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Achtung Baby

Song meaning and Background to One by U2

It is the third song from their seventh album, Achtung Baby, which was published in 1991. It was made available as the album's third single in 1992.

Conflict amongst the band members about the direction of U2's music and the calibre of their content arose during the album's recording sessions in Berlin.

The band was on the verge of disbanding when "One," an improvisational song composed by the band after being inspired by a chord pattern played by guitarist the Edge in the studio, provided a breakthrough.

Lead singer Bono drew inspiration for the lyrics from the band members' strained relationships as well as the unification of Germany. Although "disunity" is supposedly the subject of the lyrics, additional meanings have been ascribed to them.

When the Edge came up with two ideas for the bridge of another song, "Mysterious Ways," and Bono loved one of them so much that he composed a fresh set of lyrics, "One" was born.

Even though some people see it as a love song, the lyrics are laced with pain and ambiguity.

The Edge remarked, "People have told me they play it at their wedding." "And I ask myself, "Have you read the lyrics? It’s not that kind of a song.'”

The Edge described the recording of the song. "At the instant we were recording it, I got a very strong sense of its power. We were all playing together in the big recording room, a huge, eerie ballroom full of ghosts of the war, and everything fell into place. It was a reassuring moment, when everyone finally went, 'oh great, this album has started.' It's the reason you're in a band – when the spirit descends upon you and you create something truly affecting. 'One' is an incredibly moving piece. It hits straight into the heart."

The song was at the top of the charts for Irish Singles Charts, Canadian RPM Top Singles, US Billboard Album Rock Tracks, and Modern Rock Tracks. Additionally, it reached its peak at positions three in New Zealand, four in Australia, seven on the UK Singles Chart, and ten on the Billboard Hot 100.

Guitar Chords and Lyrics for One by U2


Am Dsus2 Fmaj7 G


Am            Dsus2

Is it getting better

Fmaj7             G

Or do you feel the same

Am            Dsus2

Will it make it easier on you

Fmaj7                  G

Now you got someone to blame, You say



C          Am

  One love,  One life,

Fmaj7                 C

  When it's one need,  in the night

C                 Am

  One love, We got to share it

Fmaj7                C

  It leaves you baby, if you don't care for it


Am Dsus2 Fmaj7 G



Am             Dsus2

  Did I disappoint you?

Fmaj7                             G

  Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?

Am                      Dsus2

  You act like you never had love

Fmaj7                       G

  And you want me to go without, Well it's



C           Am

  Too late,    Tonight

Fmaj7                    C

  To drag the past out into the light

C                       Am

  We're one, but we're not the same

           Fmaj7               C

We got to carry each other carry each other

   Am   Dsus2   Fmaj7   G




Am                        Dsus2

Have you come here for forgiveness

         Fmaj7                  G

Have you come to raise the dead

Am                         Dsus2

Have you come here to play Jesus

       Fmaj7               G

To the lepers in your head



C                    Am

  Did I ask too much,   More than a lot

Fmaj7                           C

  You gave me nothing, now it's all I got

C                      Am

  We're one, but we're not the same

        Fmaj7                    C

Well we hurt each other, then we do it again



         C                 Am

You say, Love is a temple, Loves a higher law

C                 Am

Love is a temple, Loves the higher law

C                        G

You ask me to enter, but then you make me crawl

    G                  Fmaj7

And I can't be holding on

            Fmaj7                    C

To what you got, When all you got is hurt



C          Am

  One love,   One blood

Fmaj7                  C

  One life, You got to do what you should

C          Am

  One life,  With each other

Fmaj7      C

  Sisters,   Brothers

C                     Am

  One life, But we're not the same

          Fmaj7                 C

We got to carry each other, Carry each other

C    Am     Fmaj7      C

One,         One,

C    Am     Fmaj7      C


C    Am     Fmaj7      C

Hoooho, baby, baby, baby

C    Am     Fmaj7      C

Hoooho, ho ho, ho

C    Am     Fmaj7      C

Hoooho, ho ho, ho

Release Date



U2 (lyrics by Bono)


Daniel Lanois with Brian Eno



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