21 November 2003
'One' Is The One
'One' has been named 'greatest song ever recorded' in a Q Magazine poll to
find the Best 1001 Songs.
Runner-up was Aretha Franklin's I Say a Little Prayer, written by Bacharach
and David, while Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit was third.
Radiohead scored the most entries on the list, with nine in total while The
Beatles notched up eight. The highest Beatles hit was A Day in the Life, at
number four, in the poll of Q writers and well-known musicians asked to
cast votes for the list of great songs.
"When we named it, I always knew it would be number one at something,"
explained Edge, of the song from Achtung Baby, released in 1990, which only
reached number seven in the charts.
Edge remembers the recording in the Berlin studios where David Bowie had
made Heroes. "We all went out into the big recording room a huge, eerie
ballroom full of ghosts of the war and everything fell into place. Bono's melodies and phrases were flowing and by the end of that day we
basically had everything, the whole form of the song."
One marked a new intimacy in the group's lyrics and Edge said there are two
conflicting ideas at work.On one level there is the 'vitriolic' line "We hurt each other, then we do
it again". On the other there is the line "We get to carry each other".
The Edge said: "'Get to' is the key it's like our privilege to carry one
Editor-in-chief of the Q special edition, Paul Trynka, said of the winner:
"I think people voted for this because it's a classic that still feels
"It's a great tune but despite being over ten years old we haven't had time
to get bored of it.
"It's inspirational, it makes people feel good, but it also feels profound -
all the more so when you hear Johnny Cash's recent cover version."
You can order the special edition of Q - The 1001 Best Songs - here
Q's Top 10 Best Songs
1. U2 - One
2. Aretha Franklin - I Say a Little Prayer
3. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
4. The Beatles - A Day in the Life
5. Elvis Presley - In the Ghetto
6. Eminem - My Name Is
7. Radiohead - Creep
8. Destiny's Child - Independent Women
9. Oasis - Live Forever
10. Ike and Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High