You Only Live Once (The Strokes song)

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"You Only Live Once"
Single by The Strokes
from the album First Impressions of Earth
Released July 24, 2006 (Int'l)
September 26, 2006 (U.S.)
Format CD, 7"
Genre Garage rock, post-punk revival
Length 3:09
Label RCA, Rough Trade
Writer(s) Julian Casablancas
Producer(s) David Kahne, Gordon Raphael
The Strokes singles chronology
"Heart in a Cage"
"You Only Live Once"
"Under Cover of Darkness"

"You Only Live Once" is the opening track and third single from First Impressions of Earth, the third album from American rock band The Strokes. They have performed this song on several programs, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

A cover of Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me" was recorded as a B-side and features Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam sharing vocals with Julian Casablancas, while Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures and Eagles of Death Metal) plays drums alongside Fabrizio Moretti.

When the song was released as a single, The Strokes launched Operation You Only Live Once prompting all of their fans to call and request the single on radio stations. Their goal was to try to get out the word of the new single as fast as possible, by spreading the song by word of mouth. The Strokes Myspace page asked all users to put the song in their profile in an attempt to spread the single among the online community.

Demo Version "I'll Try Anything Once"[edit]

An early demo version of the song, titled "I'll Try Anything Once" is included as one of the B-sides on the "Heart in a Cage" single. It features only Julian Casablancas playing electric piano while he sings the lyrics softly, which are quite different from the album version of the song. Some of these lyrics were also present when The Strokes played the song for the BBC's Radio 1 Session, which aired on March 8, 2006.

The soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's 2010 film Somewhere included "I'll Try Anything Once". The song also featured prominently in the film's trailer.[1] This version of the song also featured at the end of the 4th episode in series 4 of ITV's "Secret Diary Of A Call Girl".


Released on July 24, 2006, the single hit No. 35 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. It was listed at No. 16 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2006.[2]

As of May 18th, 2015 the music video has 37,094,804 views on YouTube.

Music video[edit]

The initial music video for the single was directed by Samuel Bayer, who had previously helmed the "Heart in a Cage" video, and features the band performing in an enclosed room as tobacco tar fills the room, implying that the room is their lungs. Julian Casablancas commented on the video saying, "People tell us all the time we're gonna die from smoking, but you only live once." The video can be seen as a reference to The Rolling Stones' video of It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It), in which the band can be seen playing in a tent which eventually fills with bubbles. The video was set to premiere in the UK on May 24, 2006, but was delayed, due to last-minute edits, until June 21, 2006. Yahoo! premiered the video in the U.S. on June 27.

An alternate music video for the song, which was directed by Warren Fu, was premiered on the social media site imeem on May 29, 2007. It contains the very end of "Ize of the World" and it works as an homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey and as a video protest against war, hunger, and consumerism.

Track listing[edit]

UK, EU 7"[edit]

  1. "You Only Live Once"
  2. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" (feat. Eddie Vedder & Josh Homme)


  1. ^ "'Somewhere' Trailer: Sofia Coppola, Elle Fanning and Stephen Dorff Team Up". The Wall Street Journal. June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of the Year". 2006. Retrieved December 8, 2006. 

External links[edit]