One Vision

One Vision
"One Vision"
Single by Queen
from the album A Kind of Magic
B-side Blurred Vision
Released November 4, 1985
Format Vinyl record (7", 12")
Recorded September 1985
Genre Rock
  • 4:02 (Single version)
  • 6:28 (12" 'extended vision')
  • 5:11 (Album version)
Label EMI / Capitol
Writer(s) Queen (Music: Roger Taylor/Queen, Lyrics: Queen)
Producer Queen and Mack
Queen singles chronology
"Thank God It's Christmas"
"One Vision"
"A Kind of Magic"

"One Vision" is a song written and recorded by the 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, and was the first song that was co-written by all four bandmembers.[1][2]

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.[2] In the 2011 BBC documentary, "Queen: Days of Our Lives," Roger Taylor stated his lyrics were "sort of half nicked off Martin Luther King's famous speech."[3] 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 1986 Magic Tour, as the very first song of each concert.[4] They claimed they chose "One Vision" as the introduction song because its intro made a perfect concert introduction.



Distorted vocals

The song contains mysterious and distorted beginning 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.

Forward message

The garbled vocals at the start of the song relay new 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 Mercury sings the line.

"Fried chicken"

The final line of the song (in both the studio and live versions) is "fried chicken", although the lyrics say "one vision". This was the result of trying to come up with vocal ideas to put into the song. One set of ideas included dishes from a Chinese takeaway menu which they had had for dinner that day—all the rest was scrapped but the fried chicken survived. Jim Hutton, Freddie Mercury's lover, says in his book that the singer was not sure whether to include it in the final cut or not. Hutton encouraged him, saying "You are big enough" (to get away with this).

Live performances

What is notable that the 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 Freddie 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.

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. It also features the initial distorted vocals as they were in the single version.

However, the version used on the Wembley shows was yet different from the one mentioned above - basically it had the complete initial distorted vocals, and the first part was also like in the one in the album and extended versions, but the transition to the second part was just like in the version, mentioned above, and it did include the repeated section in the end. The VHS version of the July 12th 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. Interestingly enough, none of the two versions of the intro has been used with a studio version of the song so far.

Single B-side

An extensively remixed version of the song, titled "Blurred Vision" appears as the B-side of both the 7" and 12" single releases. This is primarily an extended and completely different (but not in structure) version of Roger 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.

Cover versions

"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 somehow light-hearted and optimistic original to the feel and mood of a Nazi propaganda song. This version also starkly revealed the ambiguity of lines like "One race 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. There is also a version covered by Melanie C live.

Music video

The music video to "One Vision" 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 1975's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video to a 1985 version of the same pose. The video even shows John Deacon on the drums. It is not known if he actually played some drum parts in the song or if it is just a joke. 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 II DVD.

Chart performance

"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.

Other uses

The song is featured in the movie Iron Eagle and is on the soundtrack. 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 Vol. 2 DVD, chronicling the recording of the song). The single was released November 4, 1985, the soundtrack album was released in January 1986, and the song was remixed for the album, which came out June 2, 1986.

The song also appears on the Grand Theft Auto IV soundtrack, and in-game on the radio station "Liberty Rock Radio 97.8".

During the 2008-09 season it was used as the official song of Rotherham United F.C.

It is also used in Ricky Gervais Fame DVD as he enters the stage.

The song is available as downloadable content for the Rock Band series and is the hardest song on drums of the Queen pack.

Actor Ricky Groves and his dance partner Erin Boag performed a paso doble to the song in the seventh series of Strictly Come Dancing.

It was also recently featured on an advert for British Gas's merger with Nectar.


  1. ^ A Kind Of Magic: Album Details QueenOnline. Retrieved July 3, 2011
  2. ^ a b Queen - One Vision Allmusic. Retrieved July 3, 2011
  3. ^ O'Casey, Matt, dir. (2002) Queen - Days of Our Lives. Part 2. Queen Productions Ltd. Retrieved 29 August, 2011
  4. ^ Queen live on tour: Magic tour: Setlist Queen Concerts. Retrieved 8 July 2011

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