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Story behind Metallica's "One"


Problematic Shitlord
First watch the video:

YouTube - Metallica - One: Video

The song was inspired by the story Johnny Got His Gun which is about a World War 1 veteran who had his body decimated by a mortar shell in the war. He lost his arms and legs, his sense of smell, sight, hearing, and taste. He was considered brain dead by doctors and was left in a hospital room on life support while he was mentally there. However, he could not communicate and was left to his own mind, a prisoner in his body who could not communicate with the world.

One day, a nurse began noticing spasms and the doctors could not find out what it was. A fellow soldier recognized it as morse code and began to translate it. The incapacitated soldier had been saying, "K-I-L-L-M-E," over and over and over again.

The passage that inspired the song:

"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."

I may be late to the party is learning this story, but it shook me to find out what the truth behind the song really was. I have a whole new respect for the song. I had always known it was about war but I never knew to what extent.

Additional information grabbed from here:

One by Metallica Songfacts


Well-Known Member
Well you learn something new everyday. That's really interesting. I always liked the song, and it's interesting to learn the meaning behind it.


Problematic Shitlord
It just added a whole new angle of darkness on the song that I never really picked up on before. I want to see the movie now or perhaps read the book.


Survived a M&G with Trent
Here are the lyrics, cause the video got removed.

I Can't Remember Anything
Can't Tell If this Is True or Dream
Deep down Inside I Feel to Scream
this Terrible Silence Stops Me
Now That the War Is Through with Me
I'm Waking up I Can Not See
That There's Not Much Left of Me
Nothing Is Real but Pain Now

Hold My Breath as I Wish for Death
Oh Please God,wake Me

Back in the Womb its Much Too Real
in Pumps Life That I must Feel
but Can't Look Forward to Reveal
Look to the Time When I'll Live
Fed Through the Tube That Sticks in Me
Just like a Wartime Novelty
Tied to Machines That Make Me Be
Cut this Life off from Me

Hold My Breath as I Wish for Death
Oh Please God,wake Me

Now the World Is Gone I'm Just One
Oh God,help Me Hold My Breath as I Wish for Death
Oh Please God Help Me


Imprisoning Me
All That I See
Absolute Horror
I Cannot Live
I Cannot Die
Trapped in Myself
Body My Holding Cell


Has Taken My Sight
Taken My Speech
Taken My Hearing
Taken My Arms
Taken My Legs
Taken My Soul
Left Me with Life in Hell

It's a really fucked up story. Makes me really depressed. :(
Side note -
I would be careful with believe absolutely everything on that website "Songfacts". I just looked up Nine Inch Nails on there, and I can't believe some of the stuff being said about his songs. Crazy. But the Metallica facts seem to ring true. Plus, with the book and movie, they're more easily backed-up. Just a note. :)
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Problematic Shitlord
The video isn't removed, it's just not allowed to be embedded but yeah, my bad.

The songfacts site was the only one that had any detail on the story and I checked on other sites too and the information seems to be correct.


Film Elitist
JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN is a decent film too. Scenes from the actual movie are used in the music video. It's one of the most powerful films I've ever seen. It's not the most well made at times, but the story is chilling.

On top of "One" being such a brilliant song, the story behind it leaves a much more interesting yet saddening trail to follow.


Pretty interesting and depressing story. "One" is one of my favourite Metallica songs, and glad to learn something new about it, which like with Cons, gives me a whole new respect for it.