, 1995, as Osborne's debut single and lead single from Relish, and it became a hit in November of that year, peaking at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and earning three Grammy nominations.

"One of Us" was also a hit around the world, topping the charts in Australia, Belgium, Canada and Sweden, reaching number six on the UK Singles Chart, and becoming a top-twenty hit in at least thirteen other countries.

The song went on to serve as the opening theme for the 2003-2005 American television series Joan of Arcadia.


Background[edit]

Regarding his experience with "One of Us", Bazilian said, "I wrote that song one night — the quickest song I ever wrote — to impress a girl. Which worked, because we're married and have two kids. But we were in the middle of writing Joan's album, which was a group effort with Rick Chertoff and Joan and Rob and I, and I did a demo of 'One of Us,' this wacky little demo which I ended up putting as a hidden track on the CD of my first solo record, and I played [it] for them. And it really hadn't even occurred to me that it was something that Joan might do, but Rick, in his wisdom, asked Joan if she thought she could sing it. And I think it was better that he asked it that way rather than 'Do you want to sing it?' Because the answer to that might not have been yes. But she definitely said she could sing it, and we did a little live demo of a guitar and her singing it. And when I got into my car and popped the cassette in, I started practicing the Grammy speech that I should've gotten to give."[1] For the lead and solo, Bazilian used his 1954 Gibson Gold Top Les Paul for the studio recording.[2]

Lyrics[edit]

The song deals with various aspects of belief in God by asking questions inviting the listener to consider how one might relate to God, such as "Would you call [God's name] to his face?" or "Would you want to see [God's face] if seeing meant that you would have to believe in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets?"

The album version starts off with the first four lines of a recording titled "The Aeroplane Ride", made on October 27, 1937, by American folklorist Alan Lomax and his wife Elizabeth for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress, with Mrs. Nell Hampton of Salyersville, Kentucky, singing a variation of the 1928 John S. McConnell hymn "Heavenly Aeroplane".[3][4]

Critical reception[edit]

Roch Parisien called the song "a simple, direct statement of faith, honest and unadorned, one framed in a near-perfect chorus and delectable Neil Young-ish guitar riff".[5] In 2007, the song was ranked at number 54 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s"[6] and number ten on the network's "40 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the '90s".

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "One of Us" was directed by Mark Seliger and Fred Woodward, and was mainly shot on Coney Island, with various attractions like rollercoasters, ferris wheels and the New York Aquarium shown, interchanged with the vintage-looking shots in sepia and Osborne singing in front of the camera.

Track listings[edit]

One-track promotional single

  1. "One of Us" (single edit) – 5:05

France CD single

  1. "One of Us" (edit) – 4:16
  2. "One of Us" (album version) – 5:21

US CD single

  1. "One of Us" (album version) – 5:21
  2. "Dracula Moon" – 6:21

Europe CD maxi single

  1. "One of Us" (edit) – 4:16
  2. "Dracula Moon" – 6:21
  3. "One of Us" (album version) – 5:21
  4. "Crazy Baby" (live from Fox Theatre) – 8:06

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Sales certifications for "One of Us"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[38] Platinum 70,000^
Belgium (BEA)[53] Gold 25,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[54] Platinum  
United States (RIAA)[55] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions and parodies[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Will Harris (February 25, 2008). "Popdose Interview: Eric Bazilian of the Hooters".
  2. ^ https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-much-gear-so-little-time/60587-mr-wittman-q-about-quot-one-us-quot.html
  3. ^ "The aeroplane ride / Nell Hampton [sound recording]" Traditional Music and Spoken Word Catalog from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress [1]
  4. ^ A sample of the recording "The Airplane Ride" by Nell Hampton from the album "The Gospel Ship" (New World Records)[2] Archived June 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Roch Parisien. "Joan Osborne – Relish – Review".
  6. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s". Blog.vh1.com. December 13, 2007. Archived from the original on December 20, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  7. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Joan Osborne – One of Us". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  8. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  9. ^ "Ultratop.be – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2878." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2945." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Rock/Alternative Tracks: Issue 2845." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ "Top 10 Czech Republic" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  15. ^ Billboard April 27, 1996. Billboard. April 27, 1996. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  16. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 14. April 6, 1996. p. 18. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  17. ^ "Joan Osborne: One of Us" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  18. ^ "Lescharts.com – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in French). Les classement single.
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  20. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Nr. 156: Vikuna 10.2. – 16.2. '96". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). February 10, 1996. p. 26. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – One of Us". Irish Singles Chart.
  23. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 13, 1996" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Joan Osborne – One of Us" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  25. ^ "Charts.nz – Joan Osborne – One of Us". Top 40 Singles.
  26. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Joan Osborne – One of Us". VG-lista.
  27. ^ "Notowanie nr736" (in Polish). LP3. March 9, 1996. Archived from the original on September 6, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  28. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  29. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Joan Osborne – One of Us". Singles Top 100.
  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  31. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  32. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  33. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  34. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  35. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  36. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  37. ^ "Joan Osborne Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  38. ^ a b "1996 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1996" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  40. ^ "Rapports annuels 1996" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  41. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  42. ^ "RPM Year End Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  43. ^ "RPM Year End Alternative Top 50". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  44. ^ "Music & Media 1996 in Review – Year End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 51/52. December 21, 1996. p. 12. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  45. ^ "Tops de L'année | Top Singles 1996" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  46. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1996" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  47. ^ "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 2, 1997. p. 25. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  48. ^ "Single top 100 over 1996" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
  49. ^ "Årslista Singlar, 1996" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  50. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1996". Music Week. January 18, 1997. p. 25.
  51. ^ "Najlepsze single na UK Top 40–1996 wg sprzedaży" (in Polish). Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on June 4, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  52. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1996". Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  53. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 1996". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  54. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  55. ^ "American single certifications – Joan Osborne – One of Us". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 24, 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  56. ^ What if God Smoked Cannabis? | The Bob Rivers Show
  57. ^ The Not Al Page Archived August 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  58. ^ What If God ... by JayGilbert | Jay Gilbert | Free Listening on SoundCloud
  59. ^ Malkin, Mark (September 29, 2010). "Hallelujah? Glee Has a Spiritual Awakening". E! Online. E!. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  60. ^ "STOPPOK - Ergebnisse". Stoppok.de. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  61. ^ Tidhar, Lavie (2020). By Force Alone. New York: Tom Doherty Associates. p. 374. ISBN 978-1-250-75345-8.

External links[edit]