One (7:23)

Cover of ...and Justice for All

From ...and Justice for All and 339 other releases

“One” was written in November 1987 by Metallica’s principal composers — rhythm guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich. This song details the life of a soldier after he becomes a decerebrated paraplegic. During his time in the hospital, he reflects on his life and things his father told him. The doctors become worried because he does not die.

The lyrics are based on the novel “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo, an anti-war novel about World War I. A specific passage that inspired the song is: “How could a man lose as much of himself as I have and still live? When a man buys a lottery ticket you never expect him to win because it’s a million to one shot. But if he does win, you’ll believe it because one in a million still leaves one. If I’d read about a guy like me in the paper I wouldn’t believe it, cos it’s a million to one. But a million to ONE always leaves one. I’d never expect it to happen to me because the odds of it happening are a million to one. But a million to one always leaves one. One.”

In 1971, “Johnny Got His Gun” was made into a film which was directed by Trumbo. Metallica bought the rights to movie after attempts to use images from the movie in the music video, the first in Metallica’s career. The video uses images and monologues from the movie.

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