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"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.
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. 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." 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 very first song of each concert. They claimed they chose "One Vision" as the introduction song because its intro made a perfect concert introduction.
Distorted vocals, intro and outro
Template:Section OR "One Vision" contains filtered opening vocals (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 distorted vocals as well but what exactly they say is not yet known. Even more distorted vocals appear in "Blurred Vision". Finally, a version of the beginning distorted vocals followed by other intro distorted vocals without any music playing over them, appears in the soundtrack of The Eye videogame, 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 distorted 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 distorted vocals and the prominent beginning distorted vocals. "Blurred Vision" adds an even longer version of the elongated note ending the normal song's intro, and a random distorted 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.
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.
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-distorted sound over the final vocals "Vision vision vision vision..." (which are like those in the single version). It also repeats the existing famous distorted vocals, and adds new, less-prominent distorted vocals.
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.
Template:Section OR 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.
- "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
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. It is considered the hardest song on drums of the Queen pack.
The song was used as the theme for I Love My Country.
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.
- Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals
- Brian May – electric guitar, synthesizer, sampler
- Roger Taylor – drums, electronic drums
- John Deacon – bass guitar
"One Vision" became another hit single for Queen in many countries, usually reaching the Top 40, where it did in the Netherlands (#21), Switzerland (#24), and Germany (#26). It also had very minor chart success on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #61. It became a big hit in the band's native UK, peaking at #7 in the singles chart, a strong showing for a rock band at a time when pop music was by far the more dominant genre in Britain. It also made #10 on Australia's ARIA Chart.
- A Kind Of Magic: Album Details QueenOnline. Retrieved 3 July 2011
- Queen - One Vision Allmusic. Retrieved 3 July 2011
- O'Casey, Matt, dir. (2002) Queen - Days of Our Lives. Part 2. Queen Productions Ltd. Retrieved 29 August 2011
- Queen live on tour: Magic tour: Setlist Queen Concerts. Retrieved 8 July 2011
- Seen during the song rehearsals.
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- Official YouTube videos: music video, music video (extended), music video (VEVO)
- Lyrics at Queen official website